Atlanta Falcons' rookie receiver Julio Jones will miss Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers because of a hamstring injury.
Fantasy owners, sit him. Fantasy owners and the rest of us, close your eyes and go to a fantasy world where Jones actually ends up in the end zone, whether we want to see him do it for points or just for the sake of doing it.
Open your eyes now. Reality is that fantasy hasn't come true.
Jones pulled up in the fourth quarter of a 25-14 loss to Green Bay while running a deep route down the sideline. He's been able to do some light running with the training staff, but coach Mike Smith said Wednesday there's no chance of the first-round pick playing against the Panthers.
Harry Douglas will start in place of Jones, who has 25 catches for 358 yards. Kerry Meier and Eric Weems should get more playing time out of the three-receiver sets.
One man's misfortune is another guy's opportunity. said Smith.
The Falcons are 2-3, a record that many hope would be reversed, if not, better. Jones was supposed to play a huge part in making the team better than they were last season, being expected to produce touchdowns alongside Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White. But Jones has accounted for no touchdowns thus far for a team in need of a better deep game, despite QB Matt Ryan and White.
For a guy who left Alabama after his junior year, much hype has enshrouded him, and rightfully so. He was the Crimson Tide's best receiver throughout those three years, helping lead the team in 2009 to win the BCS National Championship. Fast forward to the 2011 NFL Draft, and the Falcons dealt five picks to the Cleveland Browns, including a first-rounder in 2012, to move up 21 slots to claim Jones.
Just one word describes why: explosiveness.
At 6 feet 3 inches and 220 pounds, a 4.39 40-yard dash and a 40-inch vertical leap, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff pretty much thought the same thing we thought of Jones. He's a must have...but for the Falcons especially.
Remember when Atlanta earned a No.1 seed last season with the NFC's best regular-season record (13-3), then was trounced in its playoff opener by the Green Bay Packers? Dimitroff certainly does.
We learned that we have to have explosive playmakers if we're going to go tit for tat with explosive teams. he said.
What's ironic about Dimitroff's comment is that 90 percent of today's NFL teams are explosive. That means the Falcons need Julio Jones practically every game to get the Falcons to the next level.
However, as someone that has come out of a Nick Saban team, Jones needs to get himself to the next level first by correcting his mistakes once he's healthy again and becoming that wily young veteran that he can be.
The glaring omission to his game is his touchdowns. His start of 25 receptions and 358 yards is justified. Defenses are going to stop a tall receiver, especially a move-the-chains guy like Jones. But, if Jones wants to play to our own and his own high expectations (which I'm sure he has), then the fat donut in the TD column must disappear.