Julio Jones has yet to catch a touchdown pass this season.
Jones is arguably the best wide receiver on the planet, and he’s treated as such, constantly facing double and triple teams throughout the course of a game. Opposing defensive coordinators are intent on never letting Julio beat them.
The Falcons’ offense is actually benefiting from the added attention Jones constantly sees, especially in the red zone, where they’re sixth in the NFL in touchdown percentage, finding the end zone on 69.57% of their trips into red area.
Jones has still done incredible work in between the 20s, accounted for 810 receiving yards — the second-highest mark in the NFL (just 10 behind Minnesota’s Adam Thielen).
The extra attention he commands in the red area, and all over the field, has helped free up Calvin Ridley for his six receiving touchdowns. And Mohamed Sanu for his three receiving touchdowns. And Tevin Coleman for his two receiving touchdowns (you see where I’m going with this).
Even though Jones has zero TDs, the Falcons are by no means struggling to put up points — QB Matt Ryan is fifth in the NFL in passing TDs with 15, and the 3.1 touchdowns scored per game as a team puts the Falcons in the top 10 in the league.
The most incredible thing in all of this is the fact that Julio Jones is so selfless that he doesn’t care about his lack of scores as long as the offense is successful, which it has been (the Falcons rank fourth in the NFL in total offense and ninth in points per game).
Jones was asked about his lack of TDs following the Monday Night Football win over the Giants in Week 6, and this is what he had to say:
Suzy Kolber asked Julio about the TDs and he gave a pretty great response pic.twitter.com/aLvhMx5KXJ— Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) October 23, 2018
It’s a beautiful mentality — out here, all of my boys eat. In a league where Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown (two spectacular talents, who rival Jones as the best WR in the league) dominate headlines as a result of the negative stuff they say in interviews or post on social media, how refreshing is it to have Julio Jones, in Falcon colors, spreading this message?
Julio is an unbelievable football player and he’s an even better teammate. Even more than that, he’s a role model for all of us. The summer’s contract-related drama—which fizzled out pretty quickly when push came to shove—certainly clouded that picture in the minds of many, but on the field and off it Julio has rarely done anything but boost his team.
Leading up to Super Bowl 51, Stephen A Smith featured Julio Jones on the “Final Take” of an ESPN First Take episode, and everything he said about number 11 was spot on and still applies to this day:
I couldn’t have said it better myself.