Jones played 59 of 79 defensive snaps, while Reynolds subbed in and played 20 snaps. Both players say it was a predetermined rotation by the coaches.
Jones, the team's second-round draft pick from LSU, didn't view it as any sort of demotion or indictment of his play. He played all 80 snaps the previous week in a win at Tampa Bay, while Reynolds did not play at all on defense against the Buccaneers.
"Surprising? No. We already talked about it," Jones said. "LaRoy works hard during the week. He's a baller. He's a dog. And I don't mind sharing my reps with him. He's going to play fast. I know it gives me a chance to get a blow. And I trust him out there."
Although Jones missed one game with a sprained ankle, he said injury had nothing to do with the coaches' decision to rotate against the Eagles. In fact, the Falcons did the same at Will linebacker with rookie starter De'Vondre Campbell and former starting middle linebacker Paul Worrilow, who has played exclusively at the Will during his limited defensive reps this season. Campbell had a serious ankle injury earlier in the season, while Worrilow missed time following groin surgery.
"Coach [Dan Quinn] wanted to let everybody be a part of this," Reynolds said. "I think we can help each other out just switching up the rotation a little bit. That was planned this week, so I just stuck with it, did what Coach asked, and that was it.
"I commend [Jones] for those words and I appreciate it. But I think, as a group, I think we all feed off each other. We all understand that we can all do the job. And it shows a lot of maturity for him. I think that’s big."
Quinn made a general statement regarding the rotation of players against the Eagles.
"Some of it was injury related, some was just a matter of where we wanted to keep a guy fresh and keep going," Quinn said without getting into specifics about injuries.
Although Jones led the team with 11 tackles against the Eagles, it's hard to say the rotation worked in the Falcons' favor, considering they gave up a season-high 208 yards rushing, including 109 yards and two touchdowns to Ryan Matthews. It was the first time the Falcons had surrendered 100 yards rushing to a player since Minnesota's Adrian Peterson went for 158 at the Georgia Dome last November.
Although defensive lineman Tyson Jackson pointed the blame at the defensive front and not the linebackers for surrendering so many rushing yards, Jones certainly took the poor performance personally.
"I feel like I need to buckle down this week, really look at how I’ve been playing, the things I’ve been doing well and mostly correcting the things I’ve done wrong," Jones said. "This week during the bye is a good week to reset and focus on all of those things and get back to work next week."
Reynolds took things to heart, as well.
"I think as the Mike linebacker, that’s what you do. Any linebacker, you want to take ownership," Reynolds said. "You want to be the lead dog. You want to be able to control everything, make sure everybody is lined up and in the right place. For me, it’s a big responsibility. I just try to prepare like I’m starting and make sure I’m getting the guys ready."
Reynolds was asked if he expects to get increased reps to spell Jones.
"We’ll see," Reynolds said. "It’s the bye week so I think this will be a good opportunity just to watch the film, see how we played, and see where we go from there."