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Falcons see what they have behind Julio Jones in tough loss

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The best move Atlanta Falcons made Thursday night was keeping star receiver Julio Jones out of the lineup because of a shoulder injury during a 26-18 loss to the rival New Orleans Saints, a loss sure to incite more chatter of coach Dan Quinn’s hot seat despite an inspired effort by his team to close the game — including recovering two onside kicks. The last time a team recovered two onside kicks in a game was the Titans at the Colts on Dec. 5, 2004.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Although the now 3-9 Falcons had little to play for — the postseason is now officially out of reach — they needed to be cognizant of the future of their best player, no matter how badly Jones wanted to play through the pain. It was a game-time decision for Jones, who went through a brief warm-up under the the watchful eye of Quinn and assistant head coach Raheem Morris before being declared inactive. It marked the first time Jones has missed a game since December 2016, when he missed two games because of a toe injury.3

The Falcons obviously weren’t the same on offense without Jones on the field. Quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t have his safety net. And the Saints could focus their defensive attention on closing down wide receiver Calvin Ridley as the primary target.

Ridley still made plays with eight receptions for 91 yards. And the Falcons got a chance to see a couple of other youngsters emerge with Christian Blake catching six passes and Russell Gage catching five, including a touchdown.nfl cheap jerseys nike

But as offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said leading into the game, no one could replace Jones. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons play it with Jones moving forward, with no real reason to rush him back to the field. But the Falcons have to think about his future.

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