Falcons could lose Jones for season
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith sounded dismayed while discussing his team's latest major injury.
This time the bad news concerned Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones, who could miss the rest of the season after injuring his foot in Monday's 30-28 home loss to the New York Jets.
"He saw our doctors this morning," Smith said Tuesday. "He is going to have a second opinion tomorrow. The first reports were not encouraging, but we will wait and see what the second opinion comes back as."
Atlanta (1-4) heads into its bye week riding a three-game losing streak, a tough reality check for a team that's never dropped more than two straight regular season games in six seasons under Smith.
The Falcons' four losses have come by an average of 4.8 points, dropping the defending NFC South champions four games behind division-leading New Orleans.
Offensively, Atlanta has faltered late in potential game-winning situations at New Orleans and at home against New England. Defensively, the Falcons have given up late leads at Miami and against the Jets.
"We're disappointed," Smith said. "We're discouraged. I think we're living proof of how close games are in the NFL. It comes down to a handful of plays, and we haven't made them. In years past, we've been in games like these and we've made the plays."
After five relatively healthy seasons under Smith, Atlanta has been bombarded with injuries this year.
Running back Steven Jackson and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon have missed the last three games, and the team isn't sure when they will return.
Two starters, defensive end Kroy Biermann and fullback Bradie Ewing, were lost for the season in Week 1, and right tackle Mike Johnson's year ended in training camp.
Three other starters — Sam Baker, cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Akeem Dent — have missed significant time, too.
Two days after injuring his left hamstring, Michael Vick was back on the field Tuesday. He threw and jogged, though he didn't participate in team drills during practice.
Vick left late in the second quarter of Philadelphia's 36-21 win at the New York Giants after pulling his hamstring running out of bounds on a 13-yard scramble. Nick Foles came in and threw two touchdowns, sparking a debate over who should start for the Eagles (2-3) this week at Tampa Bay (0-4).
If Vick is healthy, he's the No. 1. But coach Chip Kelly left open the possibility that Foles could win the job if he plays and performs well.
Vick was excellent in the first two games, but his production dropped in the next three. He's thrown for 1,185 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, and has 307 yards rushing and two more scores.
Foles has 246 yards passing, three scores, zero interceptions and a 122.4 passer rating in parts of two games. A third-round pick last year, Foles was 1-5 as a starter last season after Vick sustained a concussion in November. His only win was on the road against the Buccaneers.