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Patriots Rookie CB Jack Jones Flashes Star Potential in Loss to Packers

New England Patriots rookie cornerback Jack Jones entered the season as an undersized player with off-field issues, but dazzled in his first career start.

The New England Patriots entered this matchup against the Green Bay Packers as 9.5-point underdogs. New England was without starting quarterback Mac Jones, and then they lost his backup, Brian Hoyer, to a head injury. 

Recipe for disaster, right? 

Jack Jones had other ideas.

New England ultimately lost the game 27-24 in overtime, falling to 1-3 on the season. However, without Jones' big plays on defense, the outcome would have been much different.

The rookie fourth-round cornerback had his breakout in the first half of Sunday's game, helping keep the Patriots in a game that most people didn't think they had any business being in.

With cornerback Jalen Mills out with a hamstring injury, Jones was the next man up.

Jones' first impressive play came on a Packers 1st-and-10 in the first quarter. The rookie forced a fumble on Packers wideout Romeo Dobbs and recovered it. It was a momentum-swinging play, and more importantly, took Aaron Rodgers off the field.

With under 20 seconds remaining in the first half, Jones struck again, this time doing the unthinkable. Green Bay had a chance to head into the locker room with a lead but Jones read an out-route perfectly, jumping in front of a pass intended to Allen Lazard and running it back 40 yards for the score.

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New England entered halftime with a 10-7 lead.

Aside from being Jones' first NFL start, it was his first career forced fumble, first interception, and first touchdown. The 24-year-old finished with seven tackles.

Jones took to the podium after the game and talked about his ability to jump out-routes, as he did on his pick-six.

“Personally, I find it disrespectful to throw an out route on me," he said. "If you can get the ball outside of me, I’m no good.”

Jones will be a good player, but his size makes him a liability as a tackler. Green Bay figured that out and had a sequence in which they ran at Jones on three consecutive plays. Those plays went for gains of seven yards, 10 yards, 15 yards, and a touchdown.

After the Patriots lost two high-quality cornerbacks in Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson in the past year, they drafted Jones out of Arizona as a potential replacement. Based on his performance against one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Jones appears to have a bright future. 

You can follow Kevin Tame Jr. on Twitter @Kevin_Tame

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