Malcolm Butler became an overnight star in the NFL. In 2015, Butler saved the day for the Patriots, intercepting Russell Wilson on the one-yard line to clinch the Super Bowl. It was a dream come true for the former undrafted free agent out of West Alabama.
On Sunday, another dream will come true for Butler. He will go face-to-face with the NFL’s elite Julio Jones. Butler tweeted prior to even being in the NFL, back in 2012, that he wanted to “check” Jones. With Butler now the number one option at cornerback for the Patriots, he will have his opportunity to shadow Jones for most of the game.
The Packers surprisingly gave Jones a lot of one-on-one opportunities in the NFC championship, and it is a decision they are probably still regretting today. Jones had a field day against Green Bay, catching nine balls for 180 yards and two touchdowns. His freak athleticism, to go along with his superb hands, were on full display against the Packers. Green Bay made the mistake of trying to play single coverage on Jones; the Patriots will do no such thing.
Bill Belichick is the best head coach of all time, and one of his many patents is taking away the thing teams do best or a team’s best option. Julio Jones is without a doubt option number one for the Falcons, and it is simple really, nobody can stop Julio Jones one-on-one. It is hard enough for teams to stop Jones with two men on him. He is the most explosive receiver in the league, and Belichick will have multiple guys marking Jones. Like last week, Butler is going to see a lot of time on the #1 option, but rest assured several Patriots will have their eyes on Jones at all time.
Butler’s rise to one of the top corners in the league is truly remarkable. His claim to fame is no longer just one Super Bowl saving player. He is one of the best corners in the league and that comes in large part from his ability to never give up. His relentlessness shows through his path to the NFL, and that attitude translates on the football field. He is feisty and is going to battle Julio Jones for 60 minutes. There is no doubt his play is going to be key in this football game, but if Belichick ever leaves Butler on an island with Jones, the Falcons will certainly take advantage.