Julio Jones only has one season with double-digit touchdowns during his time with the Atlanta Falcons.
Julio Jones is the greatest wide receiver in the history of the Atlanta Falcons organization and one of the best receivers of all-time in NFL history and yet this is a black eye on the organization. It shows the inability of the franchise to get one of the most dominant players in the league in the endzone.
Let that sink in for a moment, Julio Jones, who has been considered one of, if not the best receiver in the league since the Atlanta Falcons drafted him in 2011, only has one season with double-digit touchdown receptions with 10 in 2012. This is baffling considering how often Jones is targeted throughout the duration of the game.
It seems as though, for whatever reason, offensive coordinators have found it difficult to get the ball to Jones in the end zone. He has some of the strongest hands in the game and has the size to bully people, so what’s the problem?
Well, a glaring problem has been the play calling throughout his career. There was a time when Steve Sarkisian was the offensive coordinator that it felt like one of the biggest news stories every Sunday/Monday was whether or not Jones was finally going to catch a touchdown pass.
It became such a big deal that it felt like the Atlanta Falcons had just won the Super Bowl when Jones finally caught a touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 in Atlanta.
Why is this though? Why does it seem like the greatest receiver in the game today can’t catch a touchdown pass or isn’t targeted as much as he should be? Well, for one, he draws plenty of attention in the red zone, which allows for other guys to get open and score instead of him.
He is a very unselfish superstar, which is pretty rare. He puts the team before himself and that’s what makes him the best.
It is also important to point out that Matt Ryan is not the problem, regardless of what any fan thinks. Does he miss some throws from time to time, of course, he does, every quarterback does. But he certainly is not the problem when it comes to Jones’s lack of touchdowns.
For a while there, the offensive play calling was not that great and the Atlanta Falcons were not scoring with consistency.
Julio Jones’s 2015 and 2017 seasons come to mind.
2020 will be different however. The offensive line and offense as a whole looks to be improved from last year, with Calvin Ridley set to have his best season yet and will likely garner more attention.
This will in turn help Jones get open more often for scoring opportunities.
The biggest change that needs to come in order for Jones to have more scoring chances is Dirk Koetter has to be able to consistently get Jones the ball and make him more a part of the redone offense. Jones helped to win the game against the San Francisco 49ers because he was targeted in the red zone and came through like he always does.
It is ridiculous that last season Jones started with five touchdown receptions in three games, then didn’t have a single one until the game against the 49ers towards the end of the season. This has to change because Jones is a guy that should be putting up touchdown numbers like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, not the middle of the pack, five to six touchdown seasons.
The Atlanta Falcons will need to score a lot of points to keep up with the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which means Koetter will need to get Jones more involved in scoring opportunities.
This could finally be the year that Jones reaches that double-digit touchdown mark, and it would come at a much needed time when so much is at stake for so many people in this organization.