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On the Hot Seat: Falcons’ Calvin Ridley has to be more involved

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who is not playing in the game, gives wide receiver Calvin Ridley some pointers before he runs a route as the team prepares to play the New York Jets in a NFL preseason football game on Thursday, August 15, 2019, in Atlanta.   Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who is not playing in the game, gives wide receiver Calvin Ridley some pointers before he runs a route as the team prepares to play the New York Jets in a NFL preseason football game on Thursday, August 15, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

In the first two games of the season, Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley caught 12 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

In the loss to the Colts on Sunday, Ridley caught one pass for six yards.

Against the Titans on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will be on the hot seat, as he must get the speedy Ridley more involved against the Titans.

While Koetter himself expressed outrage, quarterback Matt Ryan wondered what the fuss was all about.

“It’s just one of those games,” Ryan said. “The ball found other guys. That happens.”

That didn’t fly with Koetter.

“We have to get Calvin Ridley more involved,” Koetter said. “That has absolutely nothing to do with how he’s playing. That guy is playing awesome in practice.”

Ryan connected on 22 of 23 passes in the second half against the Colts.

“When you have as many talented players as we have, and guys that are making plays throughout the game, the ball is going to find different people at different times,” Ryan said.

“The thing I love about Calvin is we had a critical third-and-2 or third-and-3 late in the game, had hadn’t had a touch and runs one of the best under routes on the left side for us.”

Ryan’s message to Ridley is to stay ready.

“In that situation, where he hasn’t really had a bunch of plays, but he was consistent and really clutch for us when we needed it,” Ryan said. “That’s what all of our guys are about. The ball is going to find him throughout the year. He’s going to make a ton of plays for us.”

Koetter broke down what happened against the Colts.

“It really had nothing to do with what he did,” Koetter said. “They were playing a lot of Cover 2 (zone). In essence, they were doubling both of our outside guys. Usually your Z receiver plays to the wide side of the field and your X receiver plays more to short side of the field in your formation. If everything is balanced, it’s a little easier to work the short side of the field. That was were Julio (Jones was) and we did that a lot.”

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