Julio Jones has long been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, but he knows the guy throwing him the football is special as well.
After landing in Los Angeles, Jones was met by a TMZ reporter who had a few questions for him. Among those questions was whether or not the Falcons should consider taking Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 16 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft if he is still on the board. Jones had a simple and definitive answer ready for him.
"We've got our franchise quarterback there in Matt Ryan," Jones said.
Both Jones and Ryan are coming off of excellent individual seasons and continue to build their legacies in the NFL history books. Jones broke Jerry Rice's longstanding record and became the player to reach 12,000 career receiving yards in the fewest number of games, reaching that mark in 17 fewer games than Rice did. Ryan, meanwhile, surpassed Warren Moon on the league's all-time passing list and now has the 10th-most career passing yards of any player in NFL history. He also threw for 4,000 passing yards for the ninth-straight season, which is the longest active streak in the league and second-longest in history.
The Falcons ended their 2019 season on a hot streak, winning six of their last eight games, including their final four games of the year. Jones was asked to reflect upon the season and didn't mind sharing his thoughts.
"As far as the Falcons, and anything with football, it's all about staying healthy," Jones said. "We lose guys, and you don't want to blame it on things like that, but the truth of the matter is you've got to stay healthy throughout the season. The biggest thing is staying healthy, having your key guys out there and your leaders to go out there and perform, and when the going gets tough step up and make plays for you."