Falcons Training Camp Day 2: Ridley banged up, Dez Bryant to the rescue?
With Calvin Ridley getting injured on the second day of training camp, should the Falcons be worried about further injuries down the line? Should Atlanta bring in Dez Bryant?
Based off of Calvin Ridley’s collegiate career the Falcons should have nothing to worry about. Ridley was healthy in college and never missed any significant playing time due to injuries.
When Ridley declared for the draft Lance Zierlein of NFL.com did a scouting report on the Alabama receiver. The vast majority of the scouting report gushed with positive descriptions of Ridley. However, Zierlein did make two points about Ridley’s body “Thin build with tight skin. [Ridley’s] frame needs more strength, but may not be able to get there.”
I don’t think Ridley’s body is cause for concern. He is a little underweight for what you want for a true No. 1 receiver but with Julio Jones on the team, Ridley will not be expected to be the team’s best pass-catching option.
It has been reported that Ridley got dehydrated and then started having knee/hamstring issues. It would be smart to take a conservative approach with Ridley as while it is more than likely he will recover quickly, a hamstring injured handled the wrong way can stick with a player for several weeks if not the whole season.
Now, should the Falcons go out and sign former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant? Put simply, no.
I should first clarify and state that I do believe Dez Bryant could still be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. However, it seems that the overriding reason that Bryant was released from the Cowboys was his production was declining and his salary was paying him like he was an elite offensive weapon (which he hasn’t been since 2014).
NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter weighed in on Dez Bryant’s ability and came out with some solid points.
"I believe Dez is going through something where he is going to take the easy way out and that is to blame the quarterback, blame the system. Compared to let’s take a look at my own career and over the last five years or six years how much better have I gotten? Dez is not better off the bump-and-run, he doesn’t have a lot of variety in his route tree… But to be an elite receiver, you watch Julio Jones he plays in the slot, he plays left, plays right, and why [does he do that]? It’s because of his football IQ. So one of Dez’s limitations is football IQ, he doesn’t know enough of the offense for them to move him in different spots, that he could be targeted and get matchups that would be favorable."
That was a lot of information so let’s break that down a bit.
Cris Carter believes that Dez Bryant has not improved over the past five or six seasons. That right there should make any general manager nervous about signing a player. If once you got paid the big bucks you stopped grinding and trying to become the best player you could be, how can you trust this player to give their all and grind for a Super Bowl?
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Dez Bryant, compared to Julio Jones, has low football IQ and as a result is a limited player. Carter mentioned that Bryant’s football IQ and his lack of understanding about the offense causes his coaches to be forced to play him outside only. They have to use him as a burner and cannot move him around. That means, if the Falcons were to take a risk on Bryant, it would be unlikely the team could position Bryant in numerous ways to help open up Jones or the tight end passing game.
I trust Cris Carter’s evaluation of Bryant. The man played the receiver position like few others. If the Falcons were to sign Dez Bryant it doesn’t seem that it would be money well spent. Fans of the Falcons want to see offensive improvement this year after the team took a step back when former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan departed. Adding an aging receiver that is known to be temperamental and low on football IQ does not seem like a way to achieve that goal.
Additionally, in the event that Ridley is 100 percent health for the start of the season, having Dez Bryant on the roster only takes away catches from the rookie receiver.