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Cyrus Jones still struggling as a punt returner

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Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones, a second-round pick in 2016, struggled during his rookie season as a punt returner. So far, those struggles are lingering into 2017.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald notes that Jones “misplayed several balls” in practice on Thursday at an OTA practice. He either lost the punts in the wind or flat-out dropped them.

For that reason, Howe floats the idea of removing the punt return from Jones’ repertoire, allowing him to focus solely on playing cornerback. (He also was beaten for a 30-yard touchdown on Thursday, and Malcolm Butler is likely only one season away from leaving New England.)

Jones thrived as a punt returner at Alabama. But first he has to secure the football. Last December, coach Bill Belichick seemed to have Jones’ back after Jones awkwardly strayed his feet toward a live punt that the Ravens had not yet touched.

“[W]e have confidence in all of our players,” Belichick told reporters at the time. “We’ve seen [Matthew] Slater fumble before. We’ve seen [Tom] Brady throw an interception before, too. We’ll always do what we feel is best for the football team based on the situation and the particular game and what we’re dealing with.”

The problem with Jones is that the struggles have gotten into his head, and perhaps the only way to get the most out of him in his primary role will be to shut down a secondary role that is causing way too many problems for him and for the team.

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25 Responses to “Cyrus Jones still struggling as a punt returner”
  1. abanig says: May 28, 2017 4:48 PM

    So Belicheck does make mistakes?

  2. zuzus petals says: May 28, 2017 5:06 PM

    It rained all day on Thursday, Jimmy G slipped and fell pretty hard going back for a pass.

    Not an ideal day to be getting your confidence up catching punts. Let’s see how camp goes….

  3. redclaw1314 says: May 28, 2017 5:20 PM

    The primary goal should be to develop him as a cornerback–to heck with the punts. He was drafted to be a possible replacement for Malcolm Butler.

  4. zuzus petals says: May 28, 2017 5:29 PM

    Sorry redclaw, fat thumbs, meant to give you a thumbs up.

  5. harrisonhits2 says: May 28, 2017 5:31 PM

    “So Belicheck does make mistakes?”

    Of course he does and even though you think you’re somehow being clever pointing it you’re not.

    The difference is he makes far fewer mistakes than most coaches / GMs. And when he does he is far more likely to cut a player sooner rather than later if he’s not working out. He has no ego about retaining a player just because he was a high pick.

    Jones is actually a good player who admitted he developed a serious confidence problem last season. It sounded like he had worked his way through it earlier in the off season but clearly not. He better get his act together quickly or he’ll find one of the undrafted guys taking his spot on the roster.

  6. Wet Paint says: May 28, 2017 5:38 PM

    zuzus petals says:
    May 28, 2017 5:29 PM
    Sorry redclaw, fat thumbs, meant to give you a thumbs up.

    ————

    I dont know how many times I have gone to give a thumbs up and reported the comment instead. They should space all that stuff out more. The report comment they should right justfy to the other side of the post.

  7. nhpats says: May 28, 2017 6:09 PM

    abanig says:
    May 28, 2017 4:48 PM
    So Belicheck does make mistakes?

    ——-

    Of course…..unlike Mike Tomlin, he just learns from them…

  8. pastabelly says: May 28, 2017 6:17 PM

    Belichick makes a lot of mistakes. They all do. You have to look at success rate. He’s not 100% and neither is anyone else. Hitting on so many mid round draft picks is what Belichick does well. Because he does that, he doesn’t have to overpay for all of his successful picks and is okay to see stars like Chandler Jones go or get traded for picks. Goodbye Jones, hello Trey Flowers. You can miss on Cyrus Jones and hit on free agent Jonathan Jones and trade a mid round pick for Eric Rowe. Cyrus Jones had a rough year. It doesn’t make sense to give up on him now.

  9. maust1013 says: May 28, 2017 6:45 PM

    abanig says:
    May 28, 2017 4:48 PM
    So Belicheck does make mistakes?
    =======================

    We know not this ‘Belicheck’ you speak of.
    We do know Bill Belichick makes some, although the jury is still out as to whether or not Cyrus Jones will end up being one of them.

  10. gstewart400 says: May 28, 2017 6:51 PM

    I suspect that one reason for the gang of receivers on the Pats roster is to allow for guys like Edelman and Amendola to return some punts with less risk to the team if one of them goes down on return duty.

  11. TheWizard says: May 28, 2017 7:07 PM

    I hope he turns into a really good CB, cause I think the punter returner phase of his career is nearing the bottom of the bowl.

  12. flviking says: May 28, 2017 7:51 PM

    TheWizard says:
    May 28, 2017 7:07 PM
    I hope he turns into a really good CB, cause I think the punter returner phase of his career is nearing the bottom of the bowl.

    ////////////////////

    It could be worse, you could be the packers who have neither cornerbacks or punt returner. They do have 2 TEs, so they have that going for them.

  13. tedmurph says: May 28, 2017 8:41 PM

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this kid is saveable in New England at this point. Cut your losses and give him a fresh start elsewhere.

  14. shadywarrior says: May 28, 2017 9:56 PM

    The NFL should force the Patriots to only use Jones as their punt returner, just to give the other 31 teams a fighting chance.

  15. ricks95 says: May 28, 2017 10:02 PM

    He’s awful. He’s another muffed punt return or blown coverage on defense from the unemployment line.

  16. tylawspick6 says: May 28, 2017 10:25 PM

    he is still better than kyle wilson or dee milliner, each
    drafted in rd 1

    lol

  17. walker1191 says: May 28, 2017 10:57 PM

    Maybe we could wait ’til at least June before pronouncing a guy a bust or a HOFer?

  18. nfl1818 says: May 28, 2017 11:15 PM

    tedmurph says:
    May 28, 2017 8:41 PM
    Unfortunately, I don’t think this kid is saveable in New England at this point. Cut your losses and give him a fresh start elsewhere.
    ***************
    Ted, its May of his 2nd year

  19. 8oneanddones says: May 28, 2017 11:16 PM

    Remember the Movie “Major League 2” when the catcher always threw the ball over the pitcher’s head before he had some mental training? For some reason that popped into my head.

  20. ak185 says: May 29, 2017 11:05 AM

    Bill’s confident in him because of his play at Alabama, which as we all know is as close to the New England as you can get in college, and because Nick Saban and Belichick have longstanding ties. That does not mean that Jones is not a good corner. He was Alabama’s number 1 corner for a reason.

    I don’t know if I would leave him at return man though. His future might be more heavily invested purely on defense. It’s not like NE doesn’t have players who can return kicks (a particular game from last season nonwithstanding). Amendola, Edelman, and Cooks can all return kicks. Of course you’d like to be careful with Cooks and Edelman due to injury concerns, but having them augment Amendola in the return game would work and they’re both better than Jones is at this point.

  21. ibillwt says: May 29, 2017 1:03 PM

    thanks for the tips Mike, but I think we’ll let Bill handle it.

  22. concussion182 says: May 29, 2017 2:47 PM

    A lot of overconfidence here. Kind of like the year the Eagles had the so called dream team. Garaunteed the Patriots falter this year. No doubt.

  23. fjw2 says: May 30, 2017 11:21 AM

    Who said Butler is going anywhere? Butler himself said that he would like nothing better than toi stay in New England if they will pay him. After this year we will see what he is worth and if BB will pay him. Until then, quit all the speculation that he’s going somewhere.

  24. superpatriotsfan says: May 31, 2017 11:32 AM

    Don’t worry Pats fans. Mike Gillislee is great at returns, oh wait he did mess up against the Jets last year.

  25. bradygirl12 says: Jun 1, 2017 3:37 PM

    He’s inside his own head. That’s a tough thing to break out of, especially when you know that you can be cut at any time.

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