As the Buffalo Bills prepare to host the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, Sean McDermott and company need to look for any weaknesses the Patriots might have if they want to pull off the upset. Derek Anderson in particular, will need to do his homework. And why not? Through study, it’s likely he can be taught to find the Achilles heel in the defense. One place opportunity might exist will be match-ups against slot corner Jonathan Jones. Let’s take a peek.
Tyreek Hill does this to a lot of people, so it’s hard to fault Jonathan Jones completely. Jones is toast pretty much from the snap. Shockingly, Jones’s help doesn’t even start to enter the situation until way too late. Jones is a poor match for a speedster and this is one way that the Bills can attack the Patriots’ defense. This wasn’t the only instance where Jones was asked to cover Hill either. The only thing that stopped this from being a touchdown was ball placement.
Sammy Watkins sees Jones and uses another Patriot to make the play for him. Jones isn’t always able to navigate around a busy part of the field and this too can present opportunities for the Bills. If Patrick Mahomes was looking Watkins’ way, this play would be making the rounds on social media.
There’s very little adjustment by the Patriots to Kareem Hunt’s movement in the backfield. The end result is that Jonathan Jones becomes responsible for Hunt. By the time Jones realizes this, there’s no stopping a chunk play. The closing speed is good and the angle adjustment keeps Hunt from a finesse move to blow by Jones.
Zay Jones can make this cut all day and the Bills might be wise to try setting it up. Note that Jonathan Jones doesn’t shy from the late bump. He’s not afraid to play physical football, but this route beats him cleanly.
It’s rare to see Jones in zone looks but here he is in a game against the Houston Texans. He passes his man off cleanly and closes fast when it’s time to rush in. Between the three defenders, the ball carrier is boxed in well.
This chippy play occurred regularly between Jones and the Kansas City Chiefs. On the play before this one Jones grabbed and instigated— this play was the retaliation. A few times it looked like it would lead to punches. Jones can be a little grabby on routes as well, so look for scrapping and cross your fingers it’s Jones who earns the flags.
Jonathan Jones is at his best when he’s playing more like a safety. With the run in front of him, he displays patience and sets his foot decisively to cut around the lineman and make the tackle.
Here’s a similar play but with a true open-field tackle to make. Mahomes has a couple options to look for with his cut. Jones waits it out and forces Mahomes to commit. Once Mahomes’s decision is made, he’s rewarded with a lowered shoulder from Jones.
Jonathan Jones could be a player the Bills look to find some opportunities against on Monday night. Without an established burner on the team, it’s unlikely the Bills can replicate what Tyreek Hill did to Jones above. Crossing routes, comebacks, hitches and similar routes are something the Bills do have in Zay Jones. If Derek Anderson can establish some rhythm with the second-year receiver, it could pay off. When the Bills host the Pats on Monday Night Football, fans might want to keep up with the Joneses.