Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is arguably the best player at his position, not just on his team, rather in the entire league. That's why it's been a little shocking and disconcerting to see him with such limited production through the first three games of the regular season.
Through the Falcons first three games, Julio has caught 10 passes (on 20 targets) for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's not horrible but it's certainly not Julioesque. Then in last week's game he only caught a single pass, the least he's produced in a single game in years. But that doesn't change Pro Football Focus' appreciation for Julio. In fact, they just ranked him the hardest WR to defend in one-on-one situations. They acknowledge his slow start, suggesting quarterback Matt Ryan should shoulder the blame. (My apologies for the lengthy block quote.)
The one kryptonite any wide receiver has is a quarterback who just starts missing him with the ball. Matt Ryan [...] has simply been missing Julio too much on underneath passes. When you turn on the tape, however, Jones might be the league's most physically imposing receiver, with an elite blend of size, speed and quickness that makes him near impossible to cover one-on-one [...] but if you look at those targets he was open pretty much all day — Ryan just wasn't able to put the ball where it needed to be. If you're facing Jones one-on-one and you're not one of the game's best corners, you'd better hope Ryan has one of those off-days.
Ouch. That's not the common thinking around Julio's performance over the first three games. We want to blame Julio's injuries or just disregard it because Kyle Shanahan is finally learning to spread the ball around, but in truth, is it Ryan's fault? What do you think?