Falcons WR Julio Jones didn’t want to rush his recovery and looked at little things as milestones. Like the day the Falcons moved practice indoors from the rain. Jones was happy to get a chance to test the foot on turf.
“The Georgia Dome has turf and that just gave me more reps on turf to make me feel more comfortable when game time comes around,” Jones said.
While Jones appears fine, he’s perhaps his toughest critic.
“I can get up to speed good,” Jones said. “I can’t hold it as long as I want to hold it like over a course of game. Right now, I probably could give you 65 plays or so, I mean that’s a whole game, but the way that I play in the running game and everything, I want to be at full speed for the whole game. I don’t feel like I’m there yet.”
Jones has looked 100-percent so far in camp and preseason but wants to make sure he's a full-go for the regular season. He's already shown flashes in the preseason, like 52-yard TD in preseason Week 3. Jones has been going in the lower half of first rounds and sometimes even slipping into the early second round. Jones is already ranked as our third-best WR play in Week 1 against the Saints.
After playing 15 snaps last week against Detroit in his debut, Shorts was in the game until the midway point of the second quarter against the Falcons.
After the game, Shorts stated that he was ready for the season.
“Everything’s a go,” Shorts said. “I’m 100 percent.”
Shorts gutted through a sports hernia on his way to a 66-777-3 season. The 55-979-7 line he posted in 2012 (his second season) is a better indication of what he’s capable of. The addition of Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns should actually help Shorts avoid double coverage. This offense has some upside if the team finally decides to start Blake Bortles.
Jackson, the projected starter, had his helmet, a sign that he was practicing. He has been out since suffering a right hamstring injury during practice on July 29.
Smith said he wouldn’t rule out playing Jackson in the exhibition finale on Aug. 28 at Jacksonville, though Smith’s usual practice is to sit his starters for that game.
The team has said all along that Jackson would play Week 1. With a recent injury history, he makes for a risky pick but should be available in the middle rounds of drafts if you want to take a shot. Jacquizz Rodgers has started all three exhibition games but never really took over the RB1 role with Jackson out last year. Rookie Devonta Freeman has been a popular pick as a handcuff to Jackson. Either way, owners should either draft Jackson as depth or have a backup plan...
Wide receiver Julio Jones slipped out of the locker room after Saturday night's loss to the Texans before the media had a chance to get his reaction to his first game back after last year's foot injury. Jones met with the media after Wednesday's practice and sounded confident in his health as the third preseason game approaches. He said he needs to knock some of the rust off, but being back on the field felt good and there were no lingering ill effects immediately or in the days following the game: "I felt good," Jones said. "No pain. I'm still doing a lot of treatment, still doing my routine of one-day-on, one-day-off. Right now, they're going to increase the workload. I practiced (Wednesday) and then (Thursday), I'm going to practice."
Jones was on pace for 131-1856-6.4 prior to his foot injury in Week 5. He has the potential to be the most productive receiver in the league, but the foot injury is a bit concerning, especially since it’s a broken bone in the same location as his pre-Draft injury. If he plays a full season, he’ll very likely finish in the top 5. It sounds like the preseason is going according to plan.
Running back Steven Jackson (hamstring) did some work off to the side but there’s still no timetable on his return. Coach Mike Smith has said Jackson would be ready for the season opener on Sept. 7.
Jackson pulled his hamstring last season, which was just one of the many injuries that plagued the Falcons in 2013. However, his FP/touch of 0.607 was not far off his career average of 0.617 prior to arriving in Atlanta. So while he was on the field, Jackson was pretty much himself from a fantasy standpoint. This hamstring injury has pushed his ADP down into the 8th round. He's not the Jackson of old, but he can still produce when on the field.
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 7:10pm
Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 12:52pm
You can't overstate how much WR Julio Jones means to the Falcons offense. The Falcons sorely missed his big-play ability last season as opposing defenses had it easy. With Jones back and looking fully healthy coming off a second foot surgery, the Falcons have their explosion back. Jones put on 10 pounds of muscle and still has his breakaway speed. Where he really might thrive more than ever is the red zone, given that Ryan no longer has Tony Gonzalez as his security blanket. Also expect Jones to draw his share of defensive holding penalties against outmatched cornerbacks.
Jones was on pace for 131-1856-6.4 prior to his foot injury in Week 5. He has the potential to be the most productive receiver in the league, but the foot injury is a bit concerning, especially since it’s a broken bone in the same location as his pre-Draft injury. If he plays a full season, he’ll very likely finish in the top 5. At this point, we believe he is a high-upside 2nd round pick.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 8:14pm
Interesting because Smith and Freeman have played well in camp and in the team's only preseason game.
Falcons rookie running back Devonta Freeman left the field with an undisclosed injury on Monday. He was back at practice on Tuesday.
“Devonta is fine,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said after practice. “Devonta was just dehydrated from practice and we wanted to be very precautionary, take him off the field. We got him rehydrated and he’s ready to go.”
Big relief for the Falcons, especially with Steven Jackson still sidelined. Jackson should be ready for the start of the season but it looks like Freeman could at least be an insurance policy if injuries again creep up on Jackson. Freeman's been a popular late-round draft selection.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 12:43pm
Johnson and Foster, both of whom are nursing hamstring injuries, didn’t practice again today. That doesn’t mean they won’t be able to return against the Falcons on Wednesday or Thursday. The Texans won’t be having full-contact practices against Atlanta.
“If they were ready to go, we’d put them out there,” O’Brien said. “It wouldn’t be for 100 reps. They’d basically ease them back into practice, but that’s a day-to-day thing. If they said and the trainers said that they felt like they were ready to go, then we’d ease them back into the practices against Atlanta.”
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 9:13am
Falcons RB starter Steven Jackson performed some agility drills Monday on a side field for the first time since suffering a left hamstring injury on July 28. Jackson did not perform any sprinting exercises. HC Mike Smith said all along he expects Jackson to be fully healthy for the Sept. 7 season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
As starter Steven Jackson continues to miss time with a left hamstring injury, Smith showed impressive big-play potential in the Falcons' 16-10 win over Miami on Friday night.
Smith's 35-yard gain after a short catch and 76-yard touchdown run were negated by penalties, but the big plays will be remembered by coach Mike Smith.
The opportunity at running back may continue to grow. Rookie fourth-round pick Devonta Freeman left Monday's practice with an injury.
The injuries are starting to pile up at RB. Although Freeman's injury is unknown at this time, it isn't believed to be serious. Smith has a chance to shine as Rodgers hasn't seemed to step up when given the chance.
Monday, August 11, 2014, 7:39pm
Falcons rookie running back Devonta Freeman left the field with an undisclosed injury and did not return to practice on Monday.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He left the field and was not able to come back out. I don’t think it’s anything serious. But we’ll know a little more in the next hour or two.”
Freeman, a fourth-round draft pick, accounted for 107 total yards on 11 touches in the exhibition opener against Miami. He rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries and caught a pass for 57 yards.
The Falcons are already hurting at the running back position. Steven Jackson, who’s listed No. 1 on the depth chart, has been out with a left hamstring injury. With Jackson out and Freeman possibly slowed, Jacquizz Rodgers, Antone Smith, Josh Vaughan and Jerome Smith are the remaining healthy running backs on the roster.
Monday, August 11, 2014, 1:53pm
Miami starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill had one of his strongest practices of training camp on Monday.
Tannehill made strong, decisive throws and had big gains to receivers Brian Hartline, Rishard Matthews and Damian Williams in team drills. Perhaps Tannehill gained momentum from his strong start to the preseason last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
He will try to build on that Saturday in his second preseason game, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sunday, August 10, 2014, 1:59pm
The Falcons showed a glimpse of the re-defined role of the tight end position in the exhibition opener against Miami.
All five of the tight ends played from scrimmage in the 16-10 win over Miami. Four tight ends also played on special teams.
The great Tony Gonzalez, who retired after last season, was a main target in the passing attack and never was a regular on special teams.
Levine Toilolo, who’s listed as the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart, played 43 snaps on offense and two on special teams against the Dolphins. He was targeted three times and made two catches for 19 yards, including a long of 15. Bear Pascoe played 19 snaps on offense and four on special teams. He caught one pass for 6 yards. Mickey Shuler played 18 snaps on offense and 13 on special teams. He caught two passes for 19 yards. Brian Wozniak played six snaps on offense and two on special teams. Jacob Pederson played four snaps on offense and was the only tight end on the roster who didn’t play on special teams.
“There are some interesting battles going on in the tight end group,” tight ends coach Chris Scelfo said. “Levine, Mickey, all five of those guys are battling.”
The position will not be featured in the offense’s passing attack. Where the Falcons used to call plays for Gonzalez, the tight end this season will mostly be blockers, special teams players and check-down options. Toilolo is ranked just 27th on our TE list and is projected for just 40 receptions.
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