Thursday, March 27, 2014

Atlanta Falcons' Jones Progressing

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is progressing nicely from his season-ending foot surgery. Coach Mike Smith spoke with reporters yesterday morning at the owners' meetings in Orlando and said the team will proceed with caution with their star.
"He's ahead of schedule," Smith told the group. "Julio's started his running program with the athletic performance department. We anticipate he'll be ready to go 100 percent. We'll get him going at some point in time here in the offseason. We'll be very careful. Our no. 1 goal is to have him ready to participate in training camp."
Jones has not been seen on the field since sustaining a broken foot running a "go" route in a loss to the New York Jets on October 6. In that game Jones had eight catches for 99 yards, including a one-handed reception for a 46-yard gain in the fourth quarter. At the time Jones led the NFL in receptions and ranked second in receiving yards to New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham. He was also the first player in NFL history to have a reception of at least 80 yards in each of his first three seasons with the league.
Jones had surgery on October 14 and was on crutches for two months.  In five games Jones had 41 catches for 580 yards and two touchdowns, on pace for 130 catches and 1,800 receiving yards. He has not spoken to the press since his injury.
"Injuries are part of the game," Smith said. "You gotta be able to overcome them. That was one of the things that I don't think we did very well. Julio, I think, is a special receiver. I think he had 41 catches in five games, so he was on pace to have a monster season at that point in time when he went down. His skill set is very special. There's very few guys in this league that can do the same things he can do in terms of his route-running, speed. He competes for the ball when the ball's in the air."
Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith told regarding Jones and his return, "Whenever you talk about a special player in the division on a team, things change automatically. You just look at all that Julio brings to the table. Look at his toughness. Yeah, it's easy to talk about him as a receiver, catching the ball and all that. But man, this is a tough guy. He's just a special talent. There are some special receivers in the league. Of course, Calvin Johnson is special. But Julio is big, fast, strong, tough. He's got everything you're looking for. Atlanta's automatically a lot better just based on him being back on the field."
The Falcons reached the NFL championship in 2012, but slipped to 4-12 without Jones last year.
References: ESPN and AL
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Jeffrey S. Kahn, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Medicine Podiatrist in CT
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