Jones, who underwent foot surgery in March, did not play in Atlanta’s first two preseason contests. But Jones got some work in 11-on-11 during Thursday’s final practice leading into the game, which apparently indicated his playing status.
He did not participate in 11-on-11 during the final practice leading into last Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.
“I’m feeling good,” Jones said Thursday. “Me and [head coach Dan Quinn], we’ll talk it over. If I’m ready to go, I’ll go out there and play Saturday. I mean it’s football. I’m ready to go whenever.”
The Falcons held a closed walk-through on Friday at Atlanta’s new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and Jones received clearance to play.
The third exhibition typically is the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, meaning the starters see extended action. In last season’s third preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, MVP quarterback Matt Ryan saw 33 plays, which were half of the offensive snaps. Jones played just 10 snaps in that game.
Quinn already ruled out running back Devonta Freeman for Saturday, while Freeman goes through the final stages of the concussion protocol. Freeman, who ran full-speed sprints earlier in the week, is not expected to play in the final exhibition on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars but could return to practice next week.
The status of Falcons receiver Taylor Gabriel for Saturday’s matchup with the Cardinals remains unclear. Gabriel has been limited in the preseason due to a lower leg injury but appeared to have his full explosiveness back this week.
The Falcons open the regular season on Sept. 10 at Chicago.