Cosell Coaching Tape: 2020 Calvin Ridley


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Cosell Coaching Tape: 2020 Calvin Ridley

NFL Films/ESPN legend — and one of the best talent evaluators in the business — Greg Cosell has gone through a metric ton of 2020 tape to provide insights on some interesting players headed into the 2021 NFL season. Here, he brings you his raw notes and observations from those tape sessions.

It’s a chance to get inside the mind of one of the greats of the industry.

Here, Greg breaks down on of the NFL’s best separators — Falcons WR Calvin Ridley.


  • Ridley has outstanding quickness as a route runner. He exploded off the line of scrimmage into route stem when he had free access.

  • Ridley showcases an outstanding transition in and out of breaks. He’s smooth, fluid, and explosive with outstanding separation quickness.

  • Ridley showed the ability to defeat press coverage with outstanding foot quickness and short-area burst.

  • What consistently stood out was that Ridley played fast, but under control with excellent balance.

  • Ridley showed excellent quickness run-after-catch, with stop-and-start ability. Run-after-catch is a strength of Ridley’s game.

  • Ridley showed both the route ability to sink his hips to get in-and-out of breaks with controlled efficiency, and to speed cut with fluid burst and explosiveness.

  • Ridley consistently showed the burst and speed to run away from man coverage on crossing routes.

  • When Ridley had free access off the line he was tough to match up one-on-one. He was explosive into his route stem and had outstanding route and separation quickness – There might not be a quicker, more efficient route runner than Ridley in the NFL.

  • Ridley was predominantly the Z receiver to the field with Julio Jones the X receiver in 2020. Ridley aligned both on the ball and off the ball depending on receiver location and distribution.

  • Ridley also saw significant snaps at boundary X on the back side of trips, and snaps in the slot in both 2x2 sets and 3x1/1x3 sets.

  • Ridley showed the understanding and feel to present “flat and friendly” on curl routes and sit routes and 7 stops.

  • 25 yards versus Cowboys came with Ridley the Z to the field, out of 12 personnel. His out route versus CB Trevon Diggs showed his vertical burst to threaten the corner deep, and then his short-area quickness to transition into and out of his break.

  • 63 yards versus Bears came with Ridley again the Z to the field, this time out of 21 personnel. The reception showed his vertical burst and accelerating speed, immediately running by corner Kyle Fuller and getting on top of quarters safety Eddie Jackson.

  • 27 yards versus Lions came with Ridley #2 to trips. It was a slot fade, with Ridley showing some physicality in his route stem using his inside arm to create separation against a big corner like Amani Oruwariye.

  • 46 yards versus Saints in Week 11 came with Ridley the boundary X out of 21 personnel. Ridley beat CB Janoris Jenkins in press coverage and got on top of him on a straight go route.

One of the preeminent NFL analysts in the country, Cosell has worked for NFL Films for over 40 years. Due to his vast knowledge of personnel and matchups based on tape study, Cosell regularly supplies us with valuable and actionable insight and intelligence that cannot be found anywhere else.