The Eagles’ secondary looked very suspect Sunday against Washington. It’s not getting any easier in Atlanta. Not with Julio Jones and his freshly-minted $66 million contract waiting.
Jones is arguably the best pass-catcher in the NFL with 10,762 receiving yards in his illustrious career. The 30-year-old was held in check last week as the Vikings chose to drape two players over Jones, employing shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes and bringing a safety over the top. They limited the Falcons receiver to 31 yards on six catches.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will have his hands full this week, especially coming off a game where his secondary was torched for 380 yards and three touchdowns. Cornerback Rasul Douglas took the brunt of the blame in Week 1, mainly due to the way rookie Terry McLaurin raced by him on a 69-yard bomb. Douglas, along with Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox, can’t let that happen again. They know it. Schwartz knows it, too.
“Everybody always wants a blitz, but nobody likes when those deep balls go up against blitz,” Schwartz said. “But, yeah, it was a very similar situation. We have to do a better job in coverage, a better job in pass rush and a little better in our overlapping coverage.”
The ‘Eagles Killer’ Plays in Atlanta
Julio Jones has owned the Eagles in recent years. Since 2016, the Falcons receiver has racked up 405 yards against Jim Schwartz’s defenses. The good news is that Jones has been kept out of the end zone, including barely missing would-be game-winning touchdowns in both the 2017 playoffs and the 2018 opener. Still, he has been an increasing thorn in the team’s side.
When Pro Football Focus released a list of “Team Killers” for all 32 teams, Jones was the No. 1 nemesis for the Eagles.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: WR JULIO JONES, ATLANTA FALCONS, 91.8 OVERALL GRADE
Despite only amassing 202 routes run, Jones has torched the Eagles throughout his career to the tune of 45 receptions for 698 yards. Among all players, his 18 receptions of 15 or more yards rank fifth, and his 3.46 yards per route run are easily more than any other wide receiver with 25-plus targets.
Jones Can Make History Sunday Night
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is going to be rocking Sunday night in Atlanta. The Falcons were embarrassed 28-12 in Week 1 by Minnesota and the organization came out and told everyone it wasn’t acceptable.
“I was more pissed off than I’ve been in a long time,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. “We didn’t do what we said we’re going to do.”
Adding fuel to that fire is Julio Jones’ quest to break the franchise record for receiving yards. He trails only Roddy White on their all-time list. If recent history is any indication, Jones might break that at halftime. The magic number for a new record: 102 yards.
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