This off-season we heard about how ready for the season Julio Jones was, and how he looked poised to take the next step and become one of the NFL's most dominant receivers. Some thought this was premature, but it was hard to argue with how good Jones looked during preseason. Following his dominant week one game against Kansas City, it's near impossible to deny that Jones is the real deal, and though the Falcons paid a high price, he was worth it.
Okay, so Kansas City don't have the greatest offense in the world, and Matt Ryan had a world of time to throw with no pass rush coming his way, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Jones was dominant. Finishing with 6 receptions, for 108 yards and two touchdowns he helped fuel the Falcons' big 40-24 win.
The numbers themselves are impressive, but moreover what's encouraging about his day was how he played. Jones displayed strength, speed, and elusiveness– all typified on a 31 yard reception, his longest of the day. Losing his man, Julio caught the ball in the open field, made the first man miss, and picked up an additional eight yards before being brought down. It was this ability the Falcons craved when they moved up to take him in the draft, and thus far Jones and Ryan have shown an affinity for playing with each other.
Next week Atlanta face the Denver Broncos, fresh off their victory of Pittsburgh. The Broncos are a much better team defensively, and Julio Jones will have a harder time as he works against all-pro CB Champ Bailey. This will be an excellent test of his skills, and should Jones manage to best the elder statesmen it will ensure people no longer talk about Jones in terms of what the Falcons gave up to select him.
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