RSP NFL Lens WR Calvin Ridley (Falcons): Three Ways to Drop the Ball

Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens examines rookie Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley’s three drops against the Jaguars. 

Seeking a steady drumbeat from OTAs to training camp and the preseason? It’s the dreadful rhythm of the ball rebounding off Calvin Ridley’s hands, chest, and shoulders before it hits the ground. Although Ridley has made his share of positive plays this summer, the drops have been steady enough that it’s an early-career concern.

Against the Jaguars on Saturday night, Ridley dropped the ball in the first, second, and third quarters. There was a different technical issue with each drop.

It’s a good indication that Ridley is lacking focus and refinement with his technique.  The fact that he knows what to do but there’s consistently one part of the process that is failing and it’s different each time means that he’s thinking more than he’s reacting. This is a common issue with rookies because they’re facing challenges that make it difficult from them to focus: a new offensive scheme, a higher caliber of opponents, a faster pace to the game, and more diagnostic challenges that force them to think rather than react.

Fortunately, the issues aren’t about hand-eye coordination, which is more difficult to fix. These are technical lapses that force him to lose control early in the catch process. If Ridley is spending extra time on addressing his technical flaws, we’ll begin to see it early next year, if not later this year.

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