Falcons: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - Printable Version
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Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - atljbo - 06-09-2011 02:05 PM
Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason
Mike Smith might not have been happy had he seen it, nor would have Julio Jones’ agents, especially without a signed contract.
The No. 6 overall pick went up high to catch a pass in the end zone Wednesday in Falcons’ player-organized workouts and came down with the ball before crashing to the ground.
“Stay up,” quarterback Matt Ryan cautioned after the play.
“They tell me to stay off the ground, but it isn’t in my nature,” said Jones, the former Alabama standout. “If the ball’s over there, I got to get it.”
But he also recognizes the need for him to “ease up some.”
As Ryan said before the session commenced, “Our No. 1 goal is the same as it is when we’re with coach Smith: It’s to get to the first game healthy, but, at the same time, we need to get some work done and we’ve got mature guys that understand what that entails and I think guys have really done a great job of taking care of each other out here.”
One of those mature guys, though only 22, seems to be Jones. Since being cleared by a doctor following offseason foot surgery, Jones has participated in almost all of the player-organized workouts over the last few weeks.
Wednesday, he was one of 19 players who participated in workouts that mostly consisted of 7-on-7 passing drills. And while Smith — not to mention general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who went out on such a limb to trade for Jones — might have cringed at the idea of watching a prized player risk his body during an offseason workout, he likely would have smiled at what Jones did on the field.
In addition to that grab, he also outleaped starting cornerback Brent Grimes — no small feat — pulling the ball over Grimes’ head in the end zone. Then he ran a beautiful corner route with an inside fake that left the offensive players hooting as Jones got himself wide open.
So while the participation rate with the sun blazing on Wednesday left something to be desired, the good news for Jones was that three members of the Falcons’ starting secondary were on hand — Grimes, Christopher Owens and William Moore — and he continues to get some solid work in.
Even without coaches, Jones said he is learning “a great amount” about the Falcons’ offense.
“It’s easy,” he said. “Got these guys out here, they’re like coaches. They are professionals. So they teach me everything . . . so everything’s going pretty well for me.”
Indeed, Ryan, though only a three-year pro, is very much like a coach. In some instances, he got in the middle of the defense after a play to demonstrate technique or consult quickly with the defensive players on a matter. Shortly before the end of the session, Ryan stood facing Jones, who lined up wide to the left, and the quarterback drew some routes with his fingers on his chest to show Jones what to do.
“We were just putting something in to confuse the defense at the end,” Jones said. “. . . We got a mutual understanding. If I don’t know the play or if it’s something new that me and him haven’t gone over yet, he’ll just come over there and talk to me and tell me how he want it ran and everything so the timing and everything will be on point.”
Said Ryan: “I think Julio’s done a great job. I feel like each day he learns so much more and he comes back and he retains so much more information, so I’ve been really pleased with what he’s done the last couple of weeks.”
Ryan said the last time he talked to his head coach was during the two-day window when the NFL’s lockout was briefly lifted by a federal judge. He spoke to Smith before he got on a flight to Philadelphia to attend a wedding. When he went to return the call upon landing, Ryan said, the lockout had been re-instated and he didn’t get a chance to speak to Smith.
Ryan said during the workouts, the players are going through the same type of format as if they had been at the team’s practice facility in Flowery Branch.
“It’s really no different from what we would’ve done up there except we’re not there and the coaches aren’t here,” he said. “We try and mimic what we’ve done the last couple of offseasons.”
Much of that mimicry has gone on without wide receiver Pro-Bowl receiver Roddy White, who was arguably the best player last season on the NFC’s top regular-season team. While he has shown up for some of the workouts, White has yet to participate in any. Perhaps he’s resting the knee he injured in November against Tampa Bay. After the injury, he wore a brace on the knee and it landed him on the team’s official injury report for much of the rest of the season.
Ryan seemed unconcerned.
“That’s OK,” Ryan said. “I’ve talked to Roddy a bunch, and he’s staying in really good shape and he’ll be ready to roll once the season comes around. He knows what it takes to get ready. As we move closer and closer, we’ll get together a little bit. It might not necessarily be here, but we’ll get together a little bit and get some good work.”
For his part, Jones is doing exactly that right now. He’s also taking pointers from fellow wide receiver Michael Jenkins, with seven seasons under his belt, and anyone else he can learn from.
“Everybody out here respect each other, got each other’s full respect,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m gaining these guys’ respect. They haven’t disrespected me, I haven’t disrespected them. It’s kind of like a brotherhood. Everybody here, man, if I do something wrong, they pull me to the side. They don’t dog cuss me or anything. They’re like, ‘OK, this is a timing route, so you got to run it such-and-such way. Go back out there and just do it.’”
The perfect attitude for a rookie.
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - papachaz - 06-09-2011 02:20 PM
wow, great read Jbo! this kid is going to amaze us, i just have that gut feeling. wishing Roddy was out there mentoring him, wonder what's up with that....i guess as long as he's staying in shape, off twitter and out of the newspapers, it's all good.
was the knee that bad? i realized it hampered him a little, but would have thought he'd be over it by now
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - atljbo - 06-09-2011 02:26 PM
(06-09-2011 02:20 PM)papachaz Wrote: wow, great read Jbo! this kid is going to amaze us, i just have that gut feeling. wishing Roddy was out there mentoring him, wonder what's up with that....i guess as long as he's staying in shape, off twitter and out of the newspapers, it's all good.
Roddy, Abe, and Tony G has always mostly workout on their own during this time... Even when it wasnt a Lockout...
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - evo - 06-09-2011 02:56 PM
Its understandable that Roddy and other veterans weren't participate in these voluntary workout. But it just a better feeling if they were out there helping Jones and other rookies.
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - illmusic - 06-09-2011 03:25 PM
Ryan talking about stay up but leaving homie out to dry with the high passes lol...great read as always though jbo, i feel really good about this kid's chances to tear up the league this year
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - Paprika Neck - 06-09-2011 04:20 PM
ryan coaching defense? nice
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - pauliwood - 06-09-2011 11:54 PM
seeing pictures like this makes me wish he was under contract. dude has massive amounts of heart though I guess he only knows how to play one way, and that's all out!
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - illmusic - 06-10-2011 05:49 PM
Jesus Christ I need to hit the gym
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - pauliwood - 06-10-2011 06:09 PM
LOL I swear every pic I see of him in action, its like his veins are trying to escape.
RE: Julio Jones continues to impress in offseason - Jayhawk-Falcon2012 - 06-12-2011 03:19 PM
Man is JJ just beastly.
Although I don't get all the hate/scoffing of Roddy not training with JJ.
Right now it gives the vets time to rest up and recoup their body. JJ's young and when the new "deal" gets done, I'm sure Roddy will be mentoring JJ as much as possible.
Just my thought.