The debut of Julio Jones was an impressive one. His stat sheet popped, catching 2 passes for 43 yards and gaining 12 yards on the ground. It could have been even better if Matt Ryan had connected with him on the opening play that was a deep shot down the field.
But with Jones, it was less about actual production and more about potential. Every fan that watched last night’s loss to the Dolphins could walk away with that gleam in their eye as the prophetic highlight reels begin to flash through their minds. Jones showed speed, burst, vision, and toughness, all of the things that you look for in a playmaker.
And that’s what Jones will be for the Falcons this year, a playmaker. It’s why the team was so accepting of Michael Jenkins’ dismission as training camp opened. They want somebody out there that can scare defenses into changing the way they defend the Falcons. Jenkins was a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Jones has the potential to be the opposite, someone that can not only perform in multiple facets of the game, but excel in them. He showed that last night with his ability as a runner after the catch, on the ground, and showing the speed to get behind a defense.
It’s clear from the early misses that Ryan and Jones rapport isn’t all-world and is still a work in progress. It’s something that bears watching the remainder of this preseason and into the regular season. It takes years to build up the sort of rapport that Ryan has with Roddy White, but it’s certainly positive that you can see both Ryan and Jones are striving to build something similar between the two of them. And when they do start to be in sync, we might start to see defenses get out of sync trying to defend it all.