JACKSONVILLE – It's an important game because it's the next game.
Calvin Ridley focused on that this week while speaking to the media Wednesday, and the Jaguars' veteran wide receiver said he will continue to do that despite the personal – and very obvious – storyline of playing against his former team.
"Just another game, honestly," he said.
"Nah, it ain't, but try to make it seem normal," he said, laughing.
The Jaguars’ game against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday will mark Ridley's first game against the team that selected him No. 26 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.
"I haven't been in his shoes, but I know if that opportunity comes to play against your former team it's an opportunity you look forward to," Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk said. "You want to have a good game and put your best foot forward. I know that adds a little bit of incentive.
"Whether he treats it like just another game, I know for us we want to get that win for him."
Ridley, who caught 248 passes for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns in four seasons with the Falcons, missed the last 11 games of the 2021 season for personal reasons then missed the 2022 season because of an NFL suspension for gambling. He said this week he has "no hard feelings" for the Falcons, who traded him to the Jaguars last November 1.
"I got friends over there, man," he said. "It's still love. I don't think they gave up on me. They helped me. We all sat down and had a decision and we all made a choice."
Ridley said his focus this week is on winning more than playing his former team.
"It's very important," he said. "Me personally coming here, I wanted to be someone that helped this offense. I want us to get on track and look elite and explosive. I'm getting myself back to square one, pushing forward and trying to work hard as I can."
Ridley, too, said he moved on from early in the week after dropping two passes and committing two penalties in a 37-17 loss to the Houston Texans this past Sunday.
"It took a couple days to get over, but I'm over it," he said. "I wasn't pressing. I just dropped two passes. I didn't play my best. That's all. I wasn't pressing, though. I just didn't play good, period."
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence said he expects Ridley "to be just fine" moving forward.
"Calvin is a great player," he said. "He has been a great player in his years past. I don't see a concern with that. I've seen the way he works and how he has been here. "We're all making mistakes at the wrong times, it's not just him. He's gotten the spotlight this week, but it's not just him. All of us have to play better as well.
"He's a guy that has a lot of confidence in himself, so he's not going to get down on himself. We have all the confidence in him, he's going to make those plays nine out of ten times, it just happened Sunday. That was the one time.
"This is a new dynamic with me and him, we didn't play together in the past like some of the other guys that are on the team, so that's a continued progression of that relationship and things do get hard. There are things that are going to continue to happen that you have to work through."
- Lawrence on playing in London after back-to-back losses: "It's good. I think we're going to use that to our advantage and definitely in a positive way. I think maybe that's something that could be good for us, to just get out of this environment. Let's go over there and disconnect from what we know for a little bit and go take care of business. Come back with a new sense of energy and refresh. We're going to use it that way. If we weren't going over there, I don't think it's something we'd desperately need. I wouldn't say it that way, but we're definitely going to use it as a positive, for sure."