Updates from Saturday, Aug. 16
Falcons Digital Content Manager Jay Adams has the latest on Jones:
Saturday night at Houston, the star wide receiver was in work clothes.
Suited up for the second preseason game of the year, Jones is expected to play with the first-team offense for a bit. How long has yet to be determined, but starters will likely go into the second quarter.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Jones "played 16 snaps in an exhibition game against the Houston Texans on Saturday night at NRG Stadium. Jones finished with two catches for 20 yards"
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14
Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones, who has slowly worked his way back into action following a second foot surgery, said he expects to play against the Houston Texanson Saturday night.
Jones said he feels 100 percent now, although the team has been cautious with him this preseason.
Updates from Friday, Aug. 8
NFL: Around the League provides an update from Mike Smith, who spoke about Julio Jones' status:
Mike Smith on Falcons telecast: 'We're going to work on a 2nd or 3rd preseason game (for Julio). That's our goal right now.'— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) August 8, 2014
Falcons.com's Jay Adams has the latest on Jones:
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5
ESPN's Vaughn McClure provides an update on Julio Jones' status from Falcons coach Mike Smith:
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith said the coaches will decide today about wide receiver Julio Jones' status for Friday's preseason opener at home against the Miami Dolphins.
"I'm not going to talk about snaps and the number of snaps," Smith said of Friday's exhibition. "We want to go through and evaluate as many guys as we can. The majority of the time (today) in our staff meetings will be talking about play time. And again, that's always changing based on the number of healthy bodies that we have. And we will be making a determination on who's going to play and how much in (today's) meeting."
Updates from Monday, July 28
Peter Schrager of Fox Sports spoke about Julio Jones' performance in training camp:
Three names I'm only hearing rave reviews about... Sammy Watkins (Buffalo), Josh Gordon (Cleveland), and Julio Jones (Atlanta).— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) July 28, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 25
ESPN's Vaughn McClure has an update on Jones' recovery plan:
Smith told 92.9 Julio Jones will have a day off every other day. Kroy Biermann also will be on a schedule of being held out some practices.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) July 25, 2014
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones will be an active participant when the team opens training camp Friday. The playmaker has been cleared after working his way back from a foot injury that cost him most of last season.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Jones has now been forced to recover from two major surgeries on his right foot. Head coach Mike Smith explained how the team planned to work him back into practices:
He will be limited in terms of his snaps. Our number one goal is to make sure that we've got everybody as healthy as we possibly can be, but we know that we have to get these guys some work together and reps. Julio will be out there participating in practice right from the start.
The Falcons are coming off a disappointing 4-12 season. The team's star-studded offense struggled as Jones and fellow star wideout Roddy White both missed time, which caused Matt Ryan to have his lowest quarterback rating in four years.
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Jones' return helps create a fresh batch of optimism surrounding Atlanta as it begins camp. If the offense can stay healthy and get back on track, the Falcons could complete a very quick turnaround and emerge as a sleeper in the NFC.
The Alabama product caught 133 passes for over 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns during his first two seasons in the league. He had 41 grabs for 580 yards and two scores in five games last season before the injury ended his campaign.
Jones is confident the foot woes won't have a lasting impact on his ability. Vaughn McClure of ESPN passed along comments from the receiver during his recovery, and he talked about what he was doing to make sure he was back to 100 percent:
I just get back in the weight room and work hard; continue to do what I've been doing. I'm just doing a little extra stuff because I was out for seven months and I wasn't able to run. So I had to do other things to get my quads even stronger than my hamstrings, and that's why I started doing back-squatting and doing a lot of other stuff.
Ledbetter noted Jones' recovery and his impact on the offense will be one of the featured stories as the Falcons get spotlighted by HBO's popular Hard Knocks series:
Jones' right foot will be a major topic on HBO’s "Hard Knocks" reality show, which will chronicle the team's rebuilding efforts this season. While his training-camp practice schedule will be limited, Jones plans to be in the starting lineup when the Falcons open the regular season against the New Orleans Saints at 1 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Georgia Dome.
The report also explains that Jones and the Falcons are hoping a new technique, which uses stem cells to help the recovery process, helps him avoid further issues with the troublesome foot. He's viewed as an intriguing test case in the medical community.
If Jones and White can each stay healthy, Atlanta's offense should be far more potent than it was throughout last season. The unit ranked 14th in yards per game last season, but it should easily push into the top 10 and potentially into the top five with better injury luck.
Jones' size, speed and athleticism make him one of the league's most dangerous wide receivers. He'll be watched closely once camp gets underway to make sure he looks like the same player after his latest recovery.
He sounds confident there won't be a drop-off.