Can the Falcons still compete without Julio Jones?

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Just because Julio Jones, the Falcons’ all-time leading receiver, is not a member of the team anymore doesn’t mean it’s rebuild time for Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith. Many fans have already mailed the 2021 season in since Jones has been traded, but I ask those people… why? Does Julio Jones account for more wins per year than Matt Ryan? No. Does Julio Jones give the Titans exponentially better odds at winning the Super Bowl? No.

The fact is Julio Jones is an all-time great player, and he now plays for a playoff-caliber team. That’s it. The Falcons didn’t lose the most important piece of this team… Matty Ice. Wide receivers are arguably the least influential position when it comes to winning games, but can you guess the most influential position? That’s right, quarterback. This is a quarterback-driven league, and having Jones instead of Ryan would hurt much more than the other way around.

I’m trying to make the point that with Arthur Smith and Matt Ryan, the Falcons have a chance at competing. Smith isn’t some forward thinker who is imagining a Super Bowl a few years from now with Ryan’s successor; he believes it can be done now. Smith came to Atlanta to compete right away, and with a capable quarterback, he’s shown his offensive scheme can elevate a team to the playoffs.

I’m not delusional. Atlanta’s roster is deficient in many areas. The defensive backfield, offensive line, and pass-rushing group all leave something to be desired. Looking at the team with Julio Jones, nobody thought the Falcons had a shot at winning a Super Bowl, so why is everyone raising hell now that he’s gone? To me, Jones isn’t vital in Smith’s offense, which uses multiple tight end sets at a high rate. Sure, having Jones around is always great, but his presence isn’t as needed in this new-look offense.¬†Arthur Smith isn’t losing sleep over a Julio-less Falcons offense, and neither should you.

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