Just in case you thought this doomed season couldn’t get any worse, Atlanta Falcons legacy wideout Julio Jones and his struggling hamstring have reentered the chat.
NFL’s Ian Rapoport shared Tuesday that Jones has re-aggravated the hamstring injury he’s been struggling with seemingly all season long, and that it might hold him out for Sunday’s pivotal division clash with the 2-2 Panthers.
From NFL Now: The #Falcons got in at 5 am and WR Julio Jones hasn't had his tests yet. But a reaggravation of the hamstring injury on a short week... it all doesn't look great for him playing this week. pic.twitter.com/H3qKMahFgI— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2020
“It’s hard to imagine Julio Jones being back on the field next week for the Falcons,” Rapoport says in the update. “Anything’s possible, but it just does not look good for their star receiver against the Panthers.”
Rapoport notes the short turnaround to Sunday from Monday night’s game will play a factor, but you also have to consider Jones’ age (31) and his history of injury (lengthy).
While Dan Quinn is essentially on a week-to-week basis with his job right now, he does have his players’ best interest at heart. It’s hard to see DQ wanting Jones back out there for his own sake, even if that makes beating the Panthers harder. Quinn already held Jones out in Week Three against the Bears, and he’s been limited against both the Cowboys and the Packers after his huge game against Seattle.
The Jet only has 213 yards this season, and it’s going to be vital for his future health that the team tread lightly as to how they use him going ahead. He’s not a rookie anymore, and he can still perform at perhaps the highest level a receiver can if he’s allowed time to nurse his hamstring, which, like hurting your ankle, can be a pesky injury to shake.
Calvin Ridley’s ankle is probably still bothering him a bit, which may hint why he had no catches Monday night at Lambeau. Russell Gage hurt his head against Chicago, but played this week. He might be the surest bet on the roster right now at the position if Ridley isn’t 100%, which just doesn’t bode well for Matt Ryan, who isn’t having his best year either.
Everything sucks right now. The 0-4 Falcons are a labyrinth of confusion and pain, the injuries are piling up, the coaching is listless and these losses will eventually pile up on the mental stability of this locker room. Now they’ve got a Panthers team coming to town that’s won two straight games and is outperforming expectations. They honestly are probably the favorites for Sunday, even without Christian McCaffrey in tow.
As badly as you want to see Jones out there, the team would be unwise to use him anytime soon. Shutting him down in a lost season for just a bit might be the best decision for Jones and the franchise that has a lot of resources tied up right now in his future health and success.
No one knows where we’re going, but we might not have Jones to head there for a little while if the team is responsible with his hamstring injury. We have a feeling they will be.