The Atlanta Falcons are falling apart with five consecutive losses, dropping out of the Wild Card spot and looking more and more like a team that doesn’t know what to do with possibly the best wide receiver in the NFL, Julio Jones.
In the 23-19 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the sixth loss in seven games for the Falcons who started the season 5-0, Jones finished with 93 yards on 8 receptions with 0 touchdowns. That’s his fourth consecutive game with no touchdown receptions after four in the first three games, three games without while playing injured and then two more TD receptions back to back before the season started falling around the Falcons.
Jones is obviously frustrated with Matt Ryan either ignoring him or the team not including Jones in their plans when they’re close to the endzone, but he’s not saying anything that might ruffle some feathers. It does seem weird that a guy who can beat double coverage and is one of the more impressive athletes in the NFL from an offensive standpoint has only six touchdowns at this point despite already getting to 102 receptions and 1338 receiving yards.
I just go out there and just do what I’m told to do. If we’re getting those looks, I think they’ll call those plays. But I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re getting down there. I don’t know what the thinking is as far as if we’re going to throw the jump balls or if we’re going to run the ball or whatever look we’re getting down there. We practice throughout the week throwing jump balls, throwing fades, throwing all these little things. But when the game comes, you never know what’s going to come up.
Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator, is defending his play calling, suggesting Jones is being taken out of plays, forcing the Falcons to go for Terron Ward, Justin Hardy or Nick Williams, who actually scored a touchdown off play-action across the formation. But the Falcons are 3-1 when Jones gets a touchdown, who was the intended receiver when Ryan got intercepted to end their chances of avoiding another narrow loss to the Bucs. Whatever the reason may be, Jones not getting the touches in the red zone has been a big part of the Falcons’ seasons crumbling around them.