Deion Jones has been activated and can officially suit up this week against the Cowboys. Although, Dan Quinn reiterated early this week that he will only play Jones if he is fully 100%. The Pro-Bowl linebacker has been sidelined since week one with a foot injury.
Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped fans from tingling with excitement in anticipation of his eventual return. According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN, even Brian Urlacher commented on the Falcons star,
“That’s a bad mother f—–,” Urlacher said. “Is he coming back? I know he got hurt the first game of the year. I like that he can come back from [injured reserve] later in the season. That’s a good move.”
“He’s already a star, dude. He’s the fastest middle linebacker in the NFL. He can cover anybody. He’s great in the run game. He’s so athletic. He’s one of the guys I really love watching play.”
This isn’t the first time the Hall-of-Fame linebacker has had fonds words to say in regards to Jones. In an interview at the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame earlier this year, Urlacher told the media that Luke Kuechly, Deion Jones and Bobby Wagner were three of his favorite linebackers to watch.
Urlacher is not wrong. In two years, Jones has already established himself among the best middle linebackers in the game, and it all starts with his unbelievable speed. The LSU product came out and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at their Pro-Day, lighting up the eyes of even the most pessimistic scouts that dubbed his size as a reason he would never solidify himself in the NFL.
That speed allows him to cover sideline to sideline better than any other linebacker in the league and defend a multitude of receivers in the passing game. It is the main reason the Falcons have struggled so much with pass-catching running backs. Normally, Jones would be on them before they can even turn their head around and get up the field. Without him, the Falcons have come to the realization that it is not as easy as it looks.
He may not have the reputation around the league that some of the top linebackers do, but his value on this team has skyrocketed in his absence. It is nice to see perhaps the best to ever strap it up at the position recognize the kind of player Jones has become so early in his career.
The Falcons hope to see their Pro-Bowl linebacker back on the field for their critical matchup with the Cowboys. However, If he does not play in that game, and Atlanta loses, it might be wiser to hold him out for the remainder of the season.