The Falcons loss to the Saints on Sunday afternoon still stings, but Calvin Ridley’s dominating performance has everyone looking forward to what is, hopefully, the beginning of a long and successful career in Atlanta. After putting up 146 receiving yards on 7 receptions for 3 highly-impressive touchdowns this past Sunday against New Orleans, the expectations for Ridley are extremely high moving forward. Obviously, no one expects the former Crimson Tide standout to produce at that high of a level each weekend, but nonetheless, his ceiling as a professional football player looks to be somewhere in outer space after only three weeks of play.
To be honest, I think most Falcons fans would agree that Atlanta drafting Ridley last April was a bit of a surprise. With some holes on the defensive-line and linebacker, it looked like the Dirty Birds were in great position to add some key pieces on their up-and-coming defense. However, general manager Thomas Dimitroff couldn’t pass on someone as talented as Ridley, gladly adding him to an already-solid receiving core with players like Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
Through three weeks, I don’t think there’s anyone complaining about the draft selection, who looks to be, the National Football League’s top rookie receiver.
That said, what are we to expect from Calvin Ridley over Atlanta’s remaining 13 games in the 2018 regular season? In my opinion, he’s not only going to lead the team in receiving touchdowns, but he’s going to win the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award (in case you didn’t know, Ridley is currently tied with Josh Allen for the most touchdowns by a rookie in 2018).
Look, there’s no denying Ridley is going to start getting an extra look from defensive coordinators from here-on-out. The Falcons rookie flat-out embarrassed the Saints defensive-secondary on Sunday afternoon. Outside of Julio Jones’ two performances against the Packers and Panthers a few years back, that was one of the more dominating offensive performances from an Atlanta receiver I’ve ever seen. We can pretty much bet on the fact defenses won’t allow him “sneak under-the-radar” moving forward.
Still, when the focus shifts towards Ridley, the Falcons can get the football to Jones. When the focus shifts towards Julio and Ridley, Atlanta can get the football to Sanu. Point being, Ridley’s success this past weekend should scare the daylights out of defenses that remain on Atlanta’s schedule for the remainder of 2018.
Dare I say Ridley could be the X-factor in helping the Falcons remain alive in the NFC Playoff race this year? In my humble opinion, that is a resounding yes.
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