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Falcons aiming to maximize Julio Jones' red-zone usage

Falcons aiming to maximize Julio Jones' red-zone usage
Published On: Thu, Jun 08
Feb 1, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold plays with kids at Rush Zone part of NFL Play 60 on Super Bowl Boulevard. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

New Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian hopes to enhance one of the league's top offenses, and that could mean more red-zone touches for top receiver Julio Jones.

Sarkisian reiterated Wednesday how he hopes to enhance the offense, not just "uphold it."

"The competitor in me is, 'How far can we take it?'" Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian, who took over for new San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, inherited an offense that led the league in points per game (33.8), yards per play (6.69) and passing yards per play (8.23), plus ranked in the top five in eight major offensive categories.

Still, Sarkisian sees room for improvement, including the use of Jones in the red zone. Last season, Jones had four red-zone receptions on just eight targets, scoring two touchdowns. Running back Devonta Freeman led the Falcons with 12 red-zone receptions on 16 targets with two touchdowns. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu was next with nine red-zone receptions on 11 targets with four touchdowns.

Of course, Jones was the one who drew double coverage inside the 20, so MVP Matt Ryan wasn't about to force him the ball when he didn't have to. Plus the Falcons' ranked ninth in the NFL in red-zone percentage at a 61.9 percent conversion rate. But Sarkisian seeks to build on the production.

Read the complete news article here...


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