Falcons' Ridley feels 'no pressure' to replace Julio
Ridley said Tuesday he feels "no pressure" about becoming the Falcons' main target for the first time in his career after Atlanta traded Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans, according to ESPN's Michael Rothstein.
"I played with Julio, Mohamed Sanu, since Day 1. Those guys, I feel like I've been moving toward that way of I can do it by myself," Ridley said. "Obviously, I'm not by myself, we have other players who are really good, but I feel like I've been ready, and I just needed an opportunity to get in those positions."
Ridley has improved each year since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2018. The Alabama product, who caught 10 touchdowns as a rookie, led the Falcons and set career highs last season with 90 receptions and 1,374 yards.
Though the 26-year-old was in Jones' shadow during his first three pro campaigns, last year he proved he could succeed without the seven-time Pro Bowler on the field - Ridley notched 50 catches, 765 yards, and three touchdowns in the seven games Jones missed due to injury.
" ... By my second year, that's when I realized that's what (Jones is) all about, confidence," Ridley said. "When I realized that, I just started to think that, I didn't think that I'm better than him, but I just believed in myself, and I really think that made me a better player. I really believe in myself."
Ridley will share the field with a young star in 2021 after Atlanta drafted tight end Kyle Pitts fourth overall in April.