Route-running should not be overlooked with the Chicago Bears.
There was a lot of talk about Kevin White lately after he interviewed with NBC Chicago Sports media member JJ Stankevitz. Kevin White felt that he performed enough in the 2018 offseason to get more playing time and stay a Chicago Bear.
The biggest issue besides Kevin White’s injuries was that he was a DK Metcalf speed and jump type of wide receiver. Most of the time, Kevin White was on the field was when White was blocking for a running back or wide receiver on quick passes. Riley Ridley does not possess a single athletic trait that Kevin White had when he was in the league.
What Ridley lacks in athletic talent he makes up for in route-running. Sure, he wasn’t on the field a whole lot his rookie year, and that’s ok. Ridley doesn’t have to be a 1000 yard receiver. Being that top talent would just become a bonus. Ridley does all of the little things correctly. He explodes off the ball and uses all of his 6’1 200-pound body to gain separation on vertical routes.
Ridley tracks the ball exceptionally well and has excellent concentration when catching passes. It was a shock to me that he was unable to catch the pass in week 15 against the Green Bay Packers when the ball bounced off a player’s hands before just missing the clutches of Ridley in the back of the endzone.
During the week 17 game against the Minnesota Vikings, Trubisky scrambled to keep the play alive on fourth and long to find Ridley for a 33 yard gain and the first down. A lot of receivers can make this play; however, it was a rookie who found space and got himself wide open before making the catch and turning upfield.
Ridley also had the intelligence to get the ball on the line and line up quickly to be ready for the next play. Sometimes it is just the small things that make a receiver suitable.