Heavy.com caught up with former Falcons’ fullback, Michael Cox who had the opportunity to play on teams with both Jones and Johnson. He played with Johnson first in college at Georgia Tech and then a year with Jones for the Falcons.
Heavy asked Cox about his time with Jones and without hesitation, he compared him to playing with Johnson.
“Coming in, Julio’s rookie year was my first year there, Cox said. You can just tell he was just an athletic specimen, which I have only seen that once before. I came in with Calvin Johnson in college at Georgia Tech. We’re the same year and everything. He kind of had that “Calvinesk”. When he walked into a room everybody took notice. The things that he did in practice were kind of spectacular. People would see that and think he’s unbelievable. He would just do the same stuff in the games. I think I called him, he was very “Calvinesk.”
Setting New Benchmarks
During Jones’ nine seasons in the league, Johnson has been regarded as the most talented and physically gifted receiver in the NFL. Now Jones is viewed that way. So, who is better?
Well, the Falcons may have ended last season with a 7-9 record, but that didn’t stop Jones from absolutely balling out and breaking personal records that made him even a more notable player.
Jones did what a lot of people thought he wouldn’t do by the end of last season. He broke Jerry Rice’s record in receiving yards. Jones set a new benchmark having 12,000 receiving yards in fewer than 17 games. He recorded 99 catches for 1,394 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season and provided exciting touchdowns each week. Jones ranks 35th all-time with 797 receptions and 25th in league history with 12,125 receiving yards.
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In the fourth game of the 2019 season, Jones reached 11,000 career receiving yards. He made NFL history by playing in the least amount of games to reach that kind of milestone. He did it by quite a large margin too.
Jones was able to break that record during his 115th career game, 12 games fewer than Lions superstar Johnson. This wasn’t the first time he made this kind of mark against Johnson either. He became the fastest, once again back in 2018 to reach 10,000 career yards in 11 games less than Johnson.
Later in the 2019 season, Jones broke Johnson’s all-time receiving record and moved up on to 30th on the NFL’s list. All it took was a 31-yard catch in the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started the game with 11,613 career receiving yards, needing only 7 yards to surpass Johnson’s career total of 11,619 yards.
Johnson finished his 135-game career with 731 catches, 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns.
At the rate Jones is going, he has the ability to set even more benchmarks…unless he pulls a Johnson and retires early. But really, the old head still has a lot of juice left in him and 2020 is looking like not only his year but the entire Falcons’ year too.