Calvin Ridley enjoyed a stellar second season with the Atlanta Falcons despite battling through injuries. The wideout has proven to be a dangerous second fiddle to Julio Jones through two years. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter believes Ridley can soar even higher in Year 3.
"I think he's always been able to beat his man just by pure speed and athleticism, and I think as he gets a little more consistent in his route-running and understanding what is landmarks are, his depths of his routes are, I think you're going to see a jump in his game," Koetter said Tuesday, via the team's official website. "Now, you say that, but we're also talking about a guy who, in his first two years in the league, has put up some pretty substantial numbers. But I think his talent is even higher than that."
Ridley caught 10 TDs on 64 receptions and 821 yards as a rookie in 16 games. Last year, the wideout compiled 63 catches for 866 yards and seven scores in 13 games -- on pace to break the 1,000-yard mark had he played all 16 contests.
Advanced metrics show Ridley was even better than his counting stats indicate. He finished 2019 second in Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) and fifth in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) among all receivers. He also finished fifth in the league with a +8.7 catch rate (catching 67.7 percent of passes with an expected catch rate of 59 percent), per Next Gen Stats.
Possessing the speed and route-running ability to turn corners into a knot and find holes in zones, another full year of seasoning could bring even more opportunity for Ridley to grow into a difference-maker.
"Calvin has just exceptional speed and quickness," Koetter said. "His quick-twitch body movements are exceptional. I think Calvin will do nothing but get better the more he works with Matt [Ryan], the more he gains Matt's trust. I think there's some little things that Cal can work on that will really help him elevate."
Playing alongside Jones should continue to provide Ridley optimal matchups to take advantage of in 2020. If the 25-year-old Alabama product lives up to Koetter's expectations in Year 3, the Falcons will boast one of the most explosive WR duos in the NFL.