There were a lot of things to like about the Patriots victory over the Bills on Sunday with the emergence of Demario Douglas being towards the top of the list. After being in the doghouse for fumbling and missing a game due to a concussion, Douglas was finally able to provide a spark both on offense (four receptions, 54 yards) and special teams (25-yard punt return) during the win. The Patriots are going to need that pop, especially on special teams, because wide receivers coach Troy Brown broke some news regarding return specialist Marcus Jones on Tuesday.
Cornerback/wide receiver/kick returner Marcus Jones is now officially out for the season after suffering a torn labrum in the Week Two loss to the Miami Dolphins. There was hope that he may have been able to come back from Injured Reserve later in the season but Brown put that to bed during today's session with the media.
It's a hit for the Patriots as Jones exploded onto the scene during his rookie season, earning First Team All-Pro honors as a kick returner as he led the NFL in total punt return yards (362) and yards per return (12.5). Defensively, Jones earned more playing time as the season went on finishing with two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown against Joe Burrow and the Bengals. He even saw time on offense, catching four passes for 78 yards and one touchdown against the Bills in December.
While Douglas seems to have the handle on kick returns in Jones' absence, the Patriots will most likely have to continue to rely on Myles Bryant. Bryant has been dreadful yet again in 2023, allowing opposing quarterback to complete 80.6% (25/31) of their passes in his direction for 233 yards and two touchdowns. That comes out to a 119.5 quarterback rating (for reference, Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL with a 110.4 rating this season). Bryant also has five missed tackles, including two on Sunday which helped contribute to Buffalo's near comeback.
The Patriots will definitely miss Marcus Jones on the field but at least this gives him more time to focus on his budding music career.