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PFF shows the insane importance of Deion Jones to Falcons defense

Deion Jones, Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons had a pretty bad 2018 regular season for their standards. After two straight seasons of postseason appearances, the Falcons finished 7-9 and missed out on the playoffs, thanks to some poor play and a litany of injuries along the team.

One of those injuries came to linebacker Deion Jones, who missed most of the season with a foot injury. According to Pro Football Focus, that injury could have cost them a lot.

In a new breakdown from the analytics company, Connor Price breaks down exactly why Jones is so important to the Falcons defense, and it starts with his incredible ability to stay in coverage with receivers.

Not only is Jones known for being able to play the middle of the field well, but his natural ability to break on passes and make plays in the open field is widely regarded.

In 2017 – when Jones and many other Falcons players were healthy – the Falcons maintained an 87.6 team defense grade and a 91.0 coverage grade from PFF, both good enough to be in the top eight of the league. With Jones and others out in 2018, the Falcons dropped to 19th and 25th in overall and coverage grades.

According to PFF, when Jones played in 2018, Falcons opponents completed just 72.4% of passes with an average of 92.3 passer rating. When he was out during last year, those numbers exploded, with opponents completing 88.4% of passes for a whopping 124.3 passer rating.

Obviously, this shows just crucial Jones’ skillset is to the Falcons, and with the team already having a somewhat thin linebacker group, his injury was simply too much to overcome.

Thankfully, Jones’ injury seemed to heal up rather quickly, and he was able to come back late last year.

With his injury concerns hopefully behind him, Jones will now look to make his mark in 2019 once again, and lead a Falcons defense back into the upper echelon of groups as the team looks to make another Super Bowl run.