People love to talk about speed, speed, and more speed when it comes to wide receivers in the NFL. Sure, being able to run fast can’t hurt. Then again if speed were the only requirement for playing that position, then every man in the Hall of Fame would be the fastest ever to play. It doesn’t work that way. There’s much more to the job. Chicago Bears rookie Riley Ridley knows this and showcased why during his time at Georgia.
What one lacks in speed he can more than make up for in size, strength, and precise route running. Ridley may not be able to run faster than a lot of other receivers, but he can certainly outwork them. This might be why he’s already garnering attention from the Bears coaching staff through OTAs and minicamps. His detailed approach is rare for a player his age.
Perhaps nothing offers a clearer glimpse into his mindset than during the new season of “Meet The Rookies” produced by the Bears. Ridley was the focus of episode one. Late in the clip, he gets around to talking about what stuck with him from Georgia. One thing he honed in on was the concept of 50/50 balls and how to catch.
In his mind, the key to consistently winning in those tough situations is to not look at them like it can go either way. When that ball is airborne, it’s his and he views it as a personal affront when somebody else tries to take it away.
Riley Ridley will not be out-desired by anybody
One of the things that stuck out about Ridley during his time at Georgia? He seemed to always bring his best in big games. Despite being a minor offensive option in 2017, he delivered six catches for 82 yards in the national championship game against Alabama. Then last year he had a touchdown catch in the SEC championship against them before grabbing five balls for 61 yards in the Sugar Bowl against Texas.
He also made an interesting statement earlier in the episode. One of his favorite things to do as a receiver? Block. Something he likely embraced with the Bulldogs being a traditional run-first team. Typical receivers don’t say things like that. It’s not hard to understand why the Bears came to like him so much. He’s an unselfish player, but also one that expects himself to be great. A perfect blend of individual and team mindsets.