Jack Jones out, five others questionable ahead of Patriots’ season opener


The Patriots will be without at least one player against the Eagles on Sunday.

Jack Jones will not be available against the Eagles Week 1. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

The Patriots will be without one of the top pieces of their secondary against the Eagles in Foxborough on Sunday.

Second-year cornerback Jack Jones is listed as “out” on the team’s Friday injury report. New England says Jones is dealing with a hamstring injury. 

Earlier this week, head coach Bill Belichick said he expected the 25-year-old to be available Week 1. Belichick told reporters Friday morning that Jones is undergoing testing for his injury and hinted that his status would change. 

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported this morning that Jones would be “expected to miss some time” with the injury. He was limited in practice on Wednesday but was not seen on the field Thursday or Friday.

While Jones is the only player definitively not playing on Sunday, five others are listed as “questionable” 48 hours before kickoff.

Quarterback Matt Corral (not injury related), right guard Mike Onwenu (ankle), wide receiver DeVante Parker (knee), running back Rhamondre Stevenson (illness), and left guard Cole Strange (knee) will be gameday decisions. Corral and Stevenson did not practice on Friday, though the other three did participate on a limited basis. 

Even if all five other individuals do suit up Sunday afternoon, simply missing a body in New England’s secondary against this Eagles offense is cause for concern. The weakened unit, which features veteran Jonathan Jones and rookie Christian Gonzalez, will attempt to slow down the Eagles dynamic receiver duo of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

As for the Patriots’ offensive line, not having Onwenu and Strange available would be another tough blow. First-year lineman Atonio Mafi is the only other guard, right or left, listed on New England’s depth chart behind Onwenu and Strange.

The Patriots’ offensive protection was shaky throughout the preseason. They will be suiting up against a Philadelphia defense that totaled 70.0 sacks last season. With names such as Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, and Josh Sweat up front, the Eagles pose a major threat to an ailing and uncertain New England offensive line.

A potentially depleted offensive line may also not bode well for starting Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. His only backup on the 53-man roster, Corral, being listed as questionable gives Bill Belichick more decisions to make. New England has quarterbacks Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham on their practice squad if they need to call on somebody to back up Jones.

Jones could also be without two of his top weapons in Parker and Stevenson on gameday. The Patriots are already expected to utilize other top wide receivers such as JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kendrick Bourne as well as newly-signed running back Ezekiel Elliott. However, they may be targeted more in the event Parker and Stevenson are unavailable against Philadelphia.

Although, it sounds like Stevenson will be good to go come gameday, according to MassLive‘s Karen Guregian. She says the 25-year-old is dealing with a stomach bug.

Kickoff is set for 4:25 EST on Sunday, Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium.