Rookie cornerback Marcus Jones running away with kick returner jobs

Podcast Episode
1st & Foxborough
Devin Lloyd should’ve been a Patriot! “1st and Fox” laments
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

It was only a matter of time before the rookie third-round pick Marcus Jones got his opportunity to seize the punt returner job for the Patriots. Add the kick returner spot to that ledger as well, apparently.

A week after getting his first two kick returns of the season against the Baltimore Ravens, Jones had a second strong week in a row as a return man, taking back four kickoffs for 111 yards (27.75-yard average) and two punts for 45 yards (24.5-yard average).

Just like that, the young cornerback has found his way onto the football field, and it doesn't look like he's about to give the jobs back.

"He's been just doing a great job at practice, getting better each day," said Patriots special teams coach Cam Achord. "Reading kickers, reading punters at this level is a totally different animal…those guys are really good at what they do. But he's done a great job adjusting, getting used to the NFL, working every day at practice. Can't say enough about the guy."

Jones' speed and burst stood out as unique when compared to every other returner on the team during training camp -- even Pierre Strong Jr. and his 4.37 40-yard dash. The All-American return man out of Houston isn't just fast; he gets up to speed in a hurry, and his strength and contact balance belie his 5-foot-8, 185-pound frame.

He also showed he could take coaching in the game, obeying Achord and the coaching staff's commands to let the ball bounce inside the 10-yard line in overtime and avoid putting the football in harm's way.

Achord, of course, wouldn't commit to Jones as the punt and kick returner going forward, saying the team has "a thorough process" for making those decisions on a weekly basis.

That said, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce Jones will likely get the first crack at returning punts and kicks next week given how little production they've gotten in the kick return game and Myles Bryant's two muffed punts.

As long as Jones can keep the ball from hitting the turf, the Patriots will keep putting him back there. And one of these days, he's probably going to flip the field in a big way.