Julio Jones is very good at football.
Depending on who you talk to, the Falcons’ star wideout could be considered the best in the game today, and remains the second-best thing Thomas Dimitroff has done for the Atlanta Falcons (the first, of course, is getting the guy who throws Julio the ball).
Though, and look, it’s as hard for me to realize this as it is for you, Jones is getting older.
The former Alabama standout will be 30 in 2019, and though he has shown no signs of slowing down, he took a dip in production last season in the end zone (though some would chalk that up to the coaching). It’s also very evident that his connections with Matt Ryan weren’t quite as crisp as we’re used to seeing, with the duo just not as prolific on the deep ball as is customary.
So, it’s encouraging to hear that Jones is getting some time in this offseason with a former star at the position.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that Jones is training with former WR Terrell Owens this offseason, per Ryan.
Ryan said he’s heard Jones is working out or has consulted with Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens.
“T.O. is one of the best workers of all time,” Ryan said. “He learned from Jerry Rice and kind of modeled his stuff after that. I think the more you surround yourself with guys with a work ethic like that it’s a good thing. Julio has a great work ethic, too. He’s one of the best conditioned and best working athletes that I’ve ever been around.”
From a star-to-star perspective, it’s good that T.O. is willing to share his secrets with Jones, who, hey, even at this point in his career, can still refine aspects of his game. Having a fully-healthy offseason is no doubt going to help him get better conditioned for the 2018 season.
While Owens is primarily remembered for being really good at his job, his on-and-off field theatrics and that amazing Super Bowl performance, one must appreciate Owens’ durability.
He played for 15 seasons (with a few comeback attempts there after), and only had one season where he missed substantial time (2005, where he was only active for seven games). He knew how to take care of his body, and how to stay on the field doing what he was great at. Though he bounced around with a few teams and had a bit of an awkward end to his run, he’s an excellent person for wide receivers to talk to as they approach the big “3-0.”
Owens is surely to tell Julio how to best keep up his body as he continues to age, and that’s a great thing for a wide receiver who’s known to get a few bumps and bruises through any given season.
Dan Quinn has said in the past how Jones just heals differently than most people, which, in and of itself, is a wonderful form of durability. But, as he enters his eighth season, Jones is likely becoming aware his time in the league is indeed finite, and that he’s coming off a year where injuries no doubt caused him to be a bit off of his game (which, for a player like Jones, still qualifies him to be one of the best in the NFL).
Owens knows the road Jones is on, and it’s great to see the latter consulting with a great player who will teach him how to age gracefully.