Perhaps a warning memo should be sent to defensive backs around the NFL.
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who had a full offseason, to chisel his body, believes he added another gear of speed to his already dazzling football skill-set.
Last season, Jones wasn’t able to work out as he recovered from have a new screw being placed into the fifth metatarsal of his right foot.
This offseason he was back to running hills and working in the weight room to get at the optimum weight, speed and power combination. He talked about feeling like the “old Julio.”
“I have dropped a little weight,” Jones said. “I’m more muscular now. I’m faster.”
Last season, Jones was plenty fast as he caught 104 passes for 1,593 yards and six touchdowns.
“Now, when the go ball (is thrown), I have another gear,” Jones said. “I can keep running for a longer distance. My quads and hamstring have gotten stronger, so I’m in and out of breaks faster and quicker.”
Jones played last season at 229 pounds and is down to 224 pounds.
The Falcons are installing a new offense and Jones will be moved around into different position. He has to learn all of the passing routes for each position, even the tight end and running back routes.
“You have to basically know where everybody is going on the play, as far as the running back and the tight end so that you can be in every position as well,” Jones said. “(Offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) does a great job or moving us around. He challenges us every down to know what you have on every play as far as if you’re the tight end, the slot guy, the outside guy and also you can motion into the backfield.”
Jones concurs with Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme, who contended that the offense has a chance to be dynamic.
“As far as the run game, it looks amazing,” Jones said. “In the passing game we have everything as far as the receivers and tight ends.”
Jones believes that Tamme has been a great addition.
“He has great hands,” Jones said. “Great route runner. All of the above.”
Jones, who set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, has blocked out all of the talk about a contract extension.
“We just have to stay healthy and keep our head up and work here,” Jones said. “We have to forget what everybody says about us and where we are ranked. We just have to focus on the Atlanta Falcons.”
Jones seems to have taken to rookie wide receiver Justin Hardy, a fourth round pick from East Carolina. After practice, Hardy took Jones helmet and shoulder pads into the locker room for him.
“He comes to work,” Jones said. “He’s a young guy and he’s willing to learn. He didn’t come in and act like he knew everything. He’s taking coaching. He’s listening to me and (Roddy White) and also to Terry Robiskie.”
Jones insisted that Hardy wasn’t being hazed.
“That’s just what rookies have to do,” Jones said. “We don’t do hazing here. It’s all about just showing those guys how to be a great teammate.”
Rookie head coach Dan Quinn has been pleased with Jones’ professional approach to his contract situation.
“He’s one of those guys who has the rare ability to stay focused for a long time,” Quinn said. “That’s not easy to do. He can be on something and not get distracted. His mind is so clear on playing as best as he can, that’s one of the things I love about him as a competitor.”
Quinn isn’t sure if he has noticed an extra gear in Jones’ game.
“He came back and he had a terrific offseason,” Quinn said. “ Just in terms of the way he came back and the explosiveness that he’s shown, he’s ready to have a terrific year.”
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