As the New England Patriots prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts in Germany this weekend, a lot of eyes are on cornerback Jack Jones. The 25-year-old defender (and J.C. Jackson) missed team curfew last Saturday night, resulting in his riding the bench for the majority of the loss to the Washington Commanders.
While some Patriots fans are skeptical if Jones learned from his mistake, at least one team veteran is confident that the former 2022 fourth-rounder learned his lesson.
Speaking with MassLive's Chris Mason, safety Jabrill Peppers said that Jones handled his punishment "like a man," adding that the situation is "handled" and "behind us."
The only thing that the Patriots are focused on right now is winning.
""[Jones] knows what we expect from him. He knows what the team expects from him. And we expect that we’ll get that from him. So it is what it is. We handled it. It’s behind us now. The only thing to do is come out here with a win.""- Jabrill Peppers
Beating the Colts will require team unity, so it's nice to see Peppers being supportive of Jones. The 28-year-old veteran has seen a lot throughout his seven-year career, so chances are that his words hold weight in the New England locker room.
At the same time, fans will continue being skeptical until Jones proves he can keep his off-field issues at bay. He's been arrested twice since 2018 and even though his latest weapon charges were dropped in September, proof of change is needed instead of just buying into the idea that he matured overnight.
Assuming he does see more playing time than last week, Jones can't afford another dud performance. On top of a 77.8% catch rate and 100.9 passer rating when targeted, the Long Beach native's 49.6 overall and 51.8 coverage grades on ProFootball Focus rank second-worst among all Patriots CBs.
Nevertheless, Jones' outlook appears to be brighter than Jackson's. The latter appears to still be in head coach Bill Belichick's doghouse, having been told to stay home instead of traveling to Germany with the team.
It's shaping up to be a close-fought matchup in Frankfurt. As of Friday, the Colts are only projected to beat the Patriots by less than a field goal across most sportsbooks.
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