Patriots: Jonathan Jones landing on IR makes Stephon Gilmore trade look more problematic
By Jerry Trotta
Believe it or not, the New England Patriots‘ secondary has turned in two lackluster performances in a row.
In Week 5, they allowed Texans third-round rookie Davis Mills to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. In Week 6, things looked even worse, as Dak Prescott racked up 445 yards through the air, the most a Bill Belichick-coached defense has ever allowed, including the playoffs.
The Patriots luckily get a cupcake matchup against Zach Wilson and the Jets on Sunday, but this secondary is reeling and Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ high-powered offense are up next on the schedule in Week 8.
Unfortunately for New England, they’ll be without Jonathan Jones, one of their most reliable defensive backs, for at least the next three games.
Jones landed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury he sustained in the Week 6 loss to Dallas. We know injuries are inevitable in the NFL, so why exactly were the Patriots so willing to unload Stephon Gilmore?
Patriots CB Jonathan Jones landing on injured reserve sparks more questions about the Stephon Gilmore trade.
It’s not like the Patriots are decimated at cornerback.
Myles Bryant was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster for Sunday. The 23-year-old hasn’t played much over his first two seasons, but the fact he’s stuck around for as long as he has suggests the Patriots are high on his talent.
Joejuan Williams, meanwhile, has been with the franchise for three seasons now. He’s familiar with the system and should see an uptick in snaps.
The Patriots also have recent trade acquisition Shaun Wade to add to the mix, whenever he’s ready to return from his concussion.
HOWEVER, all of those CBs pale in comparison to Gilmore. Without Jones, the Patriots wouldn’t even bat an eyelash. Gilmore and JC Jackson would still form one of the most daunting cornerback pairings in the NFL.
At that point, New England could’ve turned to one of Bryant, Williams, Wade or even Jalen Mills to cover the slot in Jones’ absence. Without Gilmore, though, those inexperienced players are suddenly stepping into significant roles.
The Patriots’ decision to trade Gilmore has loomed large over the last two weeks with their secondary being unable to stop a nosebleed. With injuries starting to pile up as the season wears on, it looks even worse.
We know Belichick is a defensive mastermind, but parting ways with the leader of your defense for a late-round draft pick when you have so many unproven players (besides Jackson and Jones) in the secondary is almost unforgivable.
If the Patriots’ secondary continues to implode — an improved showing against the Jets wouldn’t count for obvious reasons — Belichick should take more heat for this decision, because nothing about has made sense.