Patriots

‘He’s really improved’: Bill Belichick praised Marcus Jones following New England’s 10-3 victory over Jets

Jones returned a punt for a touchdown with five seconds remaining in the game to lift the Patriots to the win.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during the first half of the team's game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Patriots extended their winning streak to three in thrilling fashion on Sunday, as Marcus Jones returned a punt for a touchdown with five seconds remaining in the game to lift New England to a 10-3 victory over the Jets.

Following the game, head coach Bill Belichick described how he has been impressed by Jones’ development.

“Marcus is really quick and I think [wide receivers and kick returners coach] Troy Brown has done a really great job with him,” Belichick told reporters. “Where Marcus was when he got here and where he is now are an ocean apart.”

While Jones returned punts and kicks in college, Belichick noted that Patriots coaches “didn’t feel like he was quite ready [to return punts] at the beginning of the year.”

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But, Jones “has worked hard and he’s really improved,” according to Belichick. “He’s had a number of big returns for us.”

Jones may have benefitted from some extra return opportunities earlier this week, as New England notably practiced in Gillette Stadium (as opposed to on their regular practice fields) on Friday to prepare for Sunday’s windy conditions.

“It was good to get in [Gillette Stadium] on Friday and get the specialists to kick and the [return team] to anticipate the direction of the ball and how the return was going to be set up based on where the wind was going to carry it,” Belichick said.

Despite a stronger wind on Sunday, Belichick felt that the extra work in the stadium prepared the Patriots for the way the ball would move in the conditions.

“In general, the balls went to the Jets sideline, and that’s the way we had practiced on Friday,” he pointed out. “The wind was stronger than it was on Friday, but we had the general idea about the way the ball was going to go and how we would call certain returns based on whatever the situation was.”

Though the weather conditions certainly also played a role in the Patriots’ offensive performance, it was another lackluster showing from the New England offense.

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Quarterback Mac Jones was efficient, completing 23 of 27 passes for 246 yards, but was sacked six times on the day, killing a number of drives.

Belichick noted that, while they moved the ball, the Patriots have to do a better job of ending drives with points.

“Moved the ball — we had 300 yards of offense, but only three points,” Belichick said. So, did a poor job of finishing our drives and getting the ball in good field position in scoring range, or into the red area and into the end zone.”

“Got to find a way to do that better, but it’s good to do it [coming] from a win.”

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