Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discusses Julio Jones’ absence from minicamp and how he’ll have to learn some of the new wrinkles to the attack. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Ryan believes Jones will catch up quickly to new offensive wrinkles

‘He’ll pick those new things up quickly’

However, quarterback Matt Ryan believes that wide receiver Julio Jones, who’s missed the entire offseason program and is skipping a mandatory minicamp, won’t have problems catching up.

Jones, who’s unhappy with his contract, told coach Dan Quinn on Monday that he would not be attending the three-day minicamp. 

“I don’t that think that will be difficult,” Ryan said after practice on Wednesday. “He’s such an incredible player, a talented player. He’s been working hard. He’s in great shape. I think he’ll pick those new things up quickly. 

“He’s got a lot of time on task with 95 percent of our system. He knows this system inside and out. He’s always extremely well prepared. I’m confident and positive that he’ll be ready to go.”

The Falcons normally get together away from the coaches for a players-only camp in April. With Ryan and his wife Sarah having twins, the camp has been pushed back until July. 

Jones, who’s been working out with Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, is expected to attend. The Falcons’ offense is trying to rebound after dropping from first to 15th in scoring in the NFL.

“We have a group of guys, probably about 12 of us that are going to get together in the month of July and he’ll certainly be a part of that,” Ryan said. “We’ll have an extended period where we get some work together.”

During the Falcons’ march to the Super Bowl in the 2016 season, several players cited the players-only camp with helping to bring the team together. 

“That’s something that we’ve done the past couple of years down in Miami,” Ryan said. “This year is a little bit later because kind of due to my offseason. But we’ll still have that chance to work together and it will be really productive for us. It’s been really productive for us in the past.”

Ryan thinks the later players-only camp will be helpful. 

“This timing will be really good too, closer to training camp where a lot of things that we work on will carry over and we’ll be able to kind of apply those things as we get into the season,” Ryan said.  

The Falcons do miss Jones at the current practices.

“There are certain spots that we like to use Julio or routes or whatever, other than that, when we are out there working, we are focused on the guys that are in there,” Ryan said. “We’re trying to improve the routes that they are running and the concepts that we are working on. So, it doesn’t come up all that much.

“I understand that there is a business side to this sport, too. “I don’t like getting involved in other people’s business. I know I don’t like speaking about my business, so it’s not my place to get into that.”

The holdout seems out of character for Jones. 

“As far as drama or anything like that, he’s one of the best teammates you could ever be around,” Ryan said. “One of the most unselfish players. It’s all about winning. Those are the things that you love. He’s great for our organization and our team. 

“Other than that, they’ll resolve it and get that stuff worked out.”

Jones has three years left on his contract, but the wide receiver market shifted dramatically upward this offseason. Jones is set to be the seventh-highest paid wide receiver in the league.

Apparently, that’s too for down the list to  come to minicamp.  

“I’ve been through this before with other players,” Ryan said. “It’s part of it. I’m confident that he’ll be ready to go when he gets here. I’m really positive about that.”   

 Subscribe to “The Bow Tie Chronicles” podcast with the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter on iTunes or on the new AJC sports podcasts page. 



Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Related Stories