Saturday, January 4, 2014
Douglas not caught up in his role for 2014
By Vaughn McClure
ATLANTA – After leading the Atlanta Falcons with 85 catches in 2013, Harry Douglas understands the reality of his role going into next season.
Top deep threat Julio Jones is expected back following foot surgery while savvy veteran Roddy White regained his typical form at the end of this past season. That means the focus will be on Jones and White as Matt Ryan’s primary targets, with Douglas likely back in a complementary spot.
And he is fine with it.
"I’m the type of guy that is about whatever they ask me to do," Douglas said Friday night while attending the Atlanta Hawks-Golden State Warriors game. "And I’ve always been like that. If they need me to block, if they need me to return, if they need me to catch, I’m there to do whatever they ask me to do."
Douglas stepped into the primary receiver role after Jones went down and after White battled hamstring and ankle injuries through the first half of the season. Some were skeptical how productive Douglas could be after being known more as a slot receiver.
Well, Douglas silenced some of the doubters with a career-high 1,067 yards. One of his two touchdowns was an 80-yarder against Tampa Bay.
Despite such production, Douglas understands the reality of next season and Jones likely being the primary guy, particularly with retiring tight end Tony Gonzalez out of the mix.
"Of course I do," Douglas said. "But I don’t think we have a No. 1 because Roddy and Julio are so good, I think we have two No. 1s. Actually, I think we have three No. 1s because I would never count myself out. I believe I can do anything.
"Teams know they can't just double cover Roddy and Julio all the time. They’re going to have to guard everybody."
Douglas also wanted to clarify thoughts for anyone who thought he dropped too many passes. According to some statistics, Douglas had six dropped while being targeted 132 times. White was next with five drops while being targeted 97 times.
"That’s one thing that people understand because 'official' drops that I had, I probably had four," Douglas said. "What necessarily might be a drop on something else might not be a drop. But any of them bother me. As a receiver, you never want to drop the ball."
The 4-12 Falcons, as a whole, dropped the ball in ’13. But there’s always next year.