Patriots inactives: Jonathan Jones, Trent Brown ruled out against Dolphins; Strange, Onwenu return

Jonathan Jones' absence will be felt as New England tries to slow down Tyreek Hill.

New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones (31) prepares to defend during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass.
Jonathan Jones has been ruled out on Sunday night against the Dolphins. AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots received both good and bad news just an hour ahead of kick-off against the Dolphins.

After missing New England’s season opener against the Eagles last week, the Patriots starting guards Mike Onwenu (ankle) and Cole Strange (knee) are expected to return and slot in next to center David Andrews.

However, the Patriots’ O-line took another hit at the tackle position, as Trent Brown (concussion) will not play against Miami.

New England’s most devastating absence on Sunday might be found in its defensive backfield, as starting boundary corner and proven Tyreek Hill equalizer Jonathan Jones will not play on Sunday due to an ankle injury.


Here are the Patriots and Dolphins’ inactive lists:


LT Trent Brown
CB Jonathan Jones 
OL Sidy Sow
OLB Anfernee Jennings
WR Kayshon Boutte
DT Sam Roberts
DB Ameer Speed


QB Skylar Thompson
CB Kelvin Joseph
WE Cedrick Wilson Jr.
LB Jaelan Phillips
DB Elijah Campbell
T Terron Armstead
TE Julian Hill

There are few proven schemes and strategies that can successfully slow down a lightning-quick receiver like Hill.

But New England has found plenty of success over the last few years by putting a speedy corner in Jones in coverage against Hill, usually with another safety over the top. 

As noted by Mark Daniels of, Jones has matched up against Hill six times in his career. In those games, Hill has seven catches on 16 targets for 88 yards against Jones. Opposing QBs have a 35.4 passer rating when targeting Hill with the Patriots’ defensive back in coverage. 

With Jack Jones (IR) also out, the Patriots will likely need to rely on Marcus Jones, Shaun Wade, and Myles Bryant for additional reps on the outside against Hill. Marcus Jones and Bryant were already set to have their hands full against another dynamic wideout in Jaylen Waddle out of the slot.

Brown’s loss at left tackle will also create a carousel of candidates to protect Jones’s blind side. Veteran Calvin Anderson will likely slot over from right tackle and take Brown’s spot, while a trade pickup like Vederian Lowe could be pushed into a starting role.


The return of both Strange and Onwenu on the interior does offer hope for a strong showing on the ground from the Patriots.

New England has the personnel in place with Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott to both drain the clock and gash Miami’s defense in the trenches.

The Patriots’ O-line woes at the guard position hindered New England’s ability to put together an effective run game in Week 1 against the Eagles. The Patriots only gained 76 rushing yards on 22 attempts (3.5 yards per carry), forcing Mac Jones to throw the ball 54 times against Philadelphia.

Strange and Onwenu should fare better at creating holes for both Stevenson and Elliott against Miami.

After missing Week 1, wide receiver DeVante Parker is also set to return for New England, with rookie Kayshon Boutte placed on the inactive list. Parker’s ability to reel in contested catches on the sideline was missed against the Eagles.

Despite New England’s various losses, the Dolphins are also missing some key contributors on Sunday. Starting left tackle Terron Armstead has been ruled out for a second-straight game, which stands as good news for a potent Patriots pass rush.

Considering New England’s depth issues at tackle, Miami losing pass rusher Jaelan Phillips is also a lift for Bill Belichick’s roster.


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