1. Injury Updates: Julio Jones (hip), William Moore (foot) and Robert Alford (wrist) were non-participants in Thursday's practice. Falcons defensive end Stansly Maponga also did not practice Thursday after being excused for a non-injury-related reason. He is expected to return to practice on Friday.
One day after Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he was optimistic about possibly having at least Jones and Moore available for Sunday's game against the Steelers, his opinion didn't change.
"I think that there's a good chance they'll be ready to go," Smith said. "I think that they will both be game-time decisions, but we do like the way that they have progressed through the first 48 hours."
2. Julio to Break Megatron's Record?:Following his performance Monday night that included 11 receptions for a franchise record-setting 259 yards, Jones seized the league lead in reception yards (1,428). He's just over 500 yards shy of logging the NFL record of most receiving yards in one season (1,964), held by Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Earlier in the week, Johnson shared thoughts on the possibility of Jones breaking his record.
"It would be an awesome feat for him," Johnson told ESPN.com. "He's had big games, so he can definitely do that."
3. White Wants Wins Over Records:Speaking as he does every Thursday at his locker, Falcons receiver Roddy White praised the efforts by Jones on Monday night. After describing Jones' performance as "lights out," he was asked what it means to be one touchdown shy of the club record for career touchdowns.* *
"It is what it is," White said. "I'd rather win games and get in the playoffs and have fun in there, and wherever the chips fall, then we go from there. I want to win a lot of games. That's been my objective ever since I came to this franchise, so that's what I want to do."
- Falcons React to Pro Bowl Votes:* *While the NFL Pro Bowl isn't until January 25th, fan voting is well underway, involving Falcons players. Julio Jones is currently listed at No. 9 among WRs. Both Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow (No. 8 among ILBs) and Devin Hester (top vote-getter for returners) each offered messages to their fans.
"That's awesome (that) people are voting for me," Worrilow said. "I'm glad there are fans out there who like me enough to do that. I appreciate that and thank them, but I still have so much I need to work on."
Hester was also humbled by his fans. "I appreciate all the support," Hester said.
"At the end of the day, we know that this whole football thing wouldn't be run and operated if it wasn't for the fans. It's a sport that we as players love, but the fans keep it going."
5. Roethlisberger Talks Falcons Defense:Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is having yet another elite season. The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback has thrown for 4,055 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2014. He's hoping not to add to his eight interceptions this season when facing the Falcons defense on Sunday.
"They are very opportunistic," Roethlisberger said. "They turn the ball over a lot. It's not just the easy one. If a ball bounces up, they'll dive and get a hand under it. They just make plays. They have a lot of high-motor guys getting after the quarterback. They never back down and they are relentless all game."