"Can it be done? It's a possibility," Jones told ESPN. "It definitely can be done. I mean, Calvin Johnson was close. He had, what, 1,900-something? So, he was right there. So, who knows?"
Jones, now fully healthy following March foot surgery, enters the season with a chance to surpass 1,400 receiving yards for the fourth consecutive season. His 1,871 yards on 136 catches in 2015 marked the second-highest single-season total in NFL history. Johnson, formerly of the Detroit Lions, set the NFL record with 1,964 yards on 122 catches in 2012.
"I don't think about yardage. It's all for fun," Jones said. "It's definitely for fun. They obviously want to see somebody do [2,000] because, obviously, it's never been done. And it's a lot of talk about it. Any guy of my caliber, you know, can potentially put up those numbers. But at the end of the day, we're one game at a time. Whatever the defense gives us, we're going to take it."
Jones had 1,409 yards on 83 receptions last season, averaging 17 yards per catch. He also missed two games with a toe injury and was hobbled for the last two regular-season games going into the playoffs. It's fair to wonder if Jones would have reached 2,000 had he remained healthy.
Jones hasn't specifically talked to Johnson about the 2,000-yard plateau, but they've spoken.
"I've seen him one time before his charity bowling event, but we never talked about as far as success," Jones said. "It's just a respect thing. When you play the game, you obviously respect guys, especially that have played at that level like Calvin played: a bigger receiver, faster receiver making plays."
Quietly, Jones' teammates would love to see him be the first receiver to 2,000.
"If somebody is going to do it, it's definitely going to be him," cornerback Desmond Trufant said of Jones. "He's definitely one of the best receivers I've ever seen. So, that would be dope."
Jones, reigning MVP Matt Ryan, and the high-powered Falcons' offense begin the season at Chicago on Sunday against a banged-up Bears secondary that could be without Prince Amukamara (ankle). New Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said he would like to see Jones more involved in the red zone after just four catches and two touchdowns on eight red zone targets last season.
Bears defensive back Marcus Cooper could be the guy who draws the assignment covering Jones in man situations, although the Falcons have other pass-catching weapons such as Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, Austin Hooper and Justin Hardy. They also have two pass-catching running backs -- Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.