Josh Norman: Panthers 'disrespectful' to have rookies cover Julio Jones

ByVaughn McClure ESPN logo
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Josh Norman made clear how much he respects Julio Jones, but Norman doesn't believe his former team had the same type of respect for the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Sunday.

Norman, now with the Washington Redskins, was shocked by the way the Carolina Panthers defended Jones in the Falcons' 48-33 win. Jones set a franchise record with 300 receiving yards on 12 catches.

"Shoot, just disrespectful to line up a rook against that man like that, like he ain't the top wide receiver in the league," Norman told ESPN.

Although Jones did most of his damage with third-year cornerback Bene Benwikere in his vicinity, Panthers rookie James Bradberry started on Jones and gave up a 22-yard reception in tight man-to-man coverage on the first play. Bradberry then exited early with a toe injury.

Fellow rookie Daryl Worley got a chance on Jones and gave up a 43-yard pass play, which really appeared to get the deep ball going between Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan drew the safety to the middle of the field, leaving Worley in one-on-one coverage against Jones down the right sideline.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn was asked if he was surprised about the Panthers' decision to play Jones straight up, at times.

"Well, they weren't all as man-to-man on some of the big plays that he had," Quinn said. "Some were zones where he had a crossing route where he was able to outrun some guys (on the 75-yard TD). He's such a unique player and different times and different coverages that go his way. Often times they might have had good coverage where he was able to go up and fight for it, but it was a really clear illustration of a really good competitor being at the very top of his game. I think that was the case (Sunday)."

Norman, who once borrowed the line from the movie "Jerry Maguire" and said Jones "completes me" because of his ability, figured Jones would dominate all along.

"Man, I told you (the NFC South) is all Julio's now," Norman said.

Norman took another jab at his former team Monday on ESPN's The Dan Le Batard Show, saying "you get what you pay for" after the Panthers surrendered those 300 yards to Jones and a franchise-record 503 passing yards to Ryan.

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