One of the bright spots from the disappointing loss to the Broncos was the play of defensive back Jonathan Jones, who came up with some key stops to help keep Denver out of the end zone for the entire game. Jones was credited with three passes defensed and a huge interception that gave the Patriots a chance to win late in the game as the sixth-year player continues to ascend.
"Jon was in on several pass breakups and also made some tackles around the line of scrimmage and did a good job in the run force – you know, played a combination of the safety and corner roles – but had a real productive game and he was tested multiple times and was really in good position, played the ball well," said head coach Bill Belichick on Monday afternoon via Webex. "The interception he had was an outstanding play on the ball. He really tracked it well and made a heck of a catch. So, yeah, he had another good game for us."
Jones' interception was the fifth of his career after being held without one in 2019. That dip came off a 2018 season that saw him grab a career-high three picks.
"It was over the shoulder but I think it's a last moment he tipped it that altered a little bit for me," said Jones of the fourth-quarter takeaway. "We practice long ball drills over and over."
His rise from the ranks of undrafted special teams player in 2016 to the versatile secondary piece he's become has been remarkable. Now, Jones is a key part of every game plan no matter where he's playing.
"I think it just starts with work," said Jones on Monday of his development. "Just being out there every day working, just growing, just learning. Trying not to make the same mistakes over and over. Just continuing to grow as a player and take on more roles and develop in this league as a player."
How does he keep his position straight while playing in so many different roles? Jones credited learning the entire defense to know where he fits in.
"For me, trying to slow it down but just learn the concepts, just learning how the whole defense works," described Jones. "At that point it's just plug and play, if you're the safety or the corner, the star, whatever it might be, the more you can learn the way how things around you are moving it always slows it down for you. When you hear a call, you know where you fit on that play."
Webex Quotes of Note
Cam Newton to WEEI's Greg Hill Show on staying focused:
"There's no need to press the panic button. There's no need to start reinventing the wheel. We have the answers, and I'll say it again, we have the answers in that locker room. and we'll get guys back hopefully and some guys need to mend and heal up. But yet through it all, it is our job as players to produce. I know looking at eye balls in that locker room and competitors, as people who just seize the moment and make the most of every opportunity, we will get that job done."
Damien Harris on having a pass catching back like James White on the team:
"It's obviously important but having a guy like James White is important to our team for so many different reasons. The guy is such a great leader, such a great example-setter. James is one of the guys that exemplifies what it means to be a New England Patriot. So yes it's very, very important to have somebody can catch the ball out of the backfield but also having as one of our leaders, one of our captains, a guy that I can personally look at and see him... he does everything right, every single time."
Ryan Izzo on gaining experience:
"I think it's just getting more game experience when the bullets are flying live, just being able to be out there and get that experience. I wanna see growth overall in my whole game. I want to keep up in pass protection, continue to work on my footwork, technique with my hands in the run game and pass game, just the details of the game.