It was a familiar sight for those watching the Atlanta Falcons’ first pre-season game of 2018 on Saturday, as Calvin Ridley broke free on more than one occasion. The former Alabama Crimson Tide star has been looking sharp during training camp and preseason games so far. With Julio Jones away from football due to injury, is Ridley ready to step up?
The “calvin ridley injury” is a football player for the Atlanta Falcons. He was injured during the route he ran, but that doesn’t seem to be slowing him down.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Georgia – Just before the epidemic started in 2020, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was getting into his summer workouts at an Atlanta park. He was accompanied by an NFL quarterback and another receiver. This was his preferred method: make a few acquaintances from around the league, get some work done, then go.
Trainer TJ Brown was working out some of his high school and college athletes in Anderson Park by chance. Brown and Ridley grew raised in South Florida and had just a passing acquaintance. The exercises, on the other hand, drew Ridley’s interest. Brown’s students were doing something he liked, and he enjoyed it.
“After that, we had a real profound talk,” Brown remarked. “It was never about me attempting to get him to join us in the gym. We had a natural chat, a genuine one.”
After their conversation, Ridley decided to do something he had never done before and recruit Brown to work out with his team. It was the polar opposite of how Ridley had functioned in the past, when he was admittedly a hermit who kept his exercises secret.
However, this was an opportunity to improve.
Ridley, who is in his fourth season with the Falcons, is regarded as one of the best route runners in the league. The 26-year-old has a unique perspective on route running. His pauses and starts seem to be aided by excellent brakes on his feet. His ability to cut and weave past opposing defenses is on par with Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One vehicle maneuvering through a hairpin curve in Monaco.
“It’s not a science,” Ridley said emphatically. “It’s a kind of expression. It’s a work of art. It’s time to start sketching. It’s all about the lines. It’s a matter of separation. That’s what it is: angles and whatnot.”
Brown saw Ridley’s abilities as distinct when he first began monitoring him — something he did before working with him. Every receiver has quirks in his game, tiny tidbits that are unique to him.
Ridley’s route-running style was already so refined that it was more of a tweak than an overhaul. Watch Ridley’s feet work the ladder like a Julliard-trained dancer during solo exercises. From there, go up to his legs, and what occurs there is possibly Ridley’s most remarkable, grueling work.
“When he comes off the ball, he makes sure that each stride counts,” Brown said. “He’s getting on opponents’ toes quick and can stop on a dime at any second.” “He has the ability to halt. That’s what sets him apart, and he understands how to use various angles and approaches to get a defender to move.
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Ryan is partly responsible for this by throwing open receivers. Ridley’s accuracy is one of them. “Film. Preparation. Leverage and merely studying the defender are two things that come to mind when it comes to learning the defender “Ridley said. “Knowing my route and where I have to go definitely helps you with separation,” says the narrator.
He worked on this with Brown as well, and it relates to Ridley’s halts and starts. Ridley used to simply kind of come to a halt and then resume his journey. As a result, he and Brown concentrated on changing directions, which would free up even more space. He encouraged him to focus on the number of steps he made during his break, as well as the position of his elbow and how it pulled. Little details that an inexperienced eye could miss might make the difference between being exposed and being covered in tenths of a second.
Brown compared it to piloting an automobile, with the elbow acting as the steering wheel. The way his elbow was pulled helped square his shoulders, making his cuts more effective and throwing the defender’s read off.
“Every receiver does it instinctively, whether they do it quickly or two steps too late,” Brown said. “It’s something that everyone does.” I’ll have to turn my elbow to move my body at some point if I want to travel in a specific way. So all I have to do now is figure out when to do it so I can get out of there faster.
“He didn’t realize that if I take my elbow out right now, I’ll be able to get out a little faster. As a result, he began to desire to concentrate more on it.”
They started working on it last year as a minor tweak to an otherwise well-balanced game. Ridley swiftly picked up the remedy during their training, as well as working on technical factors like how he dipped his hips in routes — yet another technique to boost efficiency by milliseconds to generate greater separation.
Ridley’s preparation is important, too, since so much of the art is physical. Before and after practice, he often uses the JUGS machine to fine-tune anything that could have felt amiss and to keep doing what he’s done thousands of times before.
It also manifests itself in his perception of an opponent, which shifted during his freshman year at Alabama. The notion for how he should approach monitoring cornerbacks came from then-receivers coach Keary Colbert, who started 49 NFL games.
“Obviously, I start with one of the team’s best, the number one corner,” Ridley remarked. “However, I watch everyone in a week, take a week to watch the whole secondary, and watch everything else all the time.”
He normally begins with the top defensive backs on Wednesdays, the ones he thinks he’ll see the most. While he’ll often concentrate on one corner, he’ll also scan the whole secondary, looking for patterns or predictable moves — both individually and within the scheme. On Thursday, he’ll examine any areas that he didn’t pay attention to during his film sessions on Wednesday.
Fridays are for deciphering anything he missed the preceding two days from the subtleties of an opponent’s strategy.
“I don’t want to walk into Sunday’s game and be like, ‘I don’t even know who he is, I just know his name,’” Ridley said. “I certainly put in the time and effort to research my opponent in order to feel a little bit calmer in the game and not assume what he’ll do.”
Ridley likes to keep defensive backs guessing about where he’ll be, how he’ll stop, and when he’ll outclass them. Because Ridley has a path to run over and over again.
The “calvin ridley contract” is a contract that was signed by Calvin Ridley this past offseason. It has an average annual salary of $1.25 million and has a maximum value of $8.5 million, which would make him the highest paid player on the Falcons for the 2019 season.
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