Julio Jones injury compounds Atlanta's woes

Atlanta Falcons

The potentially season ending injury to Julio Jones is just the tip of the iceberg as the Falcons struggle

Monday night's defeat to the New York Jets appeared to bring the curtain down on the Atlanta Falcons' season after just five weeks of the NFL season.

Despite Matt Ryan leading the Falcons to a one point lead with two minutes to play, Geno Smith led the Jets down the field for Nick Folk to kick the game winning field goal, clinching a 30-28 win for Rex Ryan's side.

And as if things couldn't get bad enough for Mike Smith's Atlanta, they now have to contend with the news that star wide receiver Julio Jones could be out for the rest of the season with what ESPN's John Clayton reports could be a lisfranc injury.

The injuries are piling up on offense for Atlanta, with running back Steven Jackson and their other big name wide receiver Roddy White sustaining hamstring injuries. With a 1-4 record and their playmakers dropping like flies, is there anything left in the tank for the Falcons?

The injury to Jones is a huge blow, particularly when you consider that the injury has been sustained to the same foot that be broke just a day after his Combine workout in 2011, and there are legitimate concerns that the injury could prove to be a nagging distraction for the 24 year old who has been a star since being drafted out of Alabama.

With just Harry Douglas, Drew Davis and Kevin Cone on the wide receiver depth chart, the Falcons are in a spot of bother for the rest of the season. Rumours of a trade for Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns have been shot down, but expect general manager Thomas Dimitroff to make some sort of move in order to strengthen his team, even though the chances of the Falcons making the playoffs are slim to non-existent at this point.

It's something of a shock to see last year's beaten NFC Championship team struggling, but there are many factors that have played into their demise. Free agency saw a number of cap-cutting moves, which lost them a lot of talent. Right tackle Tyson Clabo, running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson all left the Falcons during the offseason, culling the team of a lot of talent.

It's been obvious that they have missed Clabo and Abraham, as both lines are struggling. The offensive line needs major reinforcements, whilst the lack of pass rush from Osi Umenyiora et al left Geno Smith will all day to dissect their defence on Monday.

Dimitroff has earned a reputation for being one of the top GM's in the NFL, and now he's going to have to prove it, with improvements needed across the board – both immediately and in the near future.

image: © emeryjl