Julio Jones is the Atlanta Falcons’ best player, and it isn’t close. That’s why it’s really good news that he practiced fully again on Friday and he should be 100% ready to go against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
The Falcons need Jones for the offense, which struggled through most of last season, to have a chance against a talented Tampa Bay defense. The fact that defensive coordinator Mike Smith and head coach Dirk Koetter — old friends of this Falcons team — have such detailed knowledge of Matt Ryan and his tendencies means the Falcons need all the help they can get on Sunday.
Keanu Neal, as expected, will be out on Sunday as he continues to recover from minor knee surgery. Neal is not, however, out for the season. Some readers panicked when they received a notification from some other site because it identified Neal as being out for the "season opener," but the notification cut off "opener." He still is just out for a few weeks.
Dashon Goldson (hamstring) and Terron Ward (ankle) are both questionable for Sunday’s game. Both were limited in practice today.
Everyone else was a full go on Friday. Kemal Ishmael (shoulder) should get the start at strong safety. Adrian Clayborn (shoulder) was updated to full practice status after being limited earlier in the week.
Dan Quinn said after practice that Jonathan Babineaux has a brand new baby, and that’s why he missed practice Thursday. Dwight Freeney, who missed practice earlier in the week due to a non-injury-related reason, also practiced fully and is ready to go for Sunday.
Your thoughts on the injuries heading into this Week 1 matchup?