FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones did not practice over the offseason after having foot surgery in March.
He’s expected to be available when the team reports for training camp on Wednesday and hit the field for practice on Thursday.
With the Falcons reaching the Super Bowl last season, Jones started to get more nationally recognition over the offseason.
Former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson listed Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu on his list of the Top 20 Wide Receiver Duos.
On NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football”, Burleson said Jones provides such a great anchor for the offense.
Despite being slowed by the injuries, Jones turned in another spectacular season with 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdown catches.
In the playoffs, Jones made19 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns. He made a spectacular catch in the Super Bowl to move the Falcons to the 22-yard line with 4:40 to play that should have wrapped up the victory.
“I want Julio to get in the end zone a little more… I know he’s going to get in the end zone a lot more this season,” Burleson said. “And then with Mohammed Sanu who’s brought there to be the No. 2. I kind of tussle with this a little bit because I love Taylor Gabriel and he’s an explosive guy… but I love Sanu because he’s consistent and he knows his role.”
New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will continue to run the offense through Jones, with an eye toward getting him some more action in the redzone.
“When you have player like Julio, (we want to) make sure that we are maximizing his opportunities because there is so much double coverage,” Sarkisian said. “There are so many unique coverages that roll his way that when we don’t get that, let’s make sure he’s one of the primary receivers on that play because (he’s) such a matchup for anybody one-on-one.”
Jones’ rehabilitation from his offseason foot surgery has progressed well.
He had a bunion, a bony bump on his left foot that caused him to miss substantial practice time late last season.
“I just had to get something repaired,” Jones said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at minicamp. “That was it. It was light. It wasn’t nothing.”
Jones has had two stress fractures surgeries on his right foot, raising concerns about this most recent surgery.
He’s not expecting the most recent surgery to rob him of the speed, power and explosiveness that makes him such a unique player.
“I’m just so explosive,” Jones said. “Every year, it’s something with my feet. Hopefully, I’m glad, thank God, it hasn’t been anything with a knee or anything. But I’m an explosive player and my feet can’t really take it.”
Jones jogged off to the side while the team worked through an OTA (non-contact practice) and during the mandatory minicamp.
In order to repeat as NFC South champions, the Falcons will need Jones at full strength.