(Reuters) – Julio Jones had a monster game in Sunday’s rout of the Packers that put the Atlanta Falcons into the Super Bowl, and the scary wide receiver was already giving the New England Patriots a fright as they studied game film.
“Julio Jones, to me, is probably one of the most dynamic players in the league,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia told reporters on Tuesday.
“He can run underneath routes, has great speed, great hands, body control and is very, very strong. He gives you a lot of problems.”
Jones caught nine passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Matt Ryan in the 44-21 romp over Green Bay.
It was not just the sheer numbers that impressed, but also the manner in which four-times Pro Bowler Jones operated on his way to his first Super Bowl.
After tippy-toeing to stay in bounds in the end zone on his first touchdown catch, Jones manhandled the defense for his second score, shedding one defender with a sweep of his arm and then stiff-arming the next to the ground on a 73-yard dash.
“He’s a beast, he’s just an absolute stud,” Ryan said of the 6-foot 3-inch (1.90-meter), 220-pound (100-kilogram) Jones, who has been playing through a toe injury.
Even neutral NFL players were impressed.
“@juliojones_11=grown man,” tweeted Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) after the play.
“That dude an Animal Julio,” gushed Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (@J_No24).
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is well aware of the threat posed by Jones and the team that led the NFL in scoring.
“I’d say the stamp on the team, the thing that I would notice the most is just the speed, the team speed that the Falcons have,” Belichick said in a conference call. “They look like they’re faster than almost every team they play.”
Former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson, now a commentator for the NFL Network, said Jones is the whole package.
“His size, his weight, his speed, his ability to go inside and outside,” raved Burleson.
“If you put one guy on him, he’s unstoppable. If you put two guys on him, he’s probably going to catch the ball. If you put three guys on him, he’ll have a chance of coming down with the play.”
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Andrew Both)