Cris Carter: ‘In Atlanta, everything starts and ends with Julio Jones – He’s the best receiver in the NFL’

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Despite Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones' recent slump, Cris Carter still praises him as the best wide receiver in the NFL.

NICK WRIGHT: Why-- what do you make of the drop off in raw number production from last year Julio Jones to this year Julio Jones.

CRIS CARTER: But Julio-- first of all, Julio Jones is the best wide receiver in the NFL. If I'm starting a team and you tell me I can pick one wide receiver, that's who I'm picking. Not only because of his size, not only because he's 6' 3", 220, not because he runs a 4.3, not because he runs precise routes, not because he can play every wide receiver position, but because he's not a diva wide receiver.

He comes from Alabama. He's a regular football player. He loves to practice. He loves the game. So the only way is the sheer numbers. They're not targeting him as much, all right? They don't make him the focal point.

So we are a position that is subject to what they call the productivity of the quarterback in the offensive line. So that combination is the reason why Julio Jones is not having his typical year. But Julio Jones is the best wide receiver in the NFL.

NICK WRIGHT: I knew you felt that way. That's what I don't understand.

CRIS CARTER: The transition is from Shanahan, Kyle, going from coordinator to San Francisco, to Steve Sarkisian is not featuring Julio Jones, is not making him the a part of the offense the way he has been before.

JENNA WOLFE: But if he's all those things you said, which, you can't deny the fact that he is all those guys, that he's a big guy, he's a fast guy, he understands separation, he's a talented guy. He's had production, he's had success against this Panthers team, why don't you just feature him more? What am I missing?

NICK WRIGHT: I know it seems like a basic question. That's my question as well. If you've seen Sarkisian, there's--

JENNA WOLFE: Why would you not take the best guy in the game and feature him?

NICK WRIGHT: There's so many complicated things when you take over a team as an offensive coordinator. Especially when it's not like the previous offensive coordinator got fired. He got promoted, he did such a good job.


NICK WRIGHT: What is the part of this that I'm not seeing, where I would think, if I were Steve Sarkisian, the one thing I know is, guess what-- we're targeting Julio 10-15 times a game, every game. When we're in the red zone we are forcing the ball to him because he can-- his one touchdown of the year came on a bad pass and double coverage, but guess what. Julio went up and got it. So why is, why was that not the plan?

CRIS CARTER: I don't have all the answers, Nick.


CRIS CARTER: I don't know the reason why.

NICK WRIGHT: It doesn't make sense.

CRIS CARTER: In Atlanta, everything starts and ends with Julio Jones.