Falcons have contingency plans for Julio Jones

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FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, the team's offensive play-caller, is making contingency plans for wide receiver Julio Jones to play against the Saints at 1 p.m. Sunday at the

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter


“It’s hard when you don’t know for sure if a guy is going to play no matter if it’s Julio or not Julio,” Koetter said on Tuesday. “We kind of have to have a contingency both ways. We have some ‘what if Julio plays’ and some ‘what if Julio does not play.’ We have both. That’s one of the hardest things about not knowing if one of your best guys is going to go.”

The Falcons (5-9) need to beat the Saints (6-8) in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Jones, who was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Steelers with a hip injury, is expected to be ready to play against the Saints, Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Monday.

“Julio is about where he was yesterday,” Smith said. “Our anticipation is that we’ll have him ready to go this week. It’s going to be important for him to continue to improve. He improved from last week to this week. We need to get him back out there.”

Jones was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report before the Steelers game.

Smith said he was close to playing and expects that by later in the week he’ll be ready to return.

Jones left the Falcons’ 43-37 loss at the Packers in the fourth quarter on Dec. 8 and did not return.

Jones leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,428) after setting career highs in yards in consecutive games. Jones also leads the league with 27 receptions of 20 yards or longer.

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