Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Falcons' pool report: Julio fine, players dance, 'Brotherhood' signs

HOUSTON -- Dan Quinn confirmed two things Wednesday that we could have predicted a while ago: Julio Jones will play in the Super Bowl and, on a related note, there are no plans to have his foot amputated.

The first practice pool report of Super Bowl week, written by Peter King of Sports Illustrated's MMQB, said Jones, while listed as limited with a severely sprained toe, "sprinted and cut like the star wideout he is, never limping." Jones is unique in sports in that he said two weeks ago he doesn't like taking pain killers, preferring to "feel the injury in practice so I know what I can and can't do."

Coach Dan Quinn moved to ease any concerns about Jones, saying, "It would take an awful lot, an act of nature, for him not to be 100 percent rolling on Sunday. I have to do a good job of managing him too, but he goes at one speed. He’s not comfortable at taking anything three-quarters, as I’ve learned in my two years with him.”

I'm not sure what "100 percent rolling" actually means. If the comment meant that there's a 100 percent change Jones will play, that's accurate. If it was meant to suggest Jones is 100 percent healthy, that's not accurate. No player at this of the season is fully healthy, least of all Jones, who frequently has soft tissue injuries and had to come out a few times in the NFC championship game against Green Bay. But that didn't stop him from being targeted 12 times and catching nine passes for 180 yards  and two touchdowns.

Imagine what he's capable of when he's healthy.

Center Alex Mack (fibula) also is listed as limited but will play. Mack came out for two plays against Green Bay but then returned. Quinn again: “Those two, really, are relatively minor injuries."

The Falcons worked out on the grass practice field adjacent to Rice Stadium. A bit of history: That was the site of the eighth Super Bowl in 1974 (1973 season), won by Miami over Minnesota 24-7.  The Falcons also have the option to practice inside the stadium on artificial turf. (The game will be played on turf.)

Also from the pool report, via King:

-- "Some players during pre-practice warm-ups danced on the field to “New Level,’’ by A$AP Ferg and other songs, also similar to the Seattle practice sessions when music filled the air. The Falcons, mostly, had the music at a lower decibel level, conducive to the frequent on-field coaching taking place."

-- "Quarterback Matt Ryan was particularly sharp in his work with the ones, twice finding the quick Jones running without restriction in the Houston heat. Quinn said aside from one timing glitch, he was happy with how his team worked: "I told the team it’s so important to get the full-speed looks. One time on a snap count we were early. But as the practice went on, our timing got better and better. From that standpoint, it met my expectations.""

-- "For one three-minute period Wednesday, Ryan and wide receivers Jones and Aldrick Robinson were off to one side, with Ryan going over precise movements on pass routes and throws. (“We do a lot of that, which makes me happy,’’ said Quinn. “Players coaching players. That’s a good sign.”)"

-- "On the sidelines, in huge block letters for the players and coaches to see, was a pair of identical block-letter slogans favored by Quinn that he’s used the year: IN BROTHERHOOD. We Rise."

EARLIER: Roger Goodell a neutral party? Not likely in this Super Bowl

EARLIER: Super Bowl: 3 Falcons, 3 recruiting stories and no Julio for Auburn

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.