As the Atlanta Falcons concluded Wednesday's practice and head coach Mike Smith walked over to address the media, I couldn't help but notice what was taking place on the practice field behind him; some of the Falcons players were putting in extra work, including the dynamic receiver duo, Roddy White and Julio Jones.
This extra session wasn't just a game of catch as both stars were improving their footwork and catching ability, while running routes like they plan to do in 2014, finishing in the end zone. QB Matt Ryan would throw intentionally-difficult passes, testing the duo's reaction skills and I saw multiple throws that made both players showcase vertical jumps that would make former Atlanta Hawks All-Star, "The Human Highlight Film," Dominique Wilkins proud.
Following the reps, Jones took some extra time to speak with me about one of the duo's motivations this season, 1,500 receiving yards each, which would be an NFL record.
"We're just putting it out there," Jones said. "I always tell people, every year, I never put goals on myself, because I don't want to limit myself. What I set out to do, I'm going to do it, but I don't want to limit myself, because I don't know what I'm capable of doing, so I don't want to put an exact number on me. We're just putting that number out there, because we possibly can do that, just because of all the rule changes and everything else."
In a nutshell, the rule changes Jones referred to include those that prohibit defensive backs from tugging the receiver's jersey to slow him down, allowing for either a possible interception or at the very least, a pass breakup (PBU).
"Good cornerbacks grab receivers," Jones said. "They have to, because we know where we're going and they don't. The majority of them, they're going to have to grab to be able to stay in there and play with you."
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As for potentially being the first pair of NFL receivers to each crack the 1,500-yard mark in one season, don't doubt this Falcons duo.
"Me and Roddy, we push each other," Jones said. "The duo thing is going to come with it by just the way we push each other and get after each other. If I go out there and make a play, Roddy's going to go out and make a play, then I'm going to make a play, then he's going to make a play; we just try to push each other and at the end of the day, we have the opportunity to come out on top and win ball games like that."
Earlier in the week, I spoke with NFL Media's Gil Brandt, ESPN's John Clayton and Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 and SiriusXM NFL Radio and each raved about the possibility of Jones and White each topping 1,500 yards.
Jones says the opportunity to accomplish such a feat is possible in 2014, but only through a team effort, especially up-front.
"It can be the best (season) it's ever been here, with me and Roddy healthy and the offensive line we have; those guys are competing," Jones said. "We don't know who's going to be the starter on the offensive line yet either, but those guys compete every day and I love it. They're hard-nosed up-front and that's where the game is won. If those guys give us time to go down the field to make plays, nine times out of 10, me, Roddy and the guys are going to make those plays."
And when those plays are indeed made, like Jones has said before, the sky is the limit for this team, which is exactly what Falcons fans have been waiting for and come to expect, each and every year.
For more on the Falcons WRs, follow me on Twitter, @FalconsRFerrin.