By virtue of not spending preseason on the field, Julio Jones is going to have even more time to lean into a role he seems to be pretty comfortable in despite his not-all-that-advanced age: Elder statesman.
Julio’s been an active presence with young players throughout training camp and has had encouraging words for the likes of Jordan Miller, the rookie cornerback who has been so eager to challenge him, and the rookie and second-year receivers vying for limited roster and practice squad spots. Heading into the first real preseason game, he had some words of encouragement for guys like Christian Blake and Shawn Bane who are battling.
“It’s been fun, watching the young guys get better every week...and see what they got,” Jones said.
This time around Julio didn’t single anyone out the way he did with Blake heading into the Broncos game, but the Falcons have what looks like a fairly tight battle for a sixth spot, if the team indeed carries one. No one was an absolute standout the way Devin Gray was in his first preseason game a year ago, but then it was only an exhibition game, and there are four more chances for these guys to shine.
Julio also had some advice for young players tonight against the Dolphins, when a win or loss doesn’t matter much but their individual play could go a long way toward getting them a spot on the 53 man roster.
“Don’t let one game determine who you are, just get the next play. Once you’ve got that mentality and that attitude, next play, next play, next play, and you put your best foot forward, your best effort forward, you’ll be pleased with the outcome of the game.”