According to the team's official website, when asked where the disconnect is happening for the Falcons' offense considering Atlanta ranks No. 2 in passing yards but No. 26 in points per game, Julio Jones
paused in disbelief before answering.
"That's not us," Jones said. "That's not good enough to win football games. We need to at least score 21, 28 points a game and we should be able to do with the guys we have. But like I said, everybody just has to fix themselves first."
Since the Falcons drafted Jones in 2011, Atlanta has had a top-10 scoring unit four times: In 2011 they were No. 10 (25.1 points per game); in 2012 they were No. 7 (26.2 ppg); in 2016 they were No. 1 (33.8 ppg); and in 2018 they were No. 10 (25.9 ppg).
Only twice has Jones's team not had a scoring offense that's ranked in the top-15 of the league (2013 and 2017) and one of those seasons (2013), Jones injured his foot early in the season and missed the remainder of the year.
The Falcons have high standards for themselves on offense and the recent 10-point performance against the Titans has Jones, Matt Ryan
and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter searching for answers.
"We are a way better ball club than we presented last Sunday," Jones said. "The way we took the field, the way, the way we executed everything, it wasn't us. We played hard as hell, but just detail-wise, there was always one guy here and there."
The Falcons (1-3) are about to embark on a two-game road swing against the Houston Texans (2-2) and the Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1) and will be looking to get back on track.
In order for the Falcons to do that, Jones said his message to his teammates was simple:
"Everybody have fun but just be on your details," Jones said. "Go out here and cut it lose. We can't get that right until everybody collectively does their job instead of worrying somebody else's job. I have to take care of Julio and everybody just [has] to take care of themselves to go out there and play and be accountable. Once everyone is doing that together, we can go out there and play Falcon football."
As Profootballtalk.com's Josh Alper pointed out, the "do your job" mantra has been a staple for the Patriots for years and the results speak for themselves. It seems Jones would like to see his team take a page from that book before the 2019 season gets away from them.
The good news this week?
Although Jones is coming off a bit of a down game against Tennessee despite a good matchup against struggling Malcolm Butler, the star receiver is a good bet to get back on track against rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr. this week.
According to ESPN's Mike Clay, Johnson primarily aligns at right perimeter corner and Houston is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to that spot. Jones will be across from Johnson on 61 percent of his routes (using 2018 deployment as a guide
), so he'll also see some of Johnathan Joseph, who has been heavily targeted this season (23 percent of his coverage snaps to be exact).
The Texans are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers, with No. 1 receivers Keenan Allen
, Michael Thomas
and DJ Chark each reaching 19 fantasy points against Houston.
It's also worth noting Jones has caught all three of his end-zone targets while opponents have completed 4-of-5 end-zone throws against Houston.
Meanwhile, as ESPN's Al Zeidenfeld pointed out, Ryan has exceeded the 300-yard mark in all four games this season and, with Devonta Freeman
not having shown much through September, the Falcons will have to throw a ton to continue winning football games. In other words, more of the same as Atlanta leads the NFL with 176 passing attempts through four weeks of play.
So even though Calvin Ridley
has struggled the last two weeks, scoring a combined 7.8 fantasy points, he runs 85.3 percent of his routes from the perimeter this season (see fantasy points allowed to perimeter receivers above).
And finally. ... The Texans are currently the third-toughest matchup for tight ends, but Austin Hooper
's volume of routes-per-dropback has been quite strong, as has been his target share (19.1 percent of all targets, 21.4 percent in the red zone). Continue to run him out there if you have been.