Getting Julio Jones Back In Fold Is Falcons’ Top Priority

Getting Julio Jones Back In Fold Is Falcons’ Top Priority
Falcons receiver Julio Jones, who has averaged 103 catches and 1,579 yards over the past four seasons, is scheduled to make $10.5 million in 2018. AP Photo/David J. Philli
Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

The Atlanta Falcons ended their offseason program on June 14. Here’s a look at how they fared:

Offseason goals: The Falcons, who averaged a league-best 33.8 points per game during their 2016 Super Bowl run, want to regain that offensive dominance while continuing to build their fast and physical defense. The addition of rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley should help the Falcons improve their scoring after falling to an average of 22.1 points per game last season. Coach Dan Quinn expects second-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to step up his playcalling. And Sarkisian has another voice with plenty of knowledge — new quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp.

How they fared: Too soon to tell

Move I liked: Drafting the playmaking Ridley should have an immediate affect on the Falcons’ offense, giving Matt Ryan another big-time threat alongside Julio Jones. Ridley is a smooth route runner who possesses speed, and already has shown the willingness to improve his craft on a daily basis. Sarkisian, who worked with Ridley at Alabama, views the 23-year-old as a serious red zone threat. In three seasons at Alabama, Ridley was targeted 43 times in the red zone and caught 20 passes for 107 yards with 10 touchdowns. READ MORE>