As members of the NFC South, Josh Norman and Julio Jones played against each other twice a year and had a healthy rivalry between each other. Now that Norman is with the Washington Redskins, the two won’t be seeing a lot of each other, bringing an end to one of the most interesting matchups in the NFL. After a midseason collapse last year, the Falcons are trying to make it back to the playoffs, but they likely won’t be making any Super Bowl betting predictions this season.
Unlike Norman’s rivalry with New York’s Odell Beckham Jr., which turned very ugly last season, Norman’s rivalry with Jones was a very respectful one. After the preseason game between the Redskins and Atlanta Falcons, Norman and Jones, who didn’t get any playing time during the game, huddled together at midfield after the game to catch up.
Norman told reporters that competition breeds greatness, and he has a lot of respect for Jones, whom he called a great receiver. Norman said he respects and admires Jones’ work ethic and his approach to the game. The defensive back said he had to let Jones know after the game and tell him to continue playing the game the right way.
Norman, who is known for his flamboyant style and his mouth, called himself the best cornerback in the NFL last season before a game against the Falcons. Using a reference from the movie Jerry Maguire, Norman said Jones “completes” him when it comes to the ultimate challenge.
The Carolina Panthers defeated the Falcons 38-0 in that game, and Jones finished with seven catches for 88 yards. In the second meeting of the season, the Falcons got revenge, defeating the Panthers 20-13, handing Carolina its first and only loss of the regular season. Jones finished that game with nine catches for a season high 178 yards.
During the 2014 season, Norman held Jones to 10 catches for 107 and no touchdowns in their two meetings.
The Redskins and Falcons aren’t scheduled to play each other this season, which means fans won’t get to watch what has been a very competitive matchup between two great players. However, since Norman will be playing in the NFC East this year, the fans will get to see a continuation of the bitter rivalry between Norman and Beckham.
During the meeting between the Panthers and Giants last year, the matchup between Beckham and Norman was very intense and physical. Norman seemed to have gotten inside Beckham’s head, causing the receiver to give in to his frustrations during the game. After the game, the bad blood between the two continued, and once Norman announced he had signed with the Redskins, NFL fans immediately penciled in the dates the two will meet on their calendars.
After a successful season in which they made the playoffs, the Redskins are hoping to make a deep playoff run this season, and would love nothing more than to prevent the Giants from making the playoffs, so expect things to get very physical when they play each other.
The war of words have already begun as Beckham recently told reporters that he made Norman relevant. Norman countered by telling Beckham that a catch made him relevant.
If you enjoy physical football, get your popcorn ready when the Giants and Redskins play this year.