The Atlanta Falcons squandered away a 17-point halftime lead in their 20-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. The outcome may have been different, though, had they gotten the ball into the hands of their best offensive playmaker, wide receiver Julio Jones, more frequently.
Against the Dolphins, Jones, a two-time first-team All-Pro selection, was targeted by quarterback Matt Ryan just seven times. He ultimately caught six of those passes for 72 yards, which would be a nice stat line for most NFL wide receivers. For Jones, however, that is a below-average day.
On Monday afternoon, Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn made it clear that he is unsatisfied with how much Jones has been getting the ball in 2017.
“No, and the reason I say that is that he’s such a factor,” Quinn said when asked if he is happy with how often Jones is getting the ball (via Vaughn McClure of ESPN). “We’ve got to get more possessions, more time, more plays. And I think that’s more a byproduct of getting Julio the ball more. It’s not where he needs the ball more. We need more plays so he can get the ball more.”
Jones has 25 catches for 367 yards in 2017, but he has yet to record a touchdown. What’s even more curious about the situation is that the Falcons have only targeted Jones 37 times this year. That number is far too low — especially when your consider the number of targets Keenan Allen (60), Jarvis Landry (57), Pierre Garcon (56), and Adam Thielen (53) have thus far.
The former Alabama star had been dealing with a hip injury prior to the game against Miami, but according to Quinn, Jones was near full strength on Sunday.
To his credit, Jones has yet to publicly demand more touches — a popular tactic for frustrated receivers. If the Falcons are serious about ending their two-game losing streak and correcting their offensive woes, however, the best thing they can do is get their four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver more involved.