Ridley was already projected by teammates and analysts to go over 1,000 receiving yards this season. He is currently on the right track after his nine-catch, 2 touchdowns, 130-yard performance in Week 1.
Pro Football Focus named him as the only Atlanta Falcon on PFF’s Team of the Week.
Ridley even managed to beat out Vikings’ Adam Thielen in Week 1 stats, but Thielen still received a 91.7. Boo.
WR Calvin Ridley came in as the highest graded Falcon in yesterday’s season opener!
-89.5 overall grade
-12 targets, 9 receptions, 130 yards, 2 TD’s, 0 drops
-114.6 passer rating when targeted pic.twitter.com/kyekeuy1zT
— PFF ATL Falcons (@PFF_Falcons) September 14, 2020
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Ridley’s Breakout Year
Ridley was showcasing an impressive season before he was placed on injured reserve near the end of the season. Last season 63 catches for 866 yards and seven touchdowns over 13 games and 10 starts in his second year in the league.
Now that he’s back an 100% healthy, Ridley is projected across the boards to have his the biggest breakout season in the NFL as a whole.
Analysts have even gone as far as to say that Ridley will even outscore DeAndre Hopkins. The 25-year-old has what it takes to make a big leap this year after earning Matt Ryan’s trust in the last two seasons.
The odds are also in his favor considering Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu out of the picture and Jones will command double teams per usual, leaving Ridley the next target.
Atlanta hasn’t had a very trusting WR duo since Roddy White but Ridley is on the road to change that this season.
Ridley Put in the Necessary Work
Ridley knows a 1,000-yard season won’t just be handed to him. He’s been putting in the time and necessary work to make him better.
Over the weird offseason, Ridley bought a football-throwing machine, which is also called a jugs machine. He set it up in his garage so he could practice rain or shine.
“I got it because there wasn’t any OTAs and I was like, I’m missing a ton of jugs, Ridley told local media last month. If we would have been in OTAs I would have been getting crazy jugs in. So, I was like, I’m going to get it. I just use it any time that I’m at home and some days off I can use it, just to keep my hands real good. I should be elite this year.”
Ridley hasn’t just been working on his hands, he’s also been strengthening his legs.
Ridley Came Out of His Shell With a Winning Mindset
Ridley thought he would reach 1,000 yards last season before he got injured in the 13th game.
“Last year, I was right there,” Ridley said. “I got hurt three games out. I was going to get 1,000 yards last year. I got hurt and I’m in the hospital that same day, my agent came. I said, ‘Man, I would have got 1,000, but I’m out for the year and I don’t have that 1,000.’ Now, I have to get it.”
For the first time, Ridley has come out of his shell and shown the media the fire inside of him.
“I’ve always had confidence,” Ridley said. “I just think that football has really slowed down for me a lot in the NFL. I ain’t going to lie, I’m really hungry to show people that I’m easily a 1,000-yard receiver. Easily and even better.”