“For me, it’s more so I’m a veteran; I’ve been doing this,” Jones said. “I don’t need preseason to get ready. It’s a mentality thing. As long as I get my reps in practice — I practice the way I play. Once I get my reps in, I’ll be ready to go.”
Jones, who had a bunion removed from his foot in January, has spent most of training camp rehabbing on a side field alongside teammate Deion Jones (foot). The Falcons have five preseason games, starting with Thursday’s Hall of Fame matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Jones isn’t worried about establishing chemistry with quarterback Matt Ryan heading into the regular-season opener at Minnesota on Sept. 8.
“I get reps with Matt every day,” Jones said. “We go inside, we throw. We do all the things that we need to do. It’s not like I need to be out there every day with Matt to get my timing down. He knows where I’m going to be; I know where he’s going to put the ball at.”
Falcons coach Dan Quinn confirmed the Falcons planned to take it easy with Jones during the preseason games.
“There’s probably only one that I would probably say you’ll probably see less of in the preseason,” Quinn said, referring to Jones. “You probably saw less of him in last year’s one, and not much of him the year before’s one.”
Quinn said Jones continues to go through night walkthroughs while doing some light individual work early in practice. The next step is for Jones to run some routes in 7-on-7 drills. The team will add different markers each week to work him up to full practice and get Jones’ conditioning set for the regular season.
Jones previously said he’s in “no rush” in terms of securing a new contract as his agent, Jimmy Sexton, continues to negotiate with the team. The sides had to wait until July 27 before reaching a new deal based on a CBA rule which states a player can’t be given a new contract until 12 months after he signed the previous renegotiation.
Jones still has two years and more than $21 million left on his current deal.
Team owner Arthur Blank promised Jones a new contract, and Jones said he trusts Blank’s word. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jones’ new deal materialize after another top receiver, such as New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas, sets the market first.