If the Atlanta Falcons want to reach the Super Bowl in the upcoming season, they will need wide receiver Julio Jones to have a breakout year in 2013. It will only be Jones’ third year in the NFL, but he will have to step his game up once again to help lead a Falcons passing attack that could set the team a part from the rest of the pack.
The 24-year-old posted fantastic numbers that were good enough for him to reach his first Pro Bowl in 2012. Jones hauled in 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games. He also added 17 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns in two postseason games.
Jones understands his role on the team, and that his personal success will transition over to the overall success of the ball club. The good news is Jones has taken that knowledge and built on it by having the best offseason of his young career. In fact, he is following in the footsteps of two new teammates, defensive end Osi Umenyiora and running back Steven Jackson, in order to improve his game on the gridiron.
“Every morning Osi is working out in the facility before anyone even gets there,” Jones told FOXSports.com in June. “I noticed that, so I started doing that. Little things like that will make this team great.”
Jones stated that watching Jackson in particular is very inspiring. Not only does it make him want to get better, but it gives him confidence that the veteran running back is in Atlanta to do great things.
“Steven comes out there and he works,” Jones said, according to FOXSports.com. “I don’t know how old he is. I know he’s a veteran, but he gets out there and works every play. He’s taking every rep whenever coach wants him in there.
“That stuff is not mandatory, man, it’s voluntary. You can come if you want to, but Steven is there working. I really believe he is going to make the Atlanta Falcons better.”
If winning a Super Bowl was not enough for Jones wanting to raise his level of play, getting a big payday like teammate Matt Ryan should do the trick.