clear
Sunday May 3rd, 2015 11:58PM

White, Jones expect big results for Falcons

By The Associated Press
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Roddy White and Julio Jones believe they can become the NFL's top receiving tandem.

That's not to say White and Jones are promising that success will come easily.

The Atlanta Falcons' offense is still a work in progress.

"Every year, I feel like if we don't win a playoff game, there's something I did wrong and there's more I've got to do," White said Thursday. "I'm just trying to find ways to win games and get us over the hump."

Entering his eighth season, White has reached several personal goals:

- In December, he became the eighth NFL receiver to catch at least 80 passes for 1,000 yards receiving in five consecutive years.

- He has led the NFC in catches for the past two seasons and has played in five straight Pro Bowls.

- White is the Falcons' career-leading wideout with 7,374 yards receiving.

White knows there's still room for improvement.

"I led the league in drops last year, so I've got to fix that problem," White said. "There's always things in your game that you can fix. Especially when it comes to route-running."

Jones is entering his second season. His numbers were respectable last season, but hamstring injuries to both legs sidelined him for three games.

It wasn't exactly the debut Jones had in mind after leaving Alabama as a junior and becoming the No. 6 overall draft pick.

Last year's lockout caused Jones to miss all of the customary offseason training activities and minicamps. He was coming off stress fracture surgery on his left foot, an injury that was discovered after the NFL combine.

Working last summer on a high school field with quarterback Matt Ryan helped Jones make good use of his free time during the lockout, though it hardly gave him a clear understanding of what to expect in his first season.

"I don't think I did that great last year," Jones said. "I started coming on at the end because me and Matt started getting our timing down and everything. I felt real good with the offense."

Jones showed flashes of his talent early in the season by becoming the first receiver since Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson in 2008 to post two straight 100-yard games.

After returning from a left hamstring injury, Jones had an impressive game at Indianapolis, catching three passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

He hurt his right hamstring the following week against New Orleans and missed another game. When he returned, Jones caught 24 passes for 461 yards and six touchdowns over the last five games and was selected NFL rookie of the month.

White knew Jones was beginning to show his potential. Eight days into training camp, White can sense a breakout season coming for his teammate.

"He's making a lot of plays out here," White said. "This is exactly what he needed. He needed to go through OTAs, and now that we're into training camp, he's real comfortable. He's going to be really good this year. I mean really, really special."

Jones was grateful last year when White, one of Atlanta's most brash and talkative players, was one of his first teammates to welcome him to the Falcons.

Now that they've had a full season together, Jones expects Atlanta's offense to blossom, particularly with tight end Tony Gonzalez returning for likely his final year and Harry Douglas improving as a No. 3 receiver.

"We can be great," Jones said. "The sky's the limit. We've just got to keep coming out here every day and getting better."

That could happen, but Falcons coach Mike Smith is pleased that White is working to improve his route running and concentration.

From 2009-11, White's 30 drops trailed only Brandon Marshall and Wes Welker for most in the NFL.

"There's going to be drops with the more opportunities you have to catch it," Smith said. "It's good that Roddy has taken a good, hard look at what he needs to improve on and that he feels like that's an area he needs to address."

Added White: "I talk to Coach, and if he doesn't like what I'm doing on certain routes, I try to change it up. That's what I'm doing right now and I'm trying to get better."
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Top 10 sports stories of the year: 2012 one for the history books
2012 has been all things to all people in the sports world. The last 12 months have run the gamut of emotions and given fans and spectators much to awe, rue and everything in between.
2:33PM ( 2 years ago )
College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta
Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the museum is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
2:15PM ( 2 years ago )
Sports
Williams, Horford pace Hawks past Indiana
Lou Williams had 21 points and a career-high 12 assists, Al Horford added 20 points and the Atlanta Hawks won their fourth straight, 109-100 over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
10:19PM ( 2 years ago )
Gwinnett wallops Greenville, 6-2
Five different Gladiators racked up multiple points, as Gwinnett dominated the Greenville Road Warriors 6-2 Saturday night at the BI-LO Center to move into a tie atop the South Division with Greenville.
10:05PM ( 2 years ago )
Teague leads Hawks past Cavaliers, 102-94
Jeff Teague scored a career-high 27 points and the Atlanta Hawks scored the game's final nine points to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 on Friday night.
10:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Professional Sports
Spring sports postseason reaches its busiest week
The spring sports postseason is picking up steam now...
1:00PM ( 13 hours from now )
Hawks go cold in 2nd half, drop Game 1 to Wizards
Bradley Beal shook off a sprained ankle to score 28 points and the Washington Wizards remained unbeaten in the postseason, knocking off the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 104-98 Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
By The Associated Press
6:34AM ( 6 hours from now )
Teheran dominant in shutout win for Braves
Julio Teheran gave up just three singles in six sharp innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 Sunday for a split of the four-game series.
By The Associated Press
4:38AM ( 4 hours from now )
No. 12 Nighthawks Wrap Regular Season with 23-9 Thrashing of Emmanuel
Senior day was quite special for the No. 12 University of North Georgia baseball team's senior class as seven of the eight UNG upperclassmen saw action with each offensive player getting at least one hit, four seniors smacking home runs and senior southpaw Phillip Taylor earning the victory on the mound as the Nighthawks downed Emmanuel, 23-9, Sunday afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium.
10:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. returns to Talladega victory lane
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. raced to his first Talladega victory since 2004 and punched his ticket into the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in a commanding performance in Sunday’s Geico 500.
By Pete McCole
7:51PM ( 4 hours ago )