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#pounditWednesday, February 28, 2024

Calvin Ridley placing high expectations on himself in third season

Calvin Ridley has emerged as an excellent option behind Julio Jones in his first two NFL seasons, but the former Alabama star is aiming higher than that in 2020. If his vision comes to life, the Falcons could end up with the best wide receiver tandem in football.

Ridley caught 63 passes for 866 yards and seven touchdowns last season, which was similar production to his rookie year. He has an impressive 17 touchdown receptions through two seasons, but he told Will McFadden of the Falcons’ officially website this week that he is “hungry” to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.

“I’m not going to lie, I’m real hungry to show people that I’m easily a 1,000-yard receiver, easily – and even better,” Ridley said. “I think that’s what it is for me. I’m always confident in myself, and I’m just really hungry and want to help the team win as much as I can.”

Ridley likely would have hit that mark last season, but he missed three season after suffering an abdominal injury. The 25-year-old says he has focused a lot on leg strength this offseason, which should help him separate from defenders more consistently. If all goes to plan, Ridley expects a breakout year in 2020.

“I should be elite this year,” he said confidently.

Jones drew 157 targets last season, which was down from 170 the year before. There’s little chance Ridley will supplant Jones as Matt Ryan’s favorite target this season, but he should be able to rack up more than 1,000 yards in his current role. If opposing defenses have to worry about him as much as they worry about Jones, Atlanta’s passing attack will be difficult to stop.

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