Falcons' Julio Jones eager to see how Eagles will attack
Either way, the Falcons' two-time Pro Bowl receiver sees a multitude of ways he can help Atlanta win.
If the Eagles line up top cornerback Byron Maxwell against him, Jones believes he will win the matchup nearly every time. If they try to double-team him, Jones believes his teammates will make plays in single coverage.
And if Philadelphia wants to use Maxwell against him in the slot, Jones likes his chances even more.
''Most definitely,'' Jones said Friday. ''I don't think he's a guy that really plays inside. He likes to play outside as far as being a cornerback. He doesn't like to be in there and be a nickel.''
Regardless of the Eagles' attack, Jones plans to ''stay patient in those situations'' and use the same mindset that helped him avoid distractions before signing a new five-year contract last month that guarantees $47.5 million.
''That's just me,'' Jones told The Associated Press. ''The contract was not going to have a burden on how I go out there and play the game. I'm going to do my job and let everything else take care of itself.''
Aside from a pesky foot injury, Jones has blossomed into the elite player the Falcons envisioned when they drafted him No. 6 overall in 2011.
He set the team's single-season mark in receiving yards last year and ranked either among the NFL's top three in yards receiving, catches and yards after the catch.
''Usually, guys (with his size) don't run as fast Julio,'' Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. ''He's a tough matchup just from a speed standpoint, but then when you add on that he's 6-3, 220, it's a tough deal. He's got great range, outstanding hands, a very disciplined route runner.''
Maxwell was a primary focus in free agency for Philadelphia, which signed him to a six-year deal that guarantees $25 million. Falcons coach Dan Quinn understands why the Eagles wanted Maxwell after working with him the last two seasons when Seattle won a Super Bowl and an NFC title.
''He was leading the way (in disrupting ball security), taking shots at it, getting picks, poking it out,'' Quinn said. ''He has this great length as an outside player so he can reach in and get the ball or take a shot at it.''
Jones spent part of the offseason learning both outside receiver spots and the slot receiver spots in the zone-read offense installed by new coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
It's all about versatility and scheming within the scheme.
''Guys are going to double you, but they can't do it the whole game,'' Jones said. ''And if they do, I've got all the faith in the world that Roddy (White), (Leonard) Hankerson and the other (receivers) will step and make plays.''
Notes: LT Jake Matthews (back) and RB Devonta Freeman (hamstring) were upgraded on the injury report after fully participating in practice. ... WR Devin Hester (toe) and OLB Brooks Reed (groin) did not participate. ... If Hester is unable to play, Eric Weems will likely return kickoffs and punts. Weems, in his second stint with the Falcons, was elected special teams captain for the season earlier this week, but he's not as an elite specialist like Hester, the NFL's career leader in touchdown returns.
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