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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones won’t stand idle in the face of injustice.
In an interview with ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, Jones discussed how he’ll approach the situation should officials fail to whistle potential pass interference penalties in Saturday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks:
When we’re in a game, I’ll go look at them like that and say, ‘You didn’t see it?’ if they didn’t see it. I’m not going to sit up there and cry about anything. It is what it is. But you’ve got to alert them. Some refs just let you play, too. It’s like, ‘All right, you’re going to let us play? Then we’re going to go out here and play. If you’re going to call it, call it. Just let me know how you’re going to officiate this game.’
But if you grab me early, I’m going to let the ref know. And if they’re not calling it, it’s going to be a physical game.
Jones is taking a proactive step after a controversial non-call in the Falcons’ 26-24 defeat to the Seahawks in Week 6. On a 4th-and-10 with 1:30 in the fourth quarter, Sherman hooked Jones’ right arm as he attempted to make the catch. The turnover on downs effectively ended the game.
The NFL shared highlights of their head-to-head matchup, and the pivotal play comes at the 1:17 mark of the video below:
.@RSherman_25 vs. @juliojones_11
Week 6 Highlights 👇 #ATLvsSEA https://t.co/lnuEKpJia9
— NFL (@NFL) October 17, 2016
While Sherman should’ve been called for pass interference, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio spoke to a source who had a strong knowledge of the NFL rulebook. The source said Jones was guilty of illegal hands to the face when he slapped Sherman’s helmet at the start of the play, so neither party was fully innocent.
Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard was noncommittal when asked whether Sherman will line up against Jones Saturday.
“It’s tempting,” Richard said, per Gregg Bell of the News Tribune. “But we’re not too sure.”
Considering the stakes of this weekend’s matchup, as well as Jones’ ability, it would be foolish not to have Sherman shadow the Pro Bowl wideout for at least large stretches of the game.
Jones had seven receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown in Seattle’s win earlier in the year, so his performance Saturday won’t single-handedly swing the result of the game. But the Falcons will have a much harder time advancing to the NFC Championship Game if Matt Ryan can’t consistently hook up with his best receiver.