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Saturday Afternoon Notes: Jones Travels With the Team, Status Remains in Question Ahead of Browns Game

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
11 months ago at 3:04 pm ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Saturday Afternoon Notes: Jones Travels With the Team, Status Remains in Question Ahead of Browns GameDavid Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick said on Friday that Saturday tends to be the day when evaluations are made for players who are close to returning from injuries, and it looks like he must have liked what he saw from Mac Jones prior to the club’s departure to Cleveland.

The New England Patriots quarterback, who was listed as “Questionable” on Friday’s injury report, appears to have flown with the team and could now potentially be a game-time decision heading into Sunday’s match-up against the Browns.

That would be a pretty surprising achievement considering the significance of the high-ankle sprain he suffered three weeks ago against the Ravens.  It’s been a long road back for Jones, who has missed the last two games and has seemingly been in significant pain during his rehab.

The good news is, the last week has seen him make progress.  By the end of last week the limp he had appeared to improve and during the media portions of this week’s practice, it was almost non-existent.

He looked much better during each of the two sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, and that continued to be the case into Friday when he was again moving quite well.  He was seen during drills moving around pads on the ground moving laterally before having to plant and make a throw while displaying his usual accuracy.

However, that improvement has come as Jones continues wearing a large brace on his left leg as well as seeing his ankle heavily taped.  Multiple reports have said that he’s still dealing with some instability with that ankle, but the current methods they’ve used have seemed to help.

But overall, the progress as a whole this week was noticeable, with Jones showing significant improvement in terms of his overall mobility and movement.  That was a stark contrast from the limp he still had the week before, which saw him ultimately downgraded ahead of last Sunday’s game against the Lions.

While Jones may have traveled with the team, that obviously doesn’t guarantee he’ll start the game.  If he’s unable to go, that will likely mean rookie Bailey Zappe will get his second-straight start, with the former Western Kentucky quarterback looking to improve to 2-0 as a starter after leading the team to a 29-0 win at Gillette Stadium last weekend.

Harris, Guy Also Could Be Eyeing Returns

Both Damien Harris and Lawrence Guy reportedly made the trip to Cleveland, with their status also in question heading into tomorrow.  Harris, who was injured early in last week’s win over the Lions, appears to be the more likely player to sit this one out.   The team elevated rookie Kevin Harris from the practice squad this week, giving them depth behind Rhamondre Stevenson and Pierre Strong Jr.

For Damien Harris, this marks another hamstring injury that has plagued him in recent seasons, so the team may opt to be cautious and keep him sidelined.  Harris, coincidentally, missed last year’s game against the Browns which saw Stevenson put up 100-yards on 20 carries along with two touchdowns in a 45-7 beating of the Browns at Gillette Stadium.

On the defensive side of things, getting Guy back would be a significant boost for the Patriots’ defense.  They’re about to face a Browns team ranked first in the AFC and 2nd overall in the NFL in rushing while averaging over 192.4 yards per game, including 10 rushing touchdowns and Guy’s quietly been a big key up front for New England against the run.

Agholor, Jones Ruled Out For Sunday

Meanwhile, two players who won’t be active for Sunday are Nelson Agholor and Jonathan Jones, who were both downgraded ahead of Sunday’s game.

Agholor is reportedly dealing with a hamstring injury, while Jones is battling an ankle injury.

The absence of Agholor will likely see a higher workload from rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton, who made his season debut last Sunday against the Lions and finished with 2 catches for 7-yards but was spotted on film where there were several opportunities for some potentially bigger plays that were missed.  Depending on who starts Sunday, he could be in line for a bigger afternoon.

As for Jones, his absence could see the Patriots lean on Jalen Mills, who missed time with a hamstring injury but could potentially give them a boost.  We could also see a larger role for Jack Jones, who has picked off passes in two straight contests after coming up with an interception in Green Bay against Aaron Rodgers that he returned for a touchdown, as well as another turnover against Jared Goff and the Lions last Sunday.

Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bailey Zappe Cleveland Browns Damien Harris Jack Jones Jonathan Jones Lawrence Guy Mac Jones Nelson Agholor New England Patriots Tyquan Thornton

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