The right hand laceration Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones suffered at San Diego in Week 3 didn’t prevent him from finishing that game or playing Sunday against Carolina.
But the injury has hindered Jones from having the kind of big-play impact expected from the second-year receiver. As Jones’ hand heals, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter expects him to be more involved in the offense and capitalize on more chances than he did during Atlanta’s victory against Carolina on Sunday.
“Absolutely,” Koetter said today. “He still had eight targets. That’s a fair number; it just didn’t work out. Eight targets and one catch is not a good percentage. Julio’s hand is not 100 percent. Credit him for playing and running his routes hard.
“But there’s no doubt, [as] we’ve seen him in some earlier games this year, when he’s 100 percent he will be even more effective.”
Even with Jones hindered by the cut on his hand Sunday, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 369 yards on 40 attempts with three touchdowns. The passing game was elevated by Roddy White’s big plays against Carolina’s aggressive defense and the 60-yard TD catch by running back Michael Turner, who’s rarely used as a receiver.
“Thank goodness you have Roddy there to pick up the slack,” Koetter said. “Roddy was phenomenal.”
The unit 29th against the run (146.2 yards per game), ninth against the pass (206.8 yards) and it has forced the opposing quarterbacks into a passer rating of 68.7, which is fifth lowest in the NFL.