FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Few positions in football are impacted by rain as greatly as wide receiver. After practicing in a steady downpour on Thursday, Falcons receiver Julio Jones explained how he approaches his craft when the ball gets wet.
"You always have to make adjustments," Jones said. "Even in games you have to make an adjustment to things like that. But out here, you've got to wear no gloves or they've got some rain gloves they make. I prefer no gloves when I go out. I tried the rain gloves out today just to see if they would work, but I like my hands better in the rain."
It's not uncommon to see receivers eschew their normally sticky gloves in favor of using their bare hands when the rain starts, as the gloves can actually become slick and act as a detriment when wet.
Jones' ability to catch passes in heavy rain was on display last season when the Falcons traveled to New York to face the Jets. In that game, one in which Jones decided to keep his gloves on, he caught three passes for 74 yards, including this 54-yard reception:
Head coach Dan Quinn has described the last two rain-soaked practices as an "opportunity" for the team to go through game-like situations in conditions that are hard to simulate. Jones echoed some of his coaches thoughts when asked about the advantages these types of practices provide.
"It makes it comfortable for us," Jones said. "You can't simulate it. The wet balls help teach the receivers to be able to catch the ball. Matt [Ryan] just snapping the ball with the center, things like that. And it's good just to have the mindset of coming out here to get better and not 'Oh, we're going to drop the ball, we're going to drop the ball.' Basically just try to get better and work on our craft at the end of the day."