The Kansas City Chiefs face the Atlanta Falcons this week, and as any head coach must, Andy Reid is thinking ahead to how his team might try to contain Julio Jones.
“You hope he misses the bus,” Reid said.
When you look at Jones’ stats for the season as a whole, they’re impressive. He has 1,140 receiving yards and is averaging 17.5 yards a catch. When you look at his performance game by game, though, he’s had an up-and-down year. One week, he may have one catch for 16 yards, as he did in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. Another week, he may burn a secondary for well over 100 yards, as he has six times this season.
Jones’ impact on Atlanta’s offensive success is dramatic, though, regardless of how many yards and touchdowns he racks up per game. Opponents are forced to dedicate extra resources to containing Jones, which opens things up for players like Taylor Gabriel and running back Tevin Coleman to make plays.
When teams don’t take adequate measures to limit Jones — well, ask the Carolina Panthers what it felt like to watch Jones go off for 300 receiving yards against them.
Reid acknowledged the difficulty involved in limiting Jones.
“He’s going to make some plays,” Reid said. “He’s a great player, but you’ve got to try to minimize him.”
The Chiefs have their work cut out for them against Jones and the Falcons this week. Kansas City is ranked 20th in the NFL against the pass, allowing 260.5 yards per game, while Atlanta is averaging 303.1 yards per game.