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Julio Jones: No one in NFL can cover me one-on-one

Sometimes there are simple answers to simple questions.

During Wednesday's media session, Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones was asked a plain question: Do you think anyone in the NFL can cover you one-on-one?

The All-Pro receiver offered a straight-forward response.

"One-on-one? No, I do not," Jones said matter-of-factly.

Well, that settles that.

Does Jones believe the New England Patriots will attempt to guard him one-on-one in Super Bowl LI?

"I don't know," he replied. "We're just going to see what they try to take away."

Jones was left one-on-one a shocking amount of times versus the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game -- particularly noticeable in the red zone -- and he ate them up.

Julio's physicality at the line of scrimmage, ability to get vertical in a hurry and run-after-the-catch ingenuity make him nearly impossible to shut out. We'd expect the Patriots to use a combination of physical corner play with a safety rolled over the top.

In colleague Conor Orr's look at how Pro Bowlers defended the Falcons, most said using man coverage on Jones with safety help is the safest route.

"You don't have to double him on every play but you do have to roll your coverage there some," Chargers corner Casey Hayward said. "I think you have to play some man because their backs are so explosive as receivers, they're good out of the backfield."

We'd add one aspect to the game plan: man coverage underneath, safety over the top, prayers from the sidelines.

At times in the past, the Patriots have used corner Logan Ryan with safety Devin McCourty shading over the top on team's number one receiver, while Malcolm Butler (Darrelle Revis played a similar role in 2014) went one-on-one with the No. 2 wideout. Butler said this week he's not sure if he'll go head-to-head with Jones. 

Like Jones, we'll have to wait until Sunday to see what coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia have concocted to slow down the most physically dominating receiver in the NFL. If the Falcons' high-flying offense has proven one thing this year, however, it's that slowing Julio Jones isn't the only key to stopping the most potent scoring machine in the NFL. 

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