Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has been ruled out of Sunday’s match against the Carolina Panthers Because of a lingering hamstring injury.
Jones was listed as questionable coming to the afternoon and has been a game-time choice. He didn’t practice all week and played with only 15 snaps during last Monday night’s 30-16 loss at Green Bay.
The 31-year-old Jones first tweaked his left hamstring in training camp, then strained it during a Week 2 loss at Dallas. He had been inactive for another game against the Chicago Bears before returning to face the Packers. Jones stayed in the locker room after halftime from Green Bay since the accident prevented him from continuing.
Jones has had nagging injuries during his career but normally fights throughout them. He missed a single game last year because of a shoulder injury.
Without Jones in the lineup, the Falcons will rely upon Calvin Ridley as the best receiver using Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus, Christian Blake, along with Brandon Powell behind him. High-end Hayden Hurst also may be a variable.
Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter talked Friday about conducting the crime without Jones.
“You are taking one of the greatest players of all time from your lineup, so it isn’t likely to be the same,” Koetter said. “There is no way it may be exactly the same. But we are extremely confident in [Zaccheaus] with Russ Gage. And another man is Christian Blake. You saw when these men played in the second half last week they’d production.
“No team wishes to take an elite player from this sport. That is a challenge simply because these guys like Julio make bids which you don’t want. That is something that these other men would like to perform, but they simply have not shown that yet.”
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The winless Falcons (0-4) will try to prevent an 0-5 start for the first time since the 1997 season.