Atlanta Falcons fans will get a welcomed sight when the team faces off against the Houston Texans in their second preseason game. Julio Jones is set to make his first appearance in uniform this season after rehabbing a foot injury that occurred last season against the New York Jets. Jones underwent surgery for the injury and was expected to miss most of preseason action, but the wide receiver says he feels healthy and is ready to play.
The Falcons were simply hoping Jones would be healthy come Week 1 of the season, so the fact that he is preparing to step on the field for the team's second preseason game is welcomed. Head coach Mike Smith would not confirm nor deny Jones' status for Saturday's game, but ESPN.com is reporting that he is ready to go.
"We're going to go through the plan that we had, and I really don't want to talk about whether Julio's going to play or not,'' Smith said, via ESPN.com. "We have a plan, and we all know what it is.''
The return of Jones means the Falcons might have that top wide receiver duo after all. Last season ended up being a disaster for the team as both Jones and Roddy White suffered injuries. As a result, Harry Douglas was the star of the team, earning his first 1,000-yard season. However, the offense centers around Jones and White and they have some high expectations entering this season. Jones believes they could each earn 1,500 yards this coming year. Quarterback Matt Ryan certainly agrees.
"I think it's possible, absolutely," Ryan said, via FOXSports.com. "When you look at what Roddy has done historically here, he's always been consistent. I think everybody knows what he's capable of doing. Julio has had three really good years when he has been healthy. Last year through five games, certainly he was on pace to do that. I'm lucky to have two of the best guys and the best tandem in the NFL. I think they're both going to have big years."
Jones and White will continue to be fantasy stars, but what about Douglas? The No. 3 receiver certainly saved some teams last season. With White and Jones back, he is no longer the first look. Adding in Devin Hester only hurts that more. However, the Falcons will be safe regarding the top wide receiver tandem and might monitor their snap counts, placing Douglas at the front.