FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Nearly every time Julio Jones reports to work, the second-year Atlanta receiver seeks out position coach Terry Robiskie.
Their ongoing dialogue started at training camp two years ago and hasn’t let up.
Jones wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Terry isn’t going to sugarcoat anything,” Jones said on Friday. “If you mess up, you mess up, but he’s going to show you how to correct it and what you need to look for.”
It’s not hard to see why Jones credits Robiskie with helping him make the NFC Pro Bowl squad in December. On the sideline during games and at practice, Jones is likely standing next to his coach constantly to ask questions and get advice.
Their conversations are give-and-take, but both men say that it’s never to the extent that Jones complains about being misunderstood.
Rather, Robiskie wants to know exactly what Jones sees before the snap and what his reason is for the technique he uses to create separation from a cornerback.
It’s a formula that’s worked well for the Falcons (13-3) heading into their divisional playoff game against Seattle (12-5) on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Jones, 23, has become the deep-ball threat that Atlanta needed before general manager Thomas Dimitroff traded up 21 spots to draft him sixth overall two years ago.
The numbers are impressive considering that only Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, a former Georgia Tech standout, and Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson have more catches of 25 yards or more than Jones’ 27 since the start of last season.
This year, Jones leads the Falcons with 10 touchdown catches, and he and Roddy White comprised one of four two-man tandems to each have at least 1,000 yards receiving.
For Robiskie, it’s fun to work with a “coachable player like Julio.”
He says the three seasons that Jones spent at Alabama, helping coach Nick Saban win his first national title with the Crimson Tide, gave him the kind of humility that Robiskie values.
“By the same token, Roddy’s been with me for five years now and even when I got here (in 2008), he felt that he had all the answers anyway,” Robiskie said with a laugh. “He already feels he’s got it all unless someone jacks him up and chokes him a little bit. But I don’t have to talk to him as much. With Julio, I have to talk to him all the time because I’ve still got to focus on what I need to do from this to this to this.”
Notes: DE John Abraham (ankle) was limited in practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday. ... Reserve S Charles Mitchell (calf) is also questionable. ... SS William Moore (hamstring) fully participated in practice for the first time in five weeks. He and CB Dunta Robinson (head) are both listed as probable. ... After losing David Caldwell to become the general manager with Jacksonville, Dimitroff promoted Lionel Vital to replace him as director of player personnel. Vital is in his fifth season with Atlanta, 22nd overall in the NFL.