The Atlanta Falcons enter week five with both a sense of urgency and a sense of relief. After four games, Atlanta is 1-3 and the only thing separating them from the bottom of the division is the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have plenty of problems of their own. Week five features their least daunting task yet as they take on the New York Jets.
After a loss to the New England Patriots, one thing was clear: Injuries are keeping Atlanta from being the team they are capable of being. Before running back Steven Jackson got hurt, it looked as though he was just what this offense needed to take it to the next level. Without him, though, the offense is looking a bit more one-dimensional as the pressure is on Matt Ryan and the passing game.
Another injury that may begin to be concerning to the Falcons is that of Julio Jones’ knee. Tuesday, Jones sat out of practice along with Jackson, cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Paul Worrilow according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
In the second half against New England when the game was on the line, Jones left the field due to some pain but wound up begging his coaches to let him back in the game in effort to help a comeback attempt. Having put up his third straight 100-yard receiving game, Jones made it clear that he would not let a minor injury get in his way.
In the fourth quarter, Jones caught three passes for 86 yards including a big-time 49-yard haul that helped Atlanta gain some momentum back at the time. The big question this week is whether or not Jones is in the midst of taking a step backwards with the injury that has kept him on the injury report for a while now.
Jones leads the entire NFL with 481 receiving yards already and ranks second in receptions (33), trailing Andre Johnson and Julian Edelman only by one. His situation will be one to monitor this week as they prepare for the Jets in week five.