ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 15: Julio Jones #11 and Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate after Jones scored a 29-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Georgia Dome on December 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Montana and Rice. Aikman and Irvin. For stretches, even guys like Culpepper and Moss.
They are great quarterback and wide receiver pairings, and they are at the center of some of the greatest moments and careers in NFL history. The names are enough to conjure up two guys just pitching and catching while defenders either stand around in awe or are charred to ashes in their mere presence.
It's fair--though perhaps a little insane--to wonder if Matt Ryan and Julio Jones might someday be mentioned in the same breath.
The talent is there. Ryan's a cerebral quarterback with good timing and a quality arm, and Jones is one of the most freakishly talented wide receivers in the game today. They're in a fairly high-octane offense, and both are still on the younger side. If Ryan gets the extension I think we all expect him to get, they could be a tandem for quite a long time.
There's reason to believe this pairing could wind up blowing all our minds. The Falcons have a host of other weapons to take heat off Jones, who otherwise would be drawing triple teams every play. They have a new coordinator, and if the defense is better, they may have the ball a lot more. Setting the bar low on Jones would be calling for 70 catches, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. I honestly think that's conservative.
I know it sounds hyperbolic or just plain wrong to even mention Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in the same sentence as guys like Montana and Rice, but it doesn't hurt to think about it. Your thoughts on this topic?