Full Steam Ahead for Julio Jones and Atlanta Falcons

By Leigh Allen
Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons TC
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The talk of the Atlanta Falcons training camp started off with a bang by way of QB Matt Ryan’s long-overdue contract extension, but the buzz on the field is around wide receiver Julio Jones.

The Falcons traded up (though ‘traded up’ may be an understatement, considering they traded five draft picks) to acquire Jones’ talents in the 2011 NFL draft, and that gamble has more than paid off. Sharing field time with the other half of the WR dynamic duo Roddy White has proven to be money in the bank for Falcons’ victories…and has continually kept the opposition scrambling.

As far as the depth (pardon the pun) of Jones’ game, there’s no denying the influence of White (on the field, not off). However, Jones’ success is also a strong testament to the work ethic instilled within him during his college days with Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. One pearl of wisdom from Saban that Jones continually takes to heart and applies to his game daily: “Just because you were successful…it doesn’t mean you’re gonna continue.”

Let’s not forget also that Jones’ rookie contract can be restructured at the end of the 2013 season, which once again brings the dreaded salary cap into play. However, considering the performance that he has delivered in only two seasons, the Falcons’ powers-that-be must do what it takes to ensure that Jones is there to carry on the WR winning tradition when White moves on from the game.

One word to the wise for Julio, though: Stay in tandem with White on the field only. Social media is good…within limits. Though the role-model cap isn’t an easy one to live with at times, the magnifying glass of scrutiny is always there. That glass will magnify any and every slip of the tongue, or of the keyboard. Maintain that intense on-field focus during off-field time.

Particularly if that focus screams “Super Bowl.”


Leigh Allen is an NFL Atlanta Falcons writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Google+.

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