Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens examines Julio Jones after he’s struggled with hamstring injuries early in the 2020 season and concludes that Jones is healthy enough to resume his role as a league-wrecking wide receiver.
Julio Jones has been the NFL’s closest thing to a WWE promotion. For the past 2-3 years, you could count on at least 6-8 games where Jones would limp off the field, favoring his foot or ankle. He’d miss 2-3 series–sometimes as much as a quarter–only to return to the field with the urgency of a baby-face wrestler charging from the locker room to clear the ring of a band of heels that had left him bloody during a parking lot ambush earlier that evening.
During this late-game rampages, Jones has earned more production in this compressed period of time than most receivers earn in 2-3 weeks. As someone who has been covering the Falcons’ games on a weekly basis for the past 12 years at Footballguys.com, I’ve admired Jones’ ability to self-manage his care and still deliver elite production.
I’ve also been wondering when the day would come where he couldn’t emerge from the sideline and clear the ring of pretenders to the throne. After the opener, I pondered at Footballguys whether Calvin Ridley might be taking over as Atlanta’s primary target.
Statistically, Ridley is the No.1 receiver in fantasy football. However, Ridley has also been dealing with injuries in recent weeks and for the past two games, Jones has been slightly more productive while recuperating from a hamstring injury.
Hamstring woes are notoriously difficult injuries and are prone to aggravation if not handled well. Heading into the Vikings’ game, Jones practiced without incident and the Falcons removed the injury tag from its veteran receiver.
After watching Jones deliver against the Vikings, I’m convinced he’s not only healthy but ready to return to his role as the Falcons’ top option and the league wrecker that he’s been for nearly a decade.
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