FOXBORO -- You can rule out Marcus Jones making a big play on special teams in this weekend's Patriots-Jets matchup. And for at least a few weeks after that as well.
Jones, whose last-second 84-yard punt return touchdown lifted New England to a 10-3 victory over the Jets last season, is is heading to IR with a torn labrum, Bill Belichick confirmed Friday morning. (The move was first reported Thurday by NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.) The second-year defensive back/special teamer suffered the injury during Week 2's loss to the Dolphins while attempting to make a tackle on Miami's Jaylen Waddle.
"It's unfortunate," Belichick said Friday. "He had a really good rookie year, explosive player."
Jones was an important depth piece in the secondary, and had five tackles and a fumble recovery in the first two weeks this season. He's also a threat to make things happen as a punt returner, as the Jets learned last season, with Jones earning first-team All-Pro honors as a rookie. The Patriots also occasionally made use of his speed on offense, with Jones catching four passes for 78 yards and a touchdown in 2022.
But the Patriots won't be getting any of that for at least four weeks, and Belichick said Friday that Jones will be out "a while." His move to IR leaves the team's secondary fairly thin over the next month, as fellow second-year corner Jack Jones was placed on IR ahead of the season and isn't eligible to return until Week 5 at the earliest.
The Patriots currently have rookie Christian Gonzalez and veteran Jonathan Jones atop the depth chart, though Jonathan Jones missed last week's game with an ankle injury and has been limited in practice all week. The Patriots have three defensive backs with "Jones" on the back of their jersey, and all three of them are hurt at the moment.
Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade are the team's other defensive backs, and New England also signed corners Breon Borders and Azizi Hearn to its practice squad on Thursday. Belichick said Friday that the team is considering moving Jalen Mills back to corner after he made the move to safety over the offseason.
The Patsoff the Cincinnati practice squad to take Jones' spot on the 53-man roster.
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