FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – When Julio Jones laces up, he's already one of the fastest guys on the field. And it appears he might be in the best physical shape of his life, which should be a scary thought for opposing defensive coordinators.
"I can do everything," Jones said during training camp. "I'm truly 100 percent."
According to the Pro Bowl wide receiver, he dedicated this offseason to improving his physical conditioning and speed.
"But how much faster can Jones get?" you might ask. For Jones, it wasn't increasing his top-end speed, necessarily, it was more about maintaining that speed for a longer period of time.
"Just being able to sustain, like holding speed and things like that. I'm a fast twitch guy and things like that, but I worked on a lot of core and VMOs (Vastus Medialis Oblique) and things like that. Running hills, just to work on my long speed and to hold speed for a long distance."
Jones' ability to stretch the field with his speed and size makes him one of the most unique receivers in the leagueI and an invaluable part of the Falcons' offense.
On the rare times Jones is given single coverage, the Falcons usually like their odds of him winning that matchup. If he's given double coverage, that gives someone else a chance to make the play.
That's where rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley could be dangerous. Ridley is someone who can take advantage of those opportunities Jones creates because of his ability to be moved all around the field. Not only can Ridley take the top off defenses with his speed on the outside, he can also slide inside and separate with his smooth footwork.
Although Jones and Ridley have yet to take the field together in the preseason, Jones isn't worried about being ready to go come Week 1.
"We talked about it and I'll be ready to go," Jones said. "I'm getting enough reps and things like that at practice. I'm going up against some great guys."