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Quinn Foresees More Red Zone Targets for Jones in 2017

Given how efficient their offense was in 2016, the Falcons don't plan on making many adjustments on that side of the ball when they move into Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Some change is inevitable, though, especially when a new offensive coordinator makes his presence felt.

Looking ahead, one tweak Atlanta can make next year is get Julio Jones more targets in the red zone. Head coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday he foresees that happening.

"We do. Certainly, when players have unique stuff, they sometimes get a lot of attention, and the red zone is one of those ways. As long as the production is where we'd like it to be. Every play that's going to Julio is generally a pretty good play, in my opinion," Quinn said from the Scouting Combine.

"But when there's opportunities based on the coverage going a certain way for other guys who are singled to get open, I'm comfortable with that, too. As we go through the offseason, for sure, that's going to be a spot to say, 'Can he become even more involved in what we do?' Fortunately for us, we've got some weapons at a number of different spots: at tight end, running back, the other spots at receivers (who can) attack."

According to, Jones received 11 red zone targets last season, fewer than 77 players. Increasing that number won't be easy: Defenses often double-team Jones inside the 20-yard line, giving him little space to work with in the shortened field.

Of course, putting an extra man on the four-time Pro Bowler opens up room elsewhere and can make Atlanta more dangerous. The Falcons scored touchdowns on 64.56 percent of red-zone opportunities during the regular season, good for eighth in the league and almost 10 percentage points higher than 2015.

Needless to say, it'll be interesting to see how OC Steve Sarkisian, along with a batch of recently hired assistants, approach this facet of the game.

"We have a terrific group of guys on the staff," Quinn said. "How do we utilize those and how we utilize the players in the best way? There won't be any wholesale changes in the scheme, but each year is a little different in how you feature the guys. We'll find the best way to do that."

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