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. “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 not dropped more than two straight regular season games in six seasons under Smith.
Offensively, Atlanta has faltered late in potential game-winning situations.
Defensively, the Falcons have given up late leads.
“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 healthy seasons under Smith, Atlanta has been bombarded with injuries.
Losing Jones only makes conditions worse. Jones, the No. 6 overall draft pick of 2011, leads the NFL with 41 catches and ranks second with 580 yards receiving.
Without Jones, White and Jackson, quarterback Matt Ryan has but one elite playmaker, tight end Tony Gonzalez, who’s healthy.
“Every team has injuries, and we will not allow that to be an excuse,” Smith said. “We’re going to look at a lot of things, and nothing is sacred in terms of whether it’s scheme, whether it’s personnel – we’ve got to evaluate everything,”