Josh Norman describes the plight of defending Julio Jones: ‘You’re trapped in time’

The New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick are notorious for shutting down or attempting to “take away” an opponent’s top offensive weapon, although they haven’t always been spectacular at clamping opposing team’s top wideouts. Come Super Bowl LI on Sunday that would be Atlanta Falcons All-Pro wideout Julio Jones.

Jones is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound freakish athlete who turned 83 regular season catches into 1,409 yards (second in NFL) and averaged 100.6 yards receiving per game (first). He’s a matchup nightmare, a challenge that cornerback Josh Norman relished as a former Carolina Panther playing Atlanta twice a year.

Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne caught up with Norman, now a well-compensated Washington Redskin, who offered some pretty comical and colorful terms to describe the plight of defending Jones:

“The sweet sensation of death without dying,” Norman said. “You’re trapped in time. A split second feels like a lifetime in the moment of a play. So for me, it was like I was trapped in that butterfly effect. People say that they go through this when they know they’re about to have an accident. They think about everything within that moment. That is where we were at. We were in that moment for what seemed like the entire game.

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“It’s like watching ‘300.’ The sweetest thing to them in the ultimate battle is a sweet death. The sweetest thing to me in an ultimate battle is a Julio Jones. He pushes our level to a point where it’s like being in Super Saiyan range. You elevate from Super Saiyan 3 to Super Saiyan 4. You know what I’m saying? Like a Goku or something.”

The Patriots’ defensive game plan hasn’t floated around in a stranger’s hands like the Falcons’ offensive plan did on Monday, but the prevailing theory is that the Patriots will attempt to bracket Jones with cornerback Logan Ryan with safety help over the top. So Malcolm Butler may or may not get his wish to cover Julio and find his Saiyan mode.

But Belichick is nothing if not unpredictable, so Butler may get a crack. Grab your popcorn.