Falcons' Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman doubtful to play in preseason

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons' coach Dan Quinn said wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman won't play in Saturday's third preseason game at Jacksonville, meaning Jones and Freeman are unlikely to see game action until the Sept. 6 opener at Philadelphia.

Both Jones and Freeman are healthy and practicing but sat out the first two preseason games against the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs despite being in uniform and participating in pre-game warmups. Quinn told reporters holding Jones and Freeman out of preseason games was the plan heading into the four-game exhibition schedule and that it's "likely" they won't play the rest of the preseason.

"Really had the plan of going through the spring, based on some of their injury history, I knew we wanted to ramp their work up on [training] camp but maybe not give them the reps in the game," Quinn said. "That's the plan we kind of set out with and stayed true to that. If there was something that I felt they needed, then I would adjust that. But right now, that's where we're headed."

Jones was away from the team during the offseason due to a contract dispute but returned for training camp after his contract was adjusted. He proclaimed himself 100 percent healthy after dealing with a variety of injuries last year, including a recovery from foot surgery and a hip flexor injury. Meanwhile, Freeman, who has sustained three concussions since November of 2015 and suffered ligament damage in his right knee at the end of last season, said his health is fine as well.

Quinn is not worried about his offensive stars not getting game action before the regular season.

"I'm not concerned, but I recognize the question, for sure," Quinn said. "So it's kind of like the trade off to say, 'Can they practice at the high enough speed that we can get them ready to go?' In those two instances, I think that's the case -- that we can. If I had concerns that we wouldn't be able to do or I felt like it was worth [playing them], I certainly would."

The fourth and final preseason game, Aug. 30 vs. Miami, typically is a showcase for the bubble players trying to make the roster.