Julio Jones will always be victimized by his draft status. It's not just his 1st round pedigree - it's the amount of picks the Falcons gave up to get him. So in a season that doesn't play to your strengths (more on that later), the criticism comes fast and furious.
Still, Jones hasn't missed any game action and remains confident in his ability as a deep threat. Ryan is right there with him.
"I think we've got a good mix of that," Ryan said of play calls going deep. "And we have to keep protecting. We've got to keep working on our pass protection. I actually thought our offensive line did a really good job against a really good front four (vs. Detroit)."
McClure does a great job breaking down the difficulties Jones is facing. Really it's quite simple: the Falcons have 5 offensive linemen on IR. That means they have to get creative in pass protection. It also means Ryan has less time to get rid of the ball. If the remaining offensive linemen can't sustain a pocket for Matt Ryan, Jones can't be a deep threat. Science!
Notwithstanding the roster-specific limitations, Ryan and Jones want to get back to the deep ball. It's their bread and butter, so to speak. And if the pass protection agains the Lions was any indication, the Falcons can theoretically create the necessary pocket. Whether they execute going forward remains to be seen, but at least they're aware of the problem. That, after all, is the first step.