When it comes to Patriots rookies, Cole Strange receives a lot of attention and deservedly so. He was a first-round pick, he’s the only rookie who currently is in a starting role and an injury has sidelined rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton since training camp. However, fourth-round pick Jack Jones has started to emerge on the defensive side of the ball for the Patriots. Here’s how he, Strange and the rest of the rookies performed in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens.
Jack Jones, B+
Jones’ playing time keeps going up and up as the Patriots seem to be happy with the rookie defensive back. In week one, Jones only played 11 snaps (18%) before playing 22 snaps (38%) against the Steelers last week. On Sunday, he played 26 snaps (43%) and was the third cornerback based on snap percentage. He was only targeted once in the passing game but forced an incomplete pass on a crucial third down, giving the offense one last shot before Nelson Agholor fumbled. Something to keep an eye on is the health of cornerback Jalen Mills who has been dealing with a hamstring injury. If he is unable to go, Jones could be seeing even more action.
Cole Strange, B-
The Patriots had another effective game on the ground rushing for a season-high 145 yards on 28 carries (5.2 yards per rush) but this week the success mainly came from the right side of the line and not the left side where Strange resides. According to Next Gen Stats, the Patriots were able to gain a healthy four yards per carry when going to the left (15 carries for 60 yards) but gained 7.3 yards per rush going to the right (13 carries for 95 yards). In the passing game, Strange was responsible for a sack of quarterback Mac Jones, as he had miscommunication with the back and allowed his guy to come clean. Strange remains the lone offensive lineman without a penalty through three games.
Marcus Jones, C+
After being inactive a week ago, Marcus Jones was back on the field Sunday, but was strictly used on special teams, as he has not seen a defensive snap since week one. Jones was used in the kicking game returning kickoffs and did a decent job. He had two returns for 45 yards with a long of 26, however neither return made it past the 25-yard line. With Myles Bryant struggling with punt returns, it will be interesting to see if Jones gets a shot there as well.
Pierre Strong Jr, D
When Ty Montgomery went down with an injury, there was speculation that Strong could see some time on offense as a third-down back. Through two weeks, the Patriots have made it clear that he is not ready for that role as Strong did not see the field once on offense after seeing two snaps a week ago. In fact, Strong only saw two snaps on Sunday both coming on special teams as it seems he has a long way to go.
Brenden Schooler, C-
A week after turning in one of the biggest plays of the week, Schooler struggled to make an impact in the kicking game against the Ravens. The return unit had a rough day as they allowed two punt returns for 55 yards including a 43-yarder that helped set up a score.
DaMarcus Mitchell, Incomplete
Mitchell saw action on 21 special teams snaps but did not record any tackles
Chasen Hines, Incomplete
Hines was active for the first time this season after the trade of Justin Herron last week but did not see the field.
Inactives: Sam Roberts, Bailey Zappe