The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of soul-searching to do with a 6-6 record and two of their next three games against the 12-0 Carolina Panthers. As far as their offensive struggles are concerned, they shouldn’t have to look far.
Wide receiver Julio Jones last caught a touchdown pass on Nov. 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he has only caught two touchdowns since September. When Jones doesn’t score, the Falcons are 3-5. When he does, they’re 3-1.
Flash back to the first three weeks of the season, when the Falcons went 3-0 and Jones led the league with four touchdown receptions. Things were going pretty well then, no? Maybe it’s time to get him the ball in the Red Zone again?
Jones certainly agrees. After Sunday’s 23-19 loss to Tampa Bay, he told reporters that it’s anybody’s guess as to why he isn’t getting catches when the team is close to the goal line.
“I don’t know what we are doing down there,” he told reporters. “I don’t know what the thinking is as far as if we’re going to throw jump balls or if we are going to run the ball with whatever look we get down there. We practice throughout the week throwing jump balls and fades and doing all of those things. But when the game comes, you never know what’s going to come up.”
There are many Falcons fans who have voiced displeasure with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and his play-calling, and for good reason. Putting it nicely, it’s been weird.
Jones’s assertion that the Falcons are practicing one thing and doing something completely different in games is a little shocking, especially when it’s jump balls and fades. Those plays have made Jones a lot of money over his career, and they’ve gotten the Falcons a lot of points.
When things aren’t working and the team doesn’t have many offensive weapons, I don’t know, maybe try getting the ball to your best player?
That might be too easy for Shanahan and his goofy play-calling, but it also might save his job.
Photo: AP/Brian BlancoFollow @Sean_Breslin