Attitude, work ethic behind Julio Jones’ success

Julio Jones is a record-breaking wide receiver, but coach Dan Quinn said there’s more to what makes Jones so special than what’s seen on the field.

Although Jones could easily be named as one of the top active players in the NFL, Quinn said Jones is a pleasure to have in on the team because of his attitude and work ethic.

Even after recording 34 receptions, 440 yards and four touchdowns in three games, Quinn said Jones’ focus is unwavering.

“It’s pretty rare for someone to have that type of focus for a really long time where they stay right in the present moment,” Quinn said. “(After the hype of a game) he’s totally ready to get right back to the present moment, and be right there for his (teammates) again.”

Quinn said Jones’ dedication to mental preparation is what propels him to be a powerful player. Through his weekly film study, Quinn said Jones remembers how to react in scenarios and is able to make game-time decisions while going full speed.

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Jones’ mental preparation during the week is one of the reasons Jones excels on the field.

“He enjoys the meetings. He enjoys talking ball, and I think he’s a fan of the game,” Shanahan said. “When you have a guy like that, he’s really easy to coach because you can tell he’s entertained by it.”

Jones said studying game film weekly is one of the more important parts of training.

He said when watching film, he can see which players in the secondary won’t be able to catch the ball or cover him well alone — and he remembers during the game.

“You have to educate yourself on the defense you’re going against,” Jones said. “(Coach Quinn) challenged us early on to get in a routine and stick with it. (I) don’t need to change (what I’m doing).”

Quinn said Jones’ mental and physical versatility to play in many different spots contributes to the daunting challenge of covering him.

“Anytime there’s really talented featured players, it’s always a headache,” Quinn said. “In my background, (coaching) defensively for years, there’s certainly ways to say, ‘how are we going to deal with this guy who can wreck a game?’ and Julio certainly has that kind of ability.”

Shanahan said Jones’ athletic ability and route-running skills allow him have the ability to do anything coaches ask of him with ease.

With the numbers Jones has recorded in his five seasons with the Falcons and an impressive receiving season so far, the hype around him could be distracting, but Jones said he doesn’t feel special.

“I feel like my teammates did a great job, so it has to do with them,” Jones said. “The offensive line is doing a great job giving Matt (Ryan) time to throw the ball and giving the running back protection and other receivers, as well running routes to get me open, and I’ll do the same for them.”

Defensive threat J.J. Watt and the Texans (1-2) will face the Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome in their first meeting since 2011.

Watt said the Falcons’ offense poses a threat to the Texans’ defense that is just now “coming alive” after their first win over Tampa Bay.

“(The Falcons’) had a lot of success running the ball last week, and they also have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. That’s a great combination,” Watt said. “Julio’s making some incredible plays. He’s a great player.”