If Julio Jones plays this week, Falcons will lose a great coach

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has been an unofficial coach for the team's other receivers during his two-game absence but may return to action Saturday at Carolina.

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, here talking with quarterback Matt Ryan on the sideline last week, has been an unofficial coach for the team’s other receivers during his two-game absence. Jones may return to action in Saturday’s game at Carolina. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — There are a number of great players who would be great coaches. The reason it doesn’t happen more often is because they’ve made so much money during their careers that they don’t need to work, and their first thought after retirement tends to be, “I want to sleep late” or “Get me to the beach.”

And then there’s this: “Oooh, the hours,” said Dwight Freeney, who has been a remarkable quasi player/coach himself for the Falcons (a topic to be explored further in a column Thursday).

Here’s one more guy who would be a great coach: Julio Jones.

You know who just discovered this? Julio Jones.

He has been out the last two games with a toe injury, but it didn’t stop the Falcons from defeating Los Angeles and San Francisco by a combined scored of 83-27. Being on the sideline has allowed Jones to see things that he normally wouldn’t see when he’s running routes, and he has been active sharing those thoughts during with other receivers.

Here’s the transcript of a brief exchange I had with Jones following his media session on Wednesday:

Q: Have you learned anything while watching the last two weeks?

A: “I can be a coach. I’ll tell ya that.”

Q: But would you want to be a coach?

A: “I don’t know. If you’ve got some knuckleheads, that might be hard. Here, yeah. The guys we have here, they’re very coachable.”

Q:  But the NFL has its share of knuckleheads at receiver.

A: “I’m not saying that.”

Q: I know. I’m saying it.

A: “I can only speak from my experience here.”

Q: But the knuckleheads …

A: “It would be hard. Some guys think they know everything. And some guys wouldn’t like (being coached). Some guys, you try to tell them something and they’re like, ‘OK I got it,’ (but they’re thinking), ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Then they keep doing their own thing.”

(For a guy who said he can “only speak from my experience here,” Jones seems well versed on some of the NFL’s diva receivers.)

Jones credited Aldrick Robinson for being a good route runner but recently gave him some tips on making the end of his route more difficult for the defender by “driving back on the ball,” which creates more space and increases the chance for “YAC” (yards after catch).

It must be working. Robinson, who was signed in March after being released by Baltimore and is really the Falcons’ No. 5 receiver, had four receptions for a career-high 111 yards in last week’s victory over San Francisco.

So, yeah. Coach “Hoo” must be helping a little.

Unfortunately, now he may have to go play against Carolina.

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Reader Comments 0


this read like a book report by a 3rd grader.  does the AJC actually pay for submissions like this?


Julio is the man he competes at another level and elevates those around him. I would not play him until he is 100% because it is my guess that he is ready to go on a tear in the playoffs!


I prefer him catching instead of coaching.


Jones is a cool customer and not just as a player. He's what you would like all of the multi millionaire players to be. He's not worrying about his job, he's only worrying about the teams success.