After starting the 2018 season 1-4, asking this question about Deion Jones has to be something that’s discussed within the Falcons front-office. It’s become very apparent that this Atlanta defense is vastly different without Jones’ presence, but that doesn’t mean Dan Quinn should rush him back onto the field if the Falcons aren’t in a position to make the 2018 NFC Playoffs. The future of this franchise, which Jones is very much a part of, is more important than whether or not Jones can help fix the Dirty Birds defense in the latter months of this year.
We haven’t exactly gotten a solid time-frame of when Jones could return to the Falcons lineup, but there are reports it could be around the Falcons game vs the Cowboys or the Thanksgiving Day match-up vs the Saints.
Let’s say that Jones is able to return vs the Cowboys in Week 11 against Dallas. Not only would his presence help the Falcons stop Dallas’ potent rushing attack, but he would give Atlanta a solid seven games before the end of 2018. While his return to the field won’t help Jordan Richards become Ricardo Allen, it will help Atlanta stop opposing offenses from using their running back to gash them in the passing game.
Could that help lead the Falcons to a few more victories? Sure. Will it be worth it in the end? Only time will tell.
In my opinion, if Atlanta climbs back to 5-4 or even 4-5 by the time Deion Jones is healthy enough to return, then we’re going to see him back on the field for the Dirty Birds. At that point, anything can happen with seven games left in the season. However, if the Falcons haven’t reached, at least, four wins by the time they play the Cowboys, it’s not worth having him on the field.
Call it tanking or call it being overly-cautious, but there is nothing smart about your best defensive player competing on a recently-injured foot with no hope of making the postseason.