Tim Mazetti

Julio Still Productive In Seven Years? T.O. Did it.

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https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/7/17/20693618/what-the-history-of-wide-receiver-aging-can-tell-us-about-julio-jones-terrell-owens-randy-moss

How elite receivers age and what it might mean for Julio Jones

Julio’s one-of-a-kind, but we can still get a good idea of when he’s likely to decline.

By Dave Choate Jul 17, 2019, 3:00pm EDT

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The question on many peoples’ minds as we edge closer to a new contract for Julio Jones is this: How long can he keep doing this, and will he remain one of the NFL’s best receivers through another deal and perhaps beyond?

Answering that question for Julio, who is a wizard who works exceptionally hard to take care of himself and has physical tools that we rarely see, is a tough one. The best we can really do is look at the history of receivers aging, when their decline tends to hit, and what some future or current Hall of Famers comparable to Julio managed to do. Let’s do that now, ahead of what will hopefully be a shortly announced extension for #11.

When does a decline set in?

It goes without saying that there’s variability here, but the average decline phase for a wide receiver begins at 28 and is in rapid freefall if that player is still going at 34. Most receivers are cooked by the age of 34, and for every Jerry Rice playing at a reasonably high level at age 40, there’s dozens of receivers who enjoy their last great year between 32-34. That was true for Isaac Bruce (age 34), Tim Brown (34, though he had another nice year at 35), Marvin Harrison (34), Reggie Wayne (34), and so on. Larry Fitzgerald is still doing terrific work for the Cardinals and is limited by his quarterback situation, but his last “great” year (more than 10 yards per reception, more than 6 TDs, 75% catch rate) by his standards came when he was 32. Guys like Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Andre Reed saw real decline hit around age 32.

Wide receivers age much more gracefully than many other positions, however, and there’s considerable variability to discuss here. Receivers are playing longer and better thanks to advances in medicine, conditioning, and the evolution of the game in a direction that leads to them taking fewer hard hits, and in the last 20 years we’ve begun to see more receivers stretch it out a little more if they can avoid major injuries.

What does that mean for Julio?

No one knows how long Jones wants to play. He’s coming into his age 30 season on pace to etch his name in the record books, and no doubt he’s hungry to win a Super Bowl like so many of his teammates. But there’s no guarantee that if he signs a four or five year extension that he’ll choose to play through the end of it, given that he’s a guy with a lot of irons in the fire.

Let’s assume he does, though, both because he’s chasing records and he’ll hopefully be playing at a high level through the life of the contract. Will he still be Julio by the end of it?

First of all, we should start by saying there’s no sign that Julio is declining. At age 29 in 2018, he posted the third-best catch rate of his career, the second-highest yardage, and tied for the second highest number of touchdown receptions. He is an elite talent whose hands and route running figure to help him age well, even if the stellar physical tools start to disappear over time. There’s no reason to think that’s going to happen before, say, the age 32 season where many Hall of Famers of yore saw the decline hit.

At that point, Julio will be in his third year of his new deal, whatever form it might take. If the precipitous decline sets in at 34 as it has for still others, it’ll likely be in the final year of Julio’s deal, allowing he and the Falcons to take stock of what’s next

But there’s one specific players that I think Julio is probably looking to emulate, and he likely represents a best-case scenario

Terrell Owens

Why is Julio Jones spending so much time with Terrell Owens, who is regarded by some fans as a prima donna? It may have something to do with his legendary fitness and longevity as an NFL receiver, as he wrapped up at 37 still playing really well.

Owens wasn’t quite the same guy after 34, just like Moss, as his catch percentages began to drop and his overall numbers took an according hit. He still finished his final, age 37 season with 72 receptions for 983 yards and seven touchdowns, phenomenal numbers for guys under 30 and eye-popping for him. Owens achieved this by having a well-rounded skill set and keeping himself in phenomenal shape, though having a chip on his shoulder at all times probably didn’t hurt.

Owens is the best-case scenario for Julio as a truly elite receiver who overcame some injury issues in his early 30s to remain a terrific player up until the end. If Julio’s still going at 37, he’s a slam dunk Hall of Famer, but he’s also going to be able to help this football team win a lot more games. Let’s hope it happens.

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Good stuff, thanks for the article!

Julio ain't human.  Wouldn't shock me at all to see him still producing in his mid to late 30's and the TO point is a good one.  TO still looks like he can lace them up, dude knows how to take care of his body.

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3 minutes ago, athell said:

Good stuff, thanks for the article!

Julio ain't human.  Wouldn't shock me at all to see him still producing in his mid to late 30's and the TO point is a good one.  TO still looks like he can lace them up, dude knows how to take care of his body.

Julio has some very rare gifts, indeed. Working with T.O., according to the article and past reads, is a good sign.

The Falcons' (TD.) did a great job in drafting him.

Agreed that he can play as long as he thinks he can in a team environment. Imagine a 23 year old CB lining up opposite him when he is 37 and a slam dunk HOFer. CBs are confident, BUT.

He is the Falcons' second HOFer, after Nobis?

Flyin' In DC, Ergo Proxy and athell like this

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3 minutes ago, Tim Mazetti said:

Julio has some very rare gifts, indeed. Working with T.O., according to the article and past reads, is a good sign.

The Falcons' (TD.) did a great job in drafting him.

Agreed that he can play as long as he thinks he can in a team environment. Imagine a 23 year old CB lining up opposite him when he is 37 and a slam dunk HOFer. CBs are confident, BUT.

He is the Falcons' second HOFer, after Nobis?

I think Claude Humphrey and Deion Sanders are the only falcon HOFers rn. Falcon drafted anyway. 

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8 minutes ago, Atlantafan21 said:

I think Claude Humphrey and Deion Sanders are the only falcon HOFers rn. 

Thank you.

Dang, I thought Nobis was in. Forgot about Humphrey.

PrimeTime went in as a Bird? Great.

I found this: https://bloggingdirty.com/2018/08/01/many-atlanta-falcons-hall-fame/

Here is the list of every former Atlanta player that has been enshrined in Canton.

  1. Tommy McDonald: played with the club for only one season (1967)
  2. Morten Anderson: had two stretches with Atlanta, first from 1995-2000 and second from 2006-2007
  3. Eric Dickerson: the legendary running back only played one forgettable season with the club (1993) before being traded off to the Green Bay Packers
  4. Deion Sanders: played the early years of his career with the Dirty Birds (1989-1993)
  5. Claude Humphrey: played for the Falcons longer than any other hall of fame player (1968-1978)
  6. Chris Doleman: the former defensive end had a short stint in Atlanta (1994-1995) but made every moment count
  7. Brett Favre: hard to call this gunslinger a former Falcon after only played in 4 games for Atlanta during the 1991 season
  8. Bobby Beathard: served as a scout for the Falcons from 1968-1971. The teams he worked for played in a combined seven super bowls, winning four.

But like you mentioned, I consider only Deion and Claude.

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24 minutes ago, Tim Mazetti said:

 

  1. Brett Favre: hard to call this gunslinger a former Falcon after only played in 4 games for Atlanta during the 1991 season

Oh yeah, technically Favre was falcon drafted as well. So we got 3 lol. 

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1 hour ago, Atlantafan21 said:

I think Claude Humphrey and Deion Sanders are the only falcon HOFers rn. Falcon drafted anyway. 

It’s a ******* travesty Nobis isn’t in HOF. I saw him play, he was a HOF caliber player just as much as R Lewis/D Butkus /M Singletary were.   Shame on falcon organization (looking at you, Rich McKay) in not setting this wrong right!

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1 hour ago, athell said:

Good stuff, thanks for the article!

Julio ain't human.  Wouldn't shock me at all to see him still producing in his mid to late 30's and the TO point is a good one.  TO still looks like he can lace them up, dude knows how to take care of his body.

Yeah, I think he's Jerry Rice, someone who was still a factor at 40. I believe it's more likely that Julio walks away before his skills go into serious decline.

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1 hour ago, Beast-N-Da-Sheetz said:

Can't see him doing another 7 yrs at a high level. Would be nice and hopefully I'm wrong tho.

His extension will be a starting point. But like T.O. if he keeps gaming why not?

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He relies too much on athleticism which does go away. I love Julio but I think he’ll be cooked at 34 just like the rest of those guys. Maybe 35-36 if he stays on the TO fitness program. 

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42 minutes ago, Tim Mazetti said:

His extension will be a starting point. But like T.O. if he keeps gaming why not?

It's possible and he is a freak athlete who's always in immaculate shape and conditioning but I wouldn't bet on it. Two injuries that usually cut careers short or either catch up with you, are Feet and Back. And Julio been having foot issues since college. If I had to guess, I'd give Julio 3 great/good yrs before tailing off. Once again I hope like heII that I'm wrong.

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8 hours ago, Vandy said:

It’s a ******* travesty Nobis isn’t in HOF. I saw him play, he was a HOF caliber player just as much as R Lewis/D Butkus /M Singletary were.   Shame on falcon organization (looking at you, Rich McKay) in not setting this wrong right!

Definitely. Tuggle and Mike Kenn should be HOFers too, but sadly they’ll likely never get in. 

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9 hours ago, Tim Mazetti said:

Julio has some very rare gifts, indeed. Working with T.O., according to the article and past reads, is a good sign.

The Falcons' (TD.) did a great job in drafting him.

Agreed that he can play as long as he thinks he can in a team environment. Imagine a 23 year old CB lining up opposite him when he is 37 and a slam dunk HOFer. CBs are confident, BUT.

He is the Falcons' second HOFer, after Nobis?

But some on here think Julio missing OTAs and working out with TO are not good for the team lol.

 

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5 hours ago, Beast-N-Da-Sheetz said:

It's possible and he is a freak athlete who's always in immaculate shape and conditioning but I wouldn't bet on it. Two injuries that usually cut careers short or either catch up with you, are Feet and Back. And Julio been having foot issues since college. If I had to guess, I'd give Julio 3 great/good yrs before tailing off. Once again I hope like heII that I'm wrong.

This is pretty much what I was going to say. Recovery methods have developed but those foot issues concern me. I hope he plays for many years yet but I would be planning to get 3-4 more years at best.

I still think they drafted Ridley with him replacing Julio eventually.

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12 hours ago, Beast-N-Da-Sheetz said:

Can't see him doing another 7 yrs at a high level. Would be nice and hopefully I'm wrong tho.

Agreed.   I want Julio to play as long as he wants but hard to see Julio gutting through the seemingly constant nagging issues for another 7 years.  I could certainly see another three or four quality years going all out like he does.  Body will only let you sacrifice for the team so much.

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50 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

I doubt JJ's feet hold up that long. JJ always has some foot issue he is dealing with.

A toe/bunion/ligament, a broken foot to start his career that needed to be redone after the screw snapped that was put in and was too small to begin with years later... Julio hasn’t really had constant foot issues. He may have trained too hard and learned to adjust. It hasn’t stopped him from posting his second best season at age 29. Even if he slows down, he will be amazing possession receiver when Calvin Ridley starts demanding more attention. 

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1 hour ago, droopy1592 said:

Even if he slows down, he will be amazing possession receiver when Calvin Ridley starts demanding more attention. 

Good point.

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15 hours ago, Tim Mazetti said:

Thank you.

Dang, I thought Nobis was in. Forgot about Humphrey.

PrimeTime went in as a Bird? Great.

I found this: https://bloggingdirty.com/2018/08/01/many-atlanta-falcons-hall-fame/

Here is the list of every former Atlanta player that has been enshrined in Canton.

  1. Tommy McDonald: played with the club for only one season (1967)
  2. Morten Anderson: had two stretches with Atlanta, first from 1995-2000 and second from 2006-2007
  3. Eric Dickerson: the legendary running back only played one forgettable season with the club (1993) before being traded off to the Green Bay Packers
  4. Deion Sanders: played the early years of his career with the Dirty Birds (1989-1993)
  5. Claude Humphrey: played for the Falcons longer than any other hall of fame player (1968-1978)
  6. Chris Doleman: the former defensive end had a short stint in Atlanta (1994-1995) but made every moment count
  7. Brett Favre: hard to call this gunslinger a former Falcon after only played in 4 games for Atlanta during the 1991 season
  8. Bobby Beathard: served as a scout for the Falcons from 1968-1971. The teams he worked for played in a combined seven super bowls, winning four.

But like you mentioned, I consider only Deion and Claude.

NFL Hall of Fame players don't go in under any given team's name. That's just a baseball thing. 

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16 hours ago, athell said:

Good stuff, thanks for the article!

Julio ain't human.  Wouldn't shock me at all to see him still producing in his mid to late 30's and the TO point is a good one.  TO still looks like he can lace them up, dude knows how to take care of his body.

TO's feet weren't held together with rivets and Legos though.  

Jones' wheels won't be able to make it that long I'm afraid.  He plays hurt a lot as it is, I can't see him enduring that many more years at a high enough level.  

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1 hour ago, droopy1592 said:

A toe/bunion/ligament, a broken foot to start his career that needed to be redone after the screw snapped that was put in and was too small to begin with years later... Julio hasn’t really had constant foot issues. He may have trained too hard and learned to adjust. It hasn’t stopped him from posting his second best season at age 29. Even if he slows down, he will be amazing possession receiver when Calvin Ridley starts demanding more attention. 

JJ still has foot/ankle issues and even has issues during games. I don't think an off season or multiple stretch of games go bye where we don't here about it and him taking plays off due to this.

I do not think he will hold up due to this into has mid to late 30's

This isn't about his stats right now this thread is about his longevity and I think eventually all these little foot issues he always has catches up with him

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7 minutes ago, octoslash said:

TO's feet weren't held together with rivets and Legos though.  

Jones' wheels won't be able to make it that long I'm afraid.  He plays hurt a lot as it is, I can't see him enduring that many more years at a high enough level.  

See droopy's reply above.  Julio's foot issues are vastly overrated here.

Also all football players play hurt.  That is not singular to Julio.

Granted, his body could very well shut down but of all things to worry about, his foot is not among them for me.  He had corrective procedures done, he should be set.

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32 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

JJ still has foot/ankle issues and even has issues during games. I don't think an off season or multiple stretch of games go bye where we don't here about it and him taking plays off due to this.

I do not think he will hold up due to this into has mid to late 30's

This isn't about his stats right now this thread is about his longevity and I think eventually all these little foot issues he always has catches up with him

He was injured last year and still had the second most yards of his career. Other than when he rebroke his foot and missing a few games here and there due to his toe, when has he really missed games due to injury? I played years reinjuring my ankle and hammies yet I’m 42 still balling like a late 20 year old in FF. It’s not that simple. We really don’t know.  People don’t realize how strong he is for his size and that puts stress on his body but he’s not having Todd Gurley like issues or even slowing down when others would have shown some decline. Julio will still be a threat at 37. He’s not that injury prone. 

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