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Interim Falcons head coach Raheem Morris gave us an update on Julio Jones’ hamstring injury on Monday, and well, it wasn’t the kind of update we were hoping for.
“We have to take Julio to the building; he was getting treatment today, doing all the things he needs to do, ”Morris said via AtlantaFalcons.com. “… When we have the opportunity to take it until Wednesday, until Thursday. Obviously, we’ll take Julio to a decision on playing time and give him the best chance to get out there and compete as long as he’s healthy. ”
A “playing time” decision doesn’t suggest much confidence that Julio Jones is healthy enough to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
Julio Jones Is No Longer A Young Buck
Do you remember when it would take a train to stop the Falcons from leaving? Well, unfortunately, Jones is not so young anymore.
While he will do his best to get out, as we saw Sunday when Atlanta was being torched by the Saints and struggled hard to come back for a while, it may not be worth hurting him more.
In the past 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 out of the game against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Only one game was lost after that. Towards the end of the season in 2019, he had a foot injury but overcame it. However, he missed the preseason games, but was ready to face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.
The most notable injury and time lost was after fracturing his surgically repaired foot in week 5 of the 2013 season. He did not return until 2014.
It’s a tough cookie, but it’s taking much longer to heal. He injured his hamstring in week 1 of the season and is still struggling to return to 100%. As he returns, the body does not recover as it does when he is 25 years old.
Julio Jones’ Absence Was Felt
Not only did the team sense Julio Jones’ absence, it was obvious when fans watched the offense crumble. In fact, Atlanta had its worst offensive performance of the season.
The Falcons had just nine points and 248 total yards, two season-low marks. They also managed to convert just 2 of 14 of their third down attempts. Ryan completed 19 of 37 passes for 232 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Todd Gurley kept his part and led the running game with eight carries for 26 yards.
The Falcons thought they had an advantage with the Saints by starting Tayson Hill, who at age 30 had yet to see his first career start. That was certainly not the case in Atlanta.
It was as if Brees had never existed and New Orleans found a way to work with Hill. His secondary also stepped up and put up eight sacks over Matt Ryan.
Jones Is Hard to Replace
While rising star Calvin Ridley continues to shine, Todd Gurley proves that he hasn’t washed up and the backups give their best, it’s not enough to lead the offense to victory.
There is no replacement for Jones and Ryan knows that very well.
“It’s always tough every time he drops, because it’s tough to replace that production,” Ryan said after Sunday’s loss. “It also changes the way teams defend us, but it’s not an excuse. We have to find a way to be better with the guys we have. That’s going to take all the guys on our offense, 22, 23 guys deep, we have to find a way to be productive. ”
The Falcons brought wide receiver Devin Gray back to the practice team, which means they’re not too sure Jones will be available Sunday.
With or without Jones, they will have to figure it out with the options they have if they want to continue to be considered a serious contender.