It's a short week for the Falcons as they prepare to face their division rivals, the New Orleans Saints, on Thursday night in New Orleans. Here are a few photos from practice.
During Tuesday's media availability at Flowery Branch, a reporter asked Julio Jones if too much is being made about his well-documented hamstring injury. The superstar's answer—a straightforward, candid response—was indicative of his mindset as a competitor.
"My leg will have to be off or something for me not to play," he said. "Everybody's playing hurt. It's the NFL."
Currently first in the league in catches and second in receiving yards, the 26-year-old has battled nicks and bruises throughout most of 2015 thus far. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan estimates he hasn't been 100 percent since the second quarter of opening night. And, while Jones isn't at full health, he's still one of the most valuable weapons in football.
He's already had three monster games, and when he hasn't been uber productive, he's still attracted loads of attention and opened up space for his teammates. In Week 4, Leonard Hankerson benefited from the defense's focus on Jones; then, on Sunday, Austin Hooper managed a team-high 94 yards against Washington thanks, in part, to lots of one-on-one and soft zone coverage.
And it's not like Jones has been invisible of late. If he strung together 16 performances identical to Sunday's, he'd rack up more than 1,000 yards.
"He's gone out there and still been able to get the job done," Shanahan said of his No. 1 wideout. "Versus Houston he really helped us out a lot. He didn't have his numbers or anything, but we saw some weird coverages that really opened up some other guys and when Julio steps on the field, whether he's getting the ball or not, he has a huge effect on the game."