Stopping Julio Jones is such a high priority for the Patriots’ defense that no one scout team player can handle the workload in practice that the Patriots think the Falcons will give Jones in the game.
As a result, Patriots coach Bill Belichick put two receivers — Michael Floyd and Matthew Slater — in No. 11 jerseys to play as Jones on the scout team.
“That’s such a key guy for us, the routes and all that,” Belichick told pool reporter Jarrett Bell. “We have two guys doing it so we won’t wear one guy out.”
Belichick wants to make sure his defensive backs are getting in the habit of knowing where No. 11 is at all times.
“You’ve got to know where he is on every play,” Belichick said.
There’s no secret about the top priority for the Patriots’ defense: Take Jones away, and make someone else beat them.