Bill Belichick's a big believer in Cyrus Jones


If you’re still holding onto your Cyrus Jones stock, there’s good news. It sounds like the third-year corner’s star-crossed tenure with the Patriots will continue.

And it should. Jones, a second-round pick out of Alabama in 2016, is 24. His forte in college was punt returns. The Patriots need a guy to return punts. While Jones made some head-scratching return decisions as a rookie, this was Nick Saban’s review of Jones in 2016: ”I think the most important thing that he does is . . . a really good job of taking care of the ball."

Jones -- who missed all of last season with an ACL -- can be a major asset for the Patriots in 2018 and you could hear Bill Belichick’s enthusiasm on a Friday morning conference call when asked about Jones’ recouped explosiveness.  

When Mike Giardi of the NFL Network asked whether Belichick believed Jones regained his “level of athleticism”, Belichick  replied, "Yes. Absolutely. And I wish in these past few games we had an opportunity to get him started in the return game. He didn't have much yesterday."

Belichick added that he felt Jones, “handled the ball well in some fairly challenging ball-handling situations."

Jones fielded three punts Thursday night. The first he caught with defenders right in his kisser. On the second, he also had heat immediately and slipped while trying to pirouette. Last week, he fielded a bouncing kickoff confidently against the Panthers and took it back past the 30-yard line. A flag wiped out the play but during that return, Jones showed some of his elusiveness in tight spaces to gain about 12 extra yards.

With Danny Amendola gone, Julian Edelman down for the first four games and perhaps too valuable to the offense to risk on returns (the Patriots were lucky with Amendola last year), New England needs Jones to do what he can do. As a rookie, he didn’t. Playing 10 games, Jones had four fumbles on returns.

He seemed like a player who’d never faced a moment of doubt on the football field, smashing into some adversity and not knowing quite how to react. Which begat more mistakes.

After Thursday’s game, Jones reflected on his ACL injury and how it’s changed him.

“This injury, I was distraught when it happened,” Jones said, according to the Providence Journal. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot from it -- more so off the field than on the field. As a person. Just taking the positives out of it. once I had the opportunity to come back on the field, it just makes you appreciate playing the game more and going out there and cherishing every moment. Just have an opportunity to put on a uniform.

“I’m a competitor. I always want to go out there and have success. That’s not always going to happen. God’s plan is bigger than mine. I’m just grateful I’m still here and play this game I’ve been playing my whole life.”

The Patriots will trim their roster to 53 players on Saturday. It’s a good bet Jones will be here after that as well. 


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