New Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian believes Julio Jones deserves more attention in the red zone than he’s been getting. Making sure to give credit where credit is due, Sarkisian said he wants to build on the foundation Kyle Shanahan left behind.
“The competitor in me is, ‘How far can we take it?'” Sarkisian said Wednesday, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure.
“I think, No. 1, they were still very good in the red zone,” Sarkisian said of Atlanta’s offense. “But when you have a player like Julio, it’s making sure we maximize his opportunities because there is so much double-coverage, there are so many unique coverages that roll his way that when we don’t get that, let’s make sure he’s one of the primary receivers on that play because it is such a tough matchup for anybody one on one.”
We’re guessing Jones, who caught four touchdowns on eight opportunities inside opponents’ 20-yard line last year, won’t argue with that logic. He’s certainly one of the NFL’s preeminent talents at the wide receiver position, having caught 219 passes for 3,280 yards and 14 touchdowns the past two seasons for the Falcons.
But given his considerable talents, Jones really should be scoring more than he does, to Sarkisian’s point.
We’ll be watching Atlanta’s offense with great interest this preseason to see how much is different and how much is the same under Sarkisian. He’s certainly a talented play caller, but he’s making the considerable jump from college to the pros for the first time in his career this year, and we really don’t know what to expect.