Julio Jones vows his sore right hamstring is no cause for alarm.
The two-time Atlanta Pro Bowl receiver missed practice Thursday for the second straight day, but promises to be in the starting lineup when the Falcons (1-0) visit the New York Giants (0-1).
Coach Dan Quinn added there’s “zero” chance Jones will miss the game.
That’s good news for the Falcons.
Jones, who caught nine passes for 141 yards and two first-half touchdowns against Philadelphia, is one of the NFL’s elite players at his position.
After tweaking the hamstring, Jones’ snaps were limited in the second half, but he still caught a 44-yard pass — the game’s longest play — to set up the winning field goal.
“By me being able to go back out there, it wasn’t that serious,” Jones said. “It’s just precautionary. I’m going be ready to go.”
The Giants are coming off a last-minute loss at Dallas after they allowed 72 yards on six passes on the winning drive.
As Philadelphia’s cornerbacks found out last week, cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara might have some difficult matchups against Jones.
At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he has the size and strength to run through jams at the line of scrimmage, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has designed plays that line up Jones at both outside receiver spots and in the slot. He also occasionally goes in motion before the snap.
“It helps us out that they don’t know where I’m going to line up at,” Jones said. “Kyle does a great job with that and making sure everyone knows the offense so he can move us around. “
Jones, who ranked among the league’s top three receivers last year in catches and yards receiving, has embraced having more versatility than he had under former coordinator Dirk Koetter.
It was something he had to earn during the offseason, but the farther he advanced, the more Quinn, a first-year head coach, talked about expanding his role in Shanahan’s scheme.
“For him, when you’re a great player, you’re great all the time,” Quinn said. “So he goes to another (level) in saying, ‘I’m ready to work and do the things that I have to do.’ Tons of respect for him and how he approaches the game.”
Jones is going about his business this year in the same soft-spoken manner he’s used since Atlanta drafted him No. 6 overall from Alabama in 2011.
Owner Arthur Blank has been so impressed with his performance on and off the field that he re-signed Jones to a new five-year contract last month that guaranteed $47.5 million and made him one of the game’s highest-paid players.
“I just want to be the best teammate,” Jones said. “I hate to let someone down and have myself (underperform) if I’m not getting the proper sleep, if I’m not eating right or I’m not studying. So I do all that to the best of my ability. Then when it’s show time, I just go out there and play.”
Notes: WR Devin Hester (toe), OLB Brooks Reed (groin), SS William Moore (illness) and DE Malliciah Goodman (elbow) missed practice. OLB O’Brien Schofield (hip) was a limited participant. LT Jake Matthews (back) and DE Adrian Clayborn (thumb) were full participants.