Julio Jones gave a passionate speech following the Falcons' 37-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Jones reportedly stopped Falcons coach Dan Quinn as he was addressing the team and said the blame for the Falcons' 1-6 start rests on the players, not Quinn. As Jones put it, the "ball hasn't been bouncing" the Falcons way this season.
Jones, one of Atlanta's team captains and one of the most-respected players in the locker room, felt it was time to speak up.
"I've just been here for nine years and different guys in and out and we have the team to be good and great," Jones said. "The ball hasn't been bouncing our way lately. It's just one of those things, letting guys know, we're all in here together. When times get tough, it's like you can play the blame game and things like that. None of that has happened but I just didn't want it to get to that point where guys are doubting themselves, not trusting their routines. We just talked."
The six-time Pro Bowler isn't the most vocal leader in the locker room, that's not his personality. Jones has earned the respect of his teammates by leading by example.
That's why him speaking up touched many, including his position coach and assistant head coach, Raheem Morris.
"For him to step up and talk in front of the team, in my opinion, might have been one of the most impressive things off the field I've ever seen him do," Morris said. "He's does a lot of impressive things, with the community, with people but to let people to see that I think is really special by him and it meant a lot to me as I know it did to a lot of people on this team and this organization."
Jones and Quinn have both said they're pleased with the effort the team is giving each week, but that's not enough to win games, according to Jones.
"At the end of the day, we're out there on the field," Jones said. "Coach Quinn is not on the field. The effort is there, I just feel like us as competitors and professionals we can do a better job of going out there and gelling together more. I feel like we're fighting really, really well."
The Falcons have another chance to get things back on track with a home game against the Seahawks (5-2) before heading into the bye week.
In order to get a win, a better performance from Atlanta's offense and defense will be necessary.
The Falcons are coming off their worst offensive performance of the season, according to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Atlanta was held to its second-lowest point total of the season.
And they might have to do so without quarterback Matt Ryan who suffered an ankle sprain against the Rams and has yet to practice this week.
Defensively, the Falcons will need to play better on third down and get pressure on Russell Wilson. The Falcons rank last in the league in third-down conversion rate (55 percent) and sacks with just five on the year.