Don’t worry about Damarious Randall.
Randall may have missed out on playing one of the league’s most explosive offenses because of a groin injury, but he’ll return this week to face another team in the top five.
The Falcons will enter Sunday’s game tied for fourth in yards per play this season. And through the perils of an arduous schedule, the Browns have already played three (Chiefs, Steelers, Buccaneers) of the other four.
“I feel like each week has been a pretty good opponent that has stepped on the field with us,” Randall said. “I’m not sure how the Cleveland Browns get such tough schedules but it is what it is.”
The Falcons, while stylistically different from the Chiefs, feature similar weaponry: an elite quarterback surrounded by elite playmakers. Randall actually believes Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s supporting cast is better than Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’. And it seems like All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones is a large reason why.
Jones is on pace for yet another monster season. He’s second in the NFL with 933 receiving yards and found the end zone for the first time last week against the Redskins.
Randall has played against Jones twice in his career. In those two games, Jones averaged seven catches for 144 yards and one touchdown. Granted, Randall didn't cover Jones on every play, but suffice to say Jones impressed him.
“Julio is the best receiver I’ve faced,” Randall said. “Big, fast, strong. He’s pretty much everything you want in a typical receiver nowadays.”
Coming from someone who played against Calvin Johnson three times, that speaks volumes. The man in charge of the coverage calls, coach and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, has also seen plenty of talented receivers in his career. And he agrees with Randall: Jones stands out from other players, and the Browns have to be near perfect to stop him.
“We have to be spot on,” Williams said. “There are the top-eight, 10 or 12 (receivers) in the league that are different and (Jones) is one of those guys at the very top of the league. We have our work cut out.”