Matt Ryan, John Parker Wilson share ‘The Julio Plan’

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities today in Flowery Branch. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities in Flowery Branch in April. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/

BIRDLAND — The lockout is a real bummer for the players.

But quarterback Matt Ryan is taking the bull by the horn (unlike the Hawks) and is providing the team some leadership during these turbulent times.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan before leading about 30 players through an unofficial minicamp practice on Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan before leading about 30 players through an unofficial minicamp practice on Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/

One of his missions is to get rookie Julio Jones up to speed. Jones, whom the Falcons traded up 21 spots to select in the NFL draft, has already been meeting with Ryan and the wide receivers.

It certainly helps that John Parker Wilson, one of Ryan’s backups, has been helping. Parker won 12 games as a senior at Alabama when Jones was a freshman.

He noted that Jones came in and learned the offense pretty fast. He said that Jones won’t have a problem learning the Falcons’ playbook, but noted that the verbiage of the play calls will be challenging.

At Alabama in 2008, Jones caught 58 passes for 924 yards and four touchdowns with Parker running the show.

“He’s gotten a lot bigger and it looks like he’s gotten a lot stronger,” Wilson said. “He was catching balls the other day, and his reach is still so amazing. It’s pretty sweet. He couldn’t run. He’s still working on his foot from when he messed that up, but he looks good. He looks really good.”

Wilson can help Ryan by telling him what routes Jones likes and what routes he runs best.

THE UNTOUCHABLES: John Parker Wilson, Matt Ryan and Chris Redman will wear blue jerseys and will not get hit in the live scrimmage.

Falcons quarterbacks John Parker Wilson, Matt Ryan and Chris Redman.

“I remember watching film when I was getting ready for the combine and everything and I probably targeted him 75 percent of the time,” Wilson said. “No lie. He’s a true professional. I think he’s the real deal.”

The Falcons paid a steep price for Jones. They gave up five picks, including next year’s first and fourth round picks. When a team gives up so much for one player, there will be some additional pressure on him. Wilson believes that Jones will handle that extra pressure well.

“I think he’ll fit in really good with our team,” Wilson said. “He’s a good, hard worker, a lot like the other personalities we have on our team. I think it’s going to work well.”

It’s no secret that Jones was added to add some explosiveness to the offense.

Will that be in the form of more deep routes and throws? Or will it be in the form of the bubble and slip screens he ran at Alabama?  With his 4.3 speed, we might see him on some reverses, too.

Ryan was not exactly sure how offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey plans to integrate Jones into the offense.

John Parker Wilson spinning the ball back in his Alabama days. He has special insight to Julio Jones. (Associated Press)

John Parker Wilson spinning the ball back in his Alabama days. He has special insight into Julio Jones. (Associated Press)

“It will be interesting to see,” Ryan said. “He’s a big physical guy. I think he can do a lot of things for us. I think he’ll play a big part. . . I think he can bring some unique things.”

After a stress fracture was discovered, Jones had surgery on his left foot after the combine. He was expected to have a two month recovery period and should be close to running again soon.

Ryan can’t wait for Jones to start running so that they can start working on their timing.

“I’ll be interested to finally get to work with him and seeing the skills sets he has in terms of route running,” Ryan said. “Once we kind of find out about that I think we’ll know more about how we are going to use him.”

Julio, go deep!

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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115 comments Add your comment

#1 falcons fan

May 13th, 2011
5:16 am

just win baby!…..and first!

Big Ray

May 13th, 2011
5:36 am

Nice work, D. Ledd.

college is forever

May 13th, 2011
5:37 am


May 13th, 2011
5:54 am

DC Dirty Bird

May 13th, 2011
6:13 am

I wonder if Matty Ice is working on his deep ball. I’d like to see us open up the season with a deep post to Julio or Roddy.

Section 108

May 13th, 2011
6:40 am

Is it Football season yet? (Sigh)

Go Falcons!


May 13th, 2011
7:29 am

that shot was below the belt. The Hawks didn’t have the horses (or bench) to go 7 games. We lost our chance in Game 5.

That said, I hope the Falcons aren’t paralleling the Hawks post-season wise and no 1st rounder for next season …

Go, Julio!


May 13th, 2011
7:37 am

I cannot wait to see the Dirty Birds with Julio, just hope matty ice can get him the ball deep!

Go Falcons!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 13th, 2011
7:53 am

Marcus — If they play up to their talent, like they did in Game 4, they’d be headed to the Finals. They are too inconsistent and are running out of excuses. They under achieved in the regular season. But give him credit for a solid playoff run.

Big Ray
— Thanks.

notso fast

May 13th, 2011
7:54 am

I like the sound of “Go Deep”.


May 13th, 2011
8:00 am

I see Julio Jones in the first picture and Kevin Winston, the Falcons’ senior director of player development……Who is the third person?


May 13th, 2011
8:02 am

DLED: – Not to beat a dead horse…but this “5 Picks Given Up” thing is killing me. We gave up 4 picks and switched a 1st. Everyone keeps making it seem like we gave up TWO 1st round picks and it’s just bogus….We upgraded our 1st round pick this year and gave up only ONE 1st pick. Semantics? Maybe. Just wish people would get the facts straight….That’s all. Great read! Go Falcons!

Daddy Rabbit

May 13th, 2011
8:09 am

I hope JJ uses some of his money to but a suit that fits.


May 13th, 2011
8:16 am

Has anyone else noticed that Thomas D. has a tendency to select kids with known injury issues as a HIGH draft choices (Peria Jerry, Moore, etc.). To me, these are high risk players, especially when you are trading up and risking not only this years draft picks, but next years as well and you have so many glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball that were exposed against Green Bay and you know which players you will lose at free agency (once the lock out is lifted).

The Falcons could have waited until Calvin Johnson became a free agent (and gotten a known commodity) rather than trading up for Jones this season, especially with the risk of his injury, and filled multiple needs rather than one wish list.

This trade didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense to me now.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 13th, 2011
8:23 am

Daddy Rabbit — Julio is a sharp dresser. I know you saw that bow tie he wore on draft day.

Glenn — Valid points. Thanks for sharing.


May 13th, 2011
8:23 am

Should the stress fracture stress us out? That is the first that ive heard of his injury. I know that this type of injury has ruined alot of careers in sports, especialy basketball. Yoa Ming in particular comes to mind. I know that the hardwood floor in basketball probably has something to do with the recurance of the injury. The turf in the Ga dome has improved from the past, it used to be no more than indoor outdoor carpet over concrete. Is this injury something to be concerned about?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 13th, 2011
8:26 am

TheManMike — The Falcons did give up five picks. They received 1 pick back. They gave up two first rounders, one second, and two fourths. Thanks for sharing your point of view.


May 13th, 2011
8:31 am

“Ryan was not exactly sure how offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey plans to integrate Jones into the offense.”

What an understatement. Let’s hope Mularkey has been told to call better sequences of plays. Mularkey never determined how to use Norwood. Norwood was always put in the lineup when it was obvious he would be given the ball, and the defense would stop him. I will not believe our offense is more explosive until it happens.


May 13th, 2011
8:41 am

To you people worried about julio and injuries let me tell you. I’ve been watching him play since he was in high school and this is the toughest I’ve ever seen play the game. FYI….Several days before the combine Jones found out that he had a cracked bone in his foot and they wanted to fix it. Jones didn’t want to be totally dependent on his pro day so he opted to workout for the scouts and media at the combine while injured and he blew up the combine with his numbers. His performance on every level Left AJ Green far behind him, he ran faster, jumped higher, came an inch of the combine record broad jump and is significantly stronger. He did all that with that fracture and he has played with injuries before and never complained or missed a game. Last year he broke a bone in his hand and had screws inserted halfway through the season and didn’t miss a play plus set an Alabama receiving record with that screw in his hand and most people did not even know ha was hurt because he don’t whine and cry or make excuses he just plays hard and wins games…period

Chi Town

May 13th, 2011
8:42 am

Julio owns the puppies over in Athens.


May 13th, 2011
8:44 am

Agree that whether this trade works out well or not is on Mularkey. With the added weapons he better come out with more variety and less predictability and better ability to stretch the field this year.

In my opinion the Hawks had a better playoffs than the Falcons this year, underachieving or not.


May 13th, 2011
8:50 am

Hey D.Led, is Michael Jenkins truly happy about the drafting of Julio? Let’s face it, the guy was drafted to play his position. His public comments about it – unfortunately – are pretty consistent with the passive demeanor he’s displayed his whole career.

Jenkins obviously knows Julio will have to take the position from him with his play on the field (at least this year). But, dude, is there even a match, let alone a fire lit in your belly over this? You’re ‘excited’ about a guy coming in to the fold who wants your job?

It’s just too bad that someone with that much talent doesn’t have an equal amount of heart and desire …


May 13th, 2011
8:56 am

“His performance on every level Left AJ Green far behind him”
Wow, Wayne! And Jones still got drafted BEHIND Green, and the Falcons only drafted him after failing to reach a deal with the Bengals?

There are some stupid GMs in the NFL to not see how “far behind” AJ was . . .

Hopefully, they will both do great things in the NFL.

Harvey Updyke

May 13th, 2011
9:04 am

Roll Damn Tide


May 13th, 2011
9:08 am

These guys will open up another 20 catch’s for Roddy. You can’t double both….and the running game will work even better as corners will be busy covering these two guys.


May 13th, 2011
9:10 am

Julio is going to be AWESOME!

deep black

May 13th, 2011
9:19 am

Where are they holding player led practices?


May 13th, 2011
9:31 am

deep black,

DLed gives that up and it’s off the the Clayton News Daily for him!

Robert 08

May 13th, 2011
9:37 am

Is Jacquizz Rogers or any of the other draft choices taking part in these practices? I hope Rogers gets in there so he too can get a head start on the season despite the lockout.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 13th, 2011
9:44 am

tp — He’s not happy, but he’s a real pro. He worked the slot pretty good when Petrino was here. He’ll have a mismatch if he can hold off Harry D.

deep black — They don’t want me to tell, because if the masses start showing up they’ll have to pay for security. That would be an additional expense.

Robert 08 — Akeem Dent was at the practices. I need to check on Quizz for you all.


May 13th, 2011
9:46 am

If you give up 5 and get back 1, isn’t that giving up 4? Did you go to a government school or something?


May 13th, 2011
9:47 am

I thought players and teams weren’t allowed to have contact with each other. If thats the senior director of player development, then the fact that he and Julio are meeting should be against the rules of the lockout. Am I right about this? It seems like it should be some sort of violation. Just sayin.


May 13th, 2011
10:00 am

LMAO…@Daddy Rabbit. You are so right I thought I was the only one the seen that. That one button looks like its struggling to hold it together…lol

Go Falcons!!!!


May 13th, 2011
10:17 am

Billy bob – LOL

Broken bone in foot. Prior broken bone in hand. Did we just draft Greg Oden?


May 13th, 2011
10:31 am

falcan’ts first rounders are perennial members of the “Physically Unable to Perform All Star” team. Looks like Julio will be that club’s team captain this year.

Metro Coach

May 13th, 2011
10:44 am

billy bob- That is quite possibly the most ignorant statement I’ve read on an AJC blog, and that’s saying something considering all the liberal goobs posting on the political blogs.


May 13th, 2011
10:53 am

To Glenn who posted at 8:16a……..You said just about everything i’ve been saying all along. Amen brother!


May 13th, 2011
10:57 am

deep ball and some screens… also fyi jaquizz is going to be a beast… this guy is like mjd small strong and explosive


May 13th, 2011
11:02 am

Not many people have mentioned how much he is going to help on blocking for stretch plays and outside runs. He will generally always have the physical advantage and I love his tough nosed style with helping in the running game.


May 13th, 2011
11:02 am

and to glenn.. You do not WAIT in the nfl.. The lions are building a dangerous team… they should hit the playoffs this year if stafford stays healthy.. so waitng on caivin would never work because he is the franchise along with stafford… Julio will come in and rack up around 600-700yds and maybe 4-5 tds this season which will be a relief because now roddy could really get open and cause hell..
- You didnt see the panthers wait for Andrew Luck… they drafted a major project in Cam Newton.. they could of gone with peterson or AJ and just waited til next year to get their guy… but whats the point… let alone the cost of singing a big time free agent..


May 13th, 2011
11:11 am

I don’t know the exact numbers in the draft but I think like TheManMike says. We gave up (around) our 27, 59, 123 next years 32 and 128 for this years 6. Next years 32 and 128 are not as valuable as this years 32 and 128. It’s like the present value and future value of money. Our money is more valuable if we get it now rather than next year.
We got one of the two best at a needed skill position. We could have gotton an OK WR at 27. We had to either help ourselves score more points or keep opponents from scoring more. I wonder more if Mularky can do anything with this offense than anything else.
#27 DE’s don’t always work out and usually take about 3 years to develop. I hope we get one in FA. I think we made a good decision here. At least I hope it works out.


May 13th, 2011
11:13 am

dled…falcons gave up 4 picks. the swapped 1st rd picks this year so that cancels each pick out there. advantage atl on this pick as atl got a better player at the 7 then they would have at 27 this year. cle also picked up a 4th rd pick this year from atl which atl has a full roster of 4th rd picks already to play this season from last years draft so no big lost there. advantage atl..then cle will get atl 1st rd pick in 2012 which will most likely be either a 27 or 28 pick again or if atl wins the super bowl, cle will get the last pick of the 1st rd..again avantage falcons. then cle will get atl 4th rd pick of next years draft which is no big loss either for the type of player julio will be. so thats 4 picks not 5 that atl gave up. make sense now dled?

Big Man

May 13th, 2011
11:19 am

Isn’t there a lockout going on? So why is this TEAM employee allowed to contact players?


May 13th, 2011
11:20 am

Looks like Julio needs a new suit jacket – pretty tight adound the mid-section. Hopefully that’s not from eating too much…


May 13th, 2011
11:28 am

@TheManMikeat8:02…Thanks for saying what I was thinking! You would think the beat writer would have caught that by now.

Enemas For Integrity

May 13th, 2011
11:30 am

Friday the 13th


May 13th, 2011
11:36 am

Yea, Im glad he was chosen in the 1st round. He needs a new suit.


May 13th, 2011
11:39 am


May 13th, 2011
10:53 am
To Glenn who posted at 8:16a……..You said just about everything i’ve been saying all along. Amen brother!

To everyone else. If you read between the lines, realityjerk is saying he’s an idiot or a aints fan. Well come to think of it, what’s the difference?


May 13th, 2011
11:40 am

Watching the Falcons O is going to be a lot of fun (they need to get Quizz out there too).
I just don’t know if the defense is going to be any better.



May 13th, 2011
11:44 am

Friday 13th? wottha hell!