“Frustrated” or “frustrations” are not the word the Falcons would really approve of. There are certain buzz words that Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman prefer to avoid and these words are definitely those.

It’s hard to say which will shut you down quicker: Jones, the wide receiver, or Freeman, the running back.

But both say they find no relevancy in either word or phrase.

They say there’s no frustration. Not after falling 23-7 to the New England Patriots on Sunday night. Not after that loss represented the Falcons’ third consecutive defeat, and not after Atlanta’s offense went scoreless for more than 90 minutes dating back to last week’s 20-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Sure, the Falcons would have liked to have ended their losing streak by beating the Patriots. But their motivation didn’t come from the fact that New England rallied from 25 down and scored 31 unanswered points to take Super Bowl LI last February. For Jones and Freeman, the desire to win is rooted in just that: needing to win so they can accomplish their ultimate goal: winning a Super Bowl.

And while their offense sputters to the tune of 13.7 points a game on this three-game losing streak, they refuse to dwell on the fact that the same group of core players averaged 33 points a contest last season.

Why? Because that was last year, and last year doesn’t matter.

“No. No. Not at all,” Jones replied when questioned if he asks himself how his team produced so many points last season but now has struggled. “We’re not thinking about last year. I’m getting questions about last year because it keeps getting brought up, because of the Super Bowl, or ‘Y’all were scoring this and that.’ But that’s a whole different football team. That was 2016, this is 2017.

“We just have to keep working. We’ll get there.”

Freeman echoed Jones’ sentiments.

“Every year is a new year. NFL, you’re either getting good or you’re getting better, or you’re not,” Freeman said. “You’ll never be OK all year long. You’ll get better or worse. A lot of teams in the NFL are getting better. So are we. We just need to figure out how to close. But those are small things we can fix.”

OK, so the Falcons need to do more than just close games. One of their pressing needs right now involves stringing together positive plays, and converting in third downs. In two of their last three losses, they have succeeded on 38% of their third downs, or worse. In each of their last two defeats, the Falcons have lost the time of possession battle.


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