The No. 26 overall pick earned a spot as one of Atlanta's kick returners, but was largely uninvolved in the team's Week 1 offensive game plan. Ridley had a chance to pick up an important first-down catch during the fourth quarter, but was popped by an Eagles defender and unable to haul in the pass. Going up against a Carolina defense that surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers in standard scoring last year, the rookie wideout will look to get right in Week 2.
Ridley is suited up for Thursday's preseason contest versus the Dolphins, Jason Butt of The Athletic Atlanta reports.
It's unclear if the Falcons will risk the health of their 2018 first-round pick in the exhibition finale, but Ridley has been up and down during three appearances, posting five catches for 59 yards, most of which was accrued on a 36-yard touchdown in preseason Week 2. With Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu embedded as the top two wideouts and Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman known entities as receiving backs, Ridley may not receive a vast amount of targets to begin his career. Ridley's best bet to make an impact may be on kick returns.
Ridley collected one reception for 12 yards in Saturday's 17-6 defeat to the Jaguars.
After picking up his first NFL touchdown last week against the Chiefs, Ridley dropped two of four targets on Saturday night, the second of which nearly resulted in a third-quarter interception for Matt Schaub. The No. 26 overall pick didn't get any looks at returner either after a solid showing in Week 2 of the preseason, as Reggie Davis and Ito Smith fielded kickoffs instead.
Head coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday that Ridley will "likely" get a look as a kick returner in the Falcons' upcoming preseason game against Kansas City, Kelsey Conway of the team's official site reports.
Ridley's speed and shiftiness with the ball in his hands not only lends itself to him being successful as a slot receiver, but those same abilities also make the 23-year-old a candidate to become the Falcons' primary kickoff and punt returner in 2018. Marvin Hall and Ito Smith were the team's kick returners in the preseason opener against the Jets last week, neither managing to break 25 yards on three combined attempts. Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong stated earlier this week that the coaching staff likely will have to assess all four preseason contests before reaching a verdict on who will serve as the primary option this year, as Ridley gets his opportunity to make an impression Friday against the Chiefs. In his entire 44-game collegiate career at Alabama, Ridley fielded two punt returns for four yards.
Ridley hauled in his lone target for minus-2 yards during Friday's 17-0 loss to the Jets in the preseason opener.
Ridley caught a pass from Matt Ryan on Atlanta's opening drive, but it was a screen that got busted up by cornerback Buster Skrine for a loss of two. The rookie first-rounder wasn't targeted again, so one can only assume he remains behind established veterans Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu on the depth chart at this point.
|5||10/7/18||@ PIT||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 8|
|9||11/4/18||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|12||11/22/18||@ NO||8:20 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|