The Atlanta Falcons are in desperate need of some playmakers on offense, but it looks like they might have to turn to the waivers for that.
On Monday, November 22, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith gave an update on No. 1 wideout Calvin Ridley, who is eligible to return this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Except for the fact that the update was not much of an update since Smith kept it vague — which points to a not-so-good sign for Atlanta’s offense.
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Ridley Stepped Away for a ‘Mental Health’ Break in Week 8
After a surprisingly rough start to the season, Ridley made his decision to step away from football to take care of his mental health until further notice.
“These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing,” Ridley wrote on Twitter. “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future. I want to thank my teammates, the entire Atlanta Falcons organization, our great fans, my friends, and my family for all of their support during this time.”
The following week, the Falcons placed him on the non-football injury list which would keep him sidelined for at least three weeks. Week 12 is the first week he’s eligible to return but he was a no show at Monday’s practice.
The Falcons’ offense has clearly struggled with the lack of reliable receivers, losing 43-3 to the Cowboys in Week 10 and 25-0 to the Patriots in Week 11.
No Update on RT Matt Gono
Prior to the 2021 season, Falcons’ top offensive tackle Matt Gono missed OTA’s and mandatory minicamp following an “undisclosed” injury in June. However, his injury was reported to be non-season ending, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.
Fast forward to Tuesday, July 27 and Gono was spotted at the Falcons’ first day of training camp with a neck brace following surgery. But, good news came about on Nov. 2 when Gono was spotted at practice training with starting left guard Josh Andrews.
Gono originally signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 NFL draft. He spent last year at the backup swing tackle behind Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary but ended up seeing action in all 16 games with four starts. He played a total of 337 offensive snaps in addition to 80 snaps on special teams. Following a solid performance, Atlanta had him sign his restricted free agent tender in the offseason, which cost the Falcons $3.3 million guaranteed.
Falcons fans are calling out on Twitter for the return of Gono this week after quarterback Matt Ryan was pressured 18 times, sacked twice and hit hard seven other times in the team’s loss to the Patriots.