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Dan Quinn: Falcons need to get Julio Jones more touches

Running more plays and getting Julio Jones more touches is a priority for the Falcons. Jason Getz/USA Today Sports

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- A reporter asked Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn on Monday if he is satisfied with how much All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones is getting the ball.

"No, and the reason I say that is that he's such a factor," Quinn said. "We've got to get more possessions, more time, more plays. And I think that's more a byproduct of getting Julio the ball more. It's not where he needs the ball more. We need more plays so he can get the ball more."

Quinn's reference had a lot to do with Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins, a game in which the Falcons ran 56 offensive plays compared to 64 for the Dolphins. Atlanta ran just 23 plays in the second half.

The Falcons averaged 62.5 plays per game through the first four games.

"It's not example of we're comfortable with playing plays in the 50s," Quinn said. "We need more plays and better stops to create more opportunities to make plays."

Jones leads the Falcons with 25 catches for 367 yards but has no touchdowns through five games. He has 38 targets, which is tied for 32nd among all players, tight ends and running backs included. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown leads the league with 72 targets.

Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said before the season that he would try to find more ways to get Jones the ball in the red zone. However, Jones has just one target and no catches on 11 routes run in the red zone this season.

In the loss to the Dolphins, Jones caught six passes for 72 yards on seven targets. Tight end Austin Hooper led the team with seven catches (48 yards) on nine targets. Jones played 45 of 57 offensive snaps -- by design -- coming off a hip flexor injury suffered in a Week 4 loss to Buffalo.

Asked if he thought Jones had full explosion back coming off the injury, Quinn said, "I did. ... I thought his aggression, his style, was really on display (Sunday). And I thought it was a vintage game for him in terms of the aggressiveness that he goes to catch it. So, it was a great to have him back."

Jones, however, was not targeted on the Falcons' final drive, which ended with Matt Ryan being picked off by Dolphins safety Reshad Jones on a pass intended to Hooper and tipped into Jones' hands by teammate Cordrea Tankersley. It was a play Quinn said Hooper should have attacked more aggressively.

Quinn emphasized that Jones is the primary go-to guy in such late-game scenarios, despite Sunday's end result.

"He's our guy," Quinn said of Jones. "He's 100 percent our guy. But wherever the coverage takes you, there's time where, 'No, you can't do that.' They're going to say, 'He's not going to beat us on this play.' And so then, that might not be the time to do it.

"But there's times that it is, even if he's got two (defenders) on him. On that particular one, it wasn't. That's certainly wouldn't be what I would want to discuss with you today to say, 'Every time we have a got-to-have-it moment, we're going to throw it to Julio Jones.'"

Jones and the Falcons have a Super Bowl rematch at New England on Sunday night. He had four catches for 87 yards and no touchdowns on four targets in the 34-28 overtime Super Bowl LI loss to the Patriots.