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NFL Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons: There’s No Doubt Who the No. 1 Receiver Is

Julio Jones

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2007, Roddy White has been the No. 1 receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. He has caught between 83 and 115 passes, had at least six touchdowns and 1,150 yards every season since then. However, Atlanta was unable to put another playmaking receiver next to him until 2011 when they traded up for Julio Jones in the NFL Draft. The chemistry Quarterback Matt Ryan has with White is what had kept him as the No. 1 receiver, until now.

There is no question that Julio Jones is a much more talented than Roddy White. The tandem has become one of the best in the league, but in Week 2 against the St. Louis Rams with White being hobbled, the Falcons leaned on Jones heavily. White was able to stay on the field and pull out a gutsy performance where he caught three passes on three targets for 21 yards. Unable to shake the Rams defense, he turned into more of a decoy than a threat on the field. This became Julio Jones chance to step up and take over the No. 1 role.

Jones caught 11 passes for 182 yards and a TD on 14 targets. He was lined up all over the field and took advantage of a smaller Rams secondary to lead the Falcons to a much-needed win. Jones made the Pro Bowl last year even though he was the No. 2 target for the Falcons. Matt Ryan threw to White 14 times more than Jones a year ago but those numbers will change this year. It is hard to imagine White will be completely healthy this year without taking a few games off. With Tony Gonzalez on his last legs and Steven Jackson getting injured on Sunday, expect him to have a heavy workload the rest of the year and put up Calvin Johnson type numbers the rest of the way out.