Head coach Mike Smith said after practice Tuesday that Roddy White will not practice during this week's minicamp sessions, joining receiver Julio Jones on the sidelines as watchers of practice rather than participants. But just because they're not watching doesn't mean they're not involved.
"I think if you sit back and watch Roddy and Julio when they're not participating, they're watching very intently," Smith said. "They're watching the guys that are out there playing their position so they can make comments (in the meeting room)."
Jones and White are expected to be healthy and ready for the season when training camp rolls around and all the changes that have taken place on offense could benefit them the most. Jones was on pace for a career year last season before his injury, and that was without White on the field most of the time. An improved run game and better pass protection will make the Matt Ryan-to-Jones/White connection even more deadly.
After five straight top 10 finishes, White battled injuries during the 2013 season to finish #52 in standard scoring formats. He’s over the hill, right? Not so fast. Once he finally gave his ankle some rest, he returned in Week 10 and averaged 6.1-73-0.38 over his final eight games, and 8.6-100-0.40 in his final five. If Julio Jones comes back strong, the defensive focus will turn to him, and White should benefit. But don’t be worried about targets – Matt Ryan will continue to throw Roddy's way with Tony Gonzalez out of the picture. Meanwhile, 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.