ATLANTA – When an MVP-winning quarterback gives the type of endorsement Matt Ryan gave of Calvin Ridley on the third day of camp, it proves Ridley must be doing something right.
Ryan and Ridley have only been working together for a short period of time, but the rookie has made such a strong impression that the veteran already knows what he’s going to get from Atlanta’s first-round pick this season.
“It’s not going to be hard,” Ryan said of how he sees Ridley being integrated into the Falcons offense. “He’s a talented player. He can do a lot of different things. Certainly through the offseason and the first couple of days at camp, he’s showcased his talent level. I see him having a really good year for us and fitting in really well with the receiving corps we have.”
Ridley brings speed and versatility to the Falcons’ offense. He has the ability to take the top off defenses with his straight line speed, and he’s also shifty enough to slide inside and play in the slot.
"Calvin is different,” Ryan said in an interview with CBSSports.com. “He moves differently. He has a great change of direction. He has some really good top-end speed. He's kind of impressed me with that. He's faster than I thought, and I thought he was fast coming in. He's got another gear he can kick into."
Head coach has Dan Quinn praised Ridley’s competitiveness and football IQ as two reasons why the rookie has been able to adapt so fast. Not only is Ridley getting reps at receiver during training camp, he’s also working with the returners as that is one of the biggest position battles at camp.
“I knew he was a good competitor,” Quinn said of Ridley. “I probably didn’t know how strong of a football IQ he has. You can tell he’s really equipped in that way. He’s able to handle concepts, formations, shifts, adjust on the run.”
Ridley was back at practice on Sunday after leaving Saturday’s practice with what Quinn called a “minor precaution.”