“We’ve got to get Julio in the building; he was in today getting treatment, doing all of the things he needs to do,” Morris said via AtlantaFalcons.com. “… When we get a chance to take him through Wednesday, through Thursday. Obviously, we’ll take Julio to a game-time decision and give him the best opportunity in order to go out there and be able to compete, as long as he’s healthy.”
A “game-time” decision doesn’t suggest a lot of confidence in Julio Jones being healthy enough to take on the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
Julio Jones Is No Longer A Young Buck
Remember when it would take a train to stop the Falcons start wideout? Well, unfortunately, Jones is no longer that young.
While he will try his best to get out there, as we saw on Sunday when Atlanta was getting torched by the Saints and he fought hard to go back in for a bit, it might not be worth hurting it more.
In the last six seasons with the Falcons, Jones has only missed a total of 4 games. Last season he suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter and was forced to leave the game against Tampa Bay Bucs. He missed just one game after that. Towards the end of the season in 2019, he had a foot injury but played through it. He did, however, miss the preseason games but was ready to take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.
The most notable injury and time that he missed was after he fractured his surgically repaired foot in Week 5 of the 2013 season. He didn’t return until 2014.
He is one tough cookie, but it’s taking him a lot longer to heal. He injured his hamstring in Week 1 of the season and is still having a tough time getting back to 100%. As you aga, the body sure doesn’t bounce back like it does when you’re 25.
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Julio Jones’ Absence Was Felt
Not only was Julio Jones’ absence felt by the team, it was obvious as fans watched the offense crumble. In fact, Atlanta had their worst offensive performance of the season.
The Falcons had just nine points and 248 total yards, two season-low marks. They also managed to only convert 2-of-14 of their third-down attempts. Ryan went 19 of 37 passes for 232 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Todd Gurley held his part and led the ground game with eight carries for 26 yards.
The Falcons thought they had an edge with the Saints starting Tayson Hill, who at 30-years-old had yet to see his first career start. That certainly wasn’t the case for Atlanta.
It was like Brees never existed and New Orleans found a way to work with Hill. Their secondary also stepped up and put eight sacks on Matt Ryan.
Jones Is Hard to Replace
While rising star Calvin Ridley continues to shine, Todd Gurley proves not washed up and the backups give their best effort, it’s not enough to carry the offense to victory.
There’s no replacement for Jones and Ryan is well aware.
“It’s always tough anytime he goes down, because it’s hard to replace that production,” Ryan said after Sunday’s loss. “It also changes how teams defend us, but it’s not an excuse. We’ve got to find a way with the guys we have out there to be better off. That’s going to take all of the guys on our offense – 22, 23 guys deep – we’ve got to find a way to be productive.”
The Falcons brought in wideout Devin Gray to the practice squad again, which means they’re not very confident Jones will be available come Sunday.
With or without Jones, they’re going to have to figure it out with the options they have if they want to be taken as a serious contender anymore.