Jaguars taking the right approach with WR Calvin Ridley ahead of the 2023 season

Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley talks with media inside the TV Studio of TIAA Bank Field.
Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley talks with media inside the TV Studio of TIAA Bank Field. / Juston Lewis/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars gave their wide receiver corps a huge boost when they traded for Calvin Ridley last year. Even though the 2023 season is still months away, Ridley's already put on display the kind of talent that made him one of the top receivers in the league before injuries and a suspension derailed his career.

The Alabama product has been reinstated by the league and is ready to pick up where he left up. However, the Jags are taking a cautionary approach with him to ensure he's 100 percent ready to go in the season opener. Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media before the team's fourth Organized Team Activity of the year and said that Ridley is been as good as advertised but they're "pumping the brakes" on him.

"Just want to be careful with him", Pederson said. "He hasn't played in a while plus the injury, so we're just trying to be careful with him. He's done an outstanding job for us. We just wanna make sure he's the type of guy you have to pump the brakes with. He wants to go so much and so fast and so hard out there at practice".

"We just have to pump the brakes and tell him now's not the time but he's been doing a great job picking up the offense. The times that he's working with Trevor, they're on the same page, they're connecting, and those are good things to see right now", Pederson said.

Ridley last played in 2021, when he unexpectedly announced his retirement. Not long after hanging up the cleats, he earned an indefinite suspension for betting on football games. It was during his suspension that the Jags acquired him from the Atlanta Falcons. The Florida native was reinstated earlier this year and has been a full participant in offseason workouts.

Also to get ready for the season, Ridley joined quarterback Trevor Lawrence for throwing sessions to develop a strong rapport. Here's the Florida native participating in drills on the Jags' fourth OTA of the year, via Demetrius Harvey of The Florida Times-Union:

The Jaguars can't afford to lose Calvin Ridley before the 2023 season starts

Ridley was the only big addition the Jaguars made ahead of the 2023 season and they can't afford to lose him, which is why it makes sense to bring him along slowly. Despite the fact that he's been training and is seemingly in great shape, there are still a few months left before the opener, so he's still got ample time to get fully on track.

Having said that, it's great to see Ridley's drive on display. After being reinstated, he talked about his return to greatness and the Jaguars should be pleased that he's putting in the work to be the player that hauled 217 receptions for 3,061 yards with 26 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons and before a myriad of situations forced him to step away from football

In the end, reaching the playoffs (and maybe the Super Bowl) is a marathon, not a sprint. By making sure Ridley or any other players aren't doing more than they should at this stage of the offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars are taking the necessary steps to ensure they get off to a strong start once the games begin.

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