Falcons HC Arthur Smith on Julio Jones: 'I don't worry about players I never coached'

Before he even got to his first mandatory minicamp as an NFL head coach, Arthur Smith watched his club trade Hall of Fame talent, Julio Jones, to Tennessee, his former employer.

The new Atlanta Falcons head coach said his focus isn't on what he lost in the Jones trade, but rather the men on his squad.

"My concern is the guys we've got on this roster," he said. "I've dealt with a lot of different situations week to week in my experience in Tennessee. It doesn't matter. They're gonna roll the ball out there, we're gonna kick off, there's gonna be a game to play. Our objective is to go win. No different than what (we were) dealing with the COVID issue last year with Buffalo. We had four wideouts out that game. My job as a coach was to get us prepared to play and we'll do whatever we have to do to win that game. That's kind of how I look at it."

Smith dismissed the idea that the Falcons will be less successful on offense after the trade.

"I don't worry about players I never coached," he said.

The Falcons had been discussing the possibility of trading Jones for weeks and months, so the idea that he might enter the season without the star wideout isn't new to Smith. His response to move on is about the only path to take for the new coach.

The Falcons will roll with Calvin Ridley, a rising star in his own right, as the No. 1 WR with Russell Gage playing second fiddle. With Jones gone, rookie tight end Kyle Pitts should play an even more prominent role than initially projected.

If anything, the Jones trade underscored that 2021 is likely going to be a rebuilding year in Smith's first season steering the ship.

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