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Even Brian Urlacher is eager for Falcons' Deion Jones to return


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http://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/33383/even-brian-urlachers-eager-for-falcons-deion-jones-to-return

 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones has picked up quite a few fans during his 32-game NFL stint.

Brian Urlacher is among them.

Urlacher, the Hall of Fame middle linebacker who starred for the Chicago Bears, didn't hold back on the superlatives when discussing Jones' likely return to the lineup from early-season foot surgery.

"That's a bad mother f-----," Urlacher said of Jones. "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."

The Falcons (4-5) would love to watch Jones makes plays rather than run ladder drills on a side field. Coach Dan Quinn reiterated Monday that the team will take things "step by step" with Jones despite Jones being eligible to return off IR for Sunday's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys (4-5). Quinn said he won't put Jones back out there until Jones' repaired broken right foot is completely healed. But the return of Jones would be critical for the Falcons' playoff hopes, with the NFC picture far from undecided.

The Falcons' struggling defense sorely needs him. A 28-16 loss to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns emphasized how much the Falcons miss Jones in the middle of the field. Speed erases mistakes, and Jones is a 4.38 40-yard dash guy who could track down a running back before a 92-yard touchdown. He has developed into a solid tackler, and missed tackles have been a glaring issue for the Falcons. Plus, Jones knows how to find the ball with seven career interceptions -- including two pick-sixes -- and a forced fumble.

If Jones returns this week, he'll be counted upon to help slow down Ezekiel Elliott, the league's second-leading rusher with 831 ground yards. If Jones doesn't return until the Thanksgiving night showdown against his hometown New Orleans Saints, then he'll give Drew Brees something to think about, with three interceptions of Brees in four meetings. Not to mention the Falcons had trouble defending running backs out of the backfield such as Carolina's Christian McCaffrey (14 catches, 102 yards) and New Orleans' Alvin Kamara (15 catches, 124 yards), something Jones could help minimize the second time around with his coverage skills

"I know Deion as a person and I know he wants to be out there with us," fellow linebacker De'Vondre Campbell said. "The fact that he can't be, it kills him. I let him know, 'Maybe this was a sign from God that you needed this rest.'

 

"Him coming back, that's huge for your defense in general. He's the captain of the defense. He's the Mike. He's does some things really well that not a lot of people can do. Just having him back is going to be huge in general."

Said pass-rusher Vic Beasley Jr.: "It's going to be awesome to get Deion back. He's a great player, a great leader for our team. We're looking forward to having him back and we're excited for him."

The Falcons enter Sunday's Dallas game ranked second-to-last in the league in third-down defense (51.9 percent conversion rate), yards allowed per play (6.54), and yards allowed per rush (5.19). They lost starting safeties Keanu Neal (ACL) and Ricardo Allen (Achilles) to season-ending injuries, and Jones hasn't played since the season opener in Philadelphia.

The Falcons, who have placed six starters on IR, are allowed to designate two players to return. Jones' return appears imminent, and the Falcons could bring back two-time Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman from groin surgery for the Carolina game (Dec. 23).

 

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5 minutes ago, Falcanuck said:

Deion will help tremendously with covering RBs out of the backfield, but unfortunately teams are completing passes as easily as checkdowns to WRs outside on the Falcons. 

Look for Marquand Manuel to adjust his coverages now that he has Debo back.

Probably play more man now and let the pass rushers get after the QB.

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13 minutes ago, Kung Fu Kenny said:

Look for Marquand Manuel to adjust his coverages now that he has Debo back.

Probably play more man now and let the pass rushers get after the QB.

Lol ...The only good player we have in the secondary is Kazee. Trufant and Alford are trash. I dont even know who else plays back there

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1 hour ago, KRUNKuno said:

I’d like to believe that Jones can help, but Trufant and Alford are playing so badly, and our pass rush is nonexistent.  This defense is in complete shambles, and it’s deeper than just one player.

This one player would have been plenty to change the outcome of the Saints and Bengals games. In both games we literally just needed one more play to be made. He is good for one more play a game than our next best option. I'm sure of it. 

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