FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones could eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his NFL career against the Panthers on Sunday.
Jones has 58 catches for 931 yards and six touchdowns. Last season in 13 games, Jones had 54 catches for 959 yards and eight touchdowns.
Here’s a Q&A with Jones after Friday’s practice:
Q: What will be some of the keys against Carolina’s defense?
A: They’ve got a lot of injuries. They are going to have a couple of rookies and everything playing. They are moving guys around, so we don’t know what to expect as far as the matchups and how we’re going to get played this week. We don’t know. We have basically been focusing on us. We can’t worry about what they are going to do. We just have to go out there and play ball.
Q: Did you all not break off routes against them last time when they had seven sacks?
A: I don’t know. The only thing I know is that we just have to play better overall as an offense. Everybody is owning up to what they did wrong, but at the same time everybody has just got to play better. End of story. Especially on the offensive side of the ball. We can’t give them seven sacks. That comes from everybody like they are saying.
Q: Do y’all ignore them being mad about Matt Ryan’s comments? Or, do y’all just have Matt’s back?
A: We don’t care about what they say. We just have to go out there and play. We can’t got out there and talk. We just have to go out there and let our play do the talking. You just can’t go out there on the field and be talking the whole time. Basically, it’s just put up or shut up. We just have to go out there and ball.
Q: What’s been your approach to games in your second season in the league?
A: It doesn’t matter, who I’m playing. Sometimes you are going to have those weeks. You can be up and down, up and down. You just have to go out there and play your game. Go out there, practice and prepare hard. When the game comes around, go out there and have fun. Every game, if it’s Sunday, Monday, Thursday — and we’ll play on Saturday before Christmas — just go out there and have fun. Just love, doing what you do.
Q: How do you feel getting one-on-one coverage?
A: If we have go route or anything, man-to-man or anything, Matt says ‘get ready.’ I have to go out there and execute.
Q: What are your thoughts on taking the kickoff out of the game?
A: Kickers are not 100 percent on getting touchbacks. They can miss sometimes. That’s a big part of the game. That’s a very big part of the game. That’s eliminating a unit and also that’s jobs for other people to play. A lot of people make teams through special teams. That’s is going to eliminate a lot of jobs for people, too. I’m with special teams. I don’t think they should take it out.
Q: How are teams trying to defend you all?
A: If you are doubling us and trying to play a lot of two high safeties or two-high inverted safeties, that will open up our run game. Mike (Turner) and Quizz (Rodgers) do a great job of running the ball. Still, you’ve got to pick your poison.
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