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Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman may be held out for the entire preseason

Ben Garland is out for Week 3, while Deion Jones and Matt Bryant are still TBD.

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are already announcing info for Saturday’s regular season rehearsal game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, including some big name inactives. You probably saw from the title, but Dan Quinn is apparently focused on keeping his top players healthy.

Only [Ben] Garland is being held out for medical reasons, as he is dealing with a “strain.” Both [Julio] Jones and [Devonta] Freeman are being held out as a coach’s decision. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said it was “likely” that Jones and Freeman won’t see the field in a preseason game this year.

It should go without saying that Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman have shown what they can do, and don’t need much practice through preseason. Quinn may remember Freeman’s preseason concussion from years back, and is not eager to recreate that with such an integral cog of the offense. Jones doesn’t need any practice, and may actually be the best shape of his career.

Seriously, did y’all see his arm or nah?

Garland should be fine, and should not impact the team early in the season. He appears to simply be a deep reserve at this point, well behind Wes Schweitzer but backing up both guard spots and center if needed. He’s a lock to make the roster, though.

Will the Falcons hold out Julio and Devonta longer?

Buried in that short story is an interesting statement by Dan Quinn, who said it was “likely” the duo won’t see the field at all in preseason. That would be a disappointment to any fans at preseason games hoping to see Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman wreak some havoc, but it’s a sensible choice for a team aspiring to go to the Super Bowl. You want these guys to play when the games do matter, after all.

If they don’t play, the Falcons will continue to get a good look at their young receivers and running backs, and should be able to figure out roles for the likes of Ito Smith, Marvin Hall and Russell Gage with those longer looks.

Can’t wait for Week 1.