Cyrus Jones made a costly mistake on Sunday, throwing a punch at Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins and earning an automatic ejection during the third quarter of the Patriots’ 33-13 win. In the grand scheme of things, the rookie cornerback’s actions had no bearing on the outcome of the game — but they could have.
Jones must realize that, as veteran linebacker Dont’a Hightower revealed on WEEI in Boston that the 22-year-old was remorseful after the game and apologized to the entire team. That’s certainly a step in the right direction.
While it may not have been a big deal on this particular occasion, Jones must be able to keep his cool on the field at all times. If this were a close game against a quality opponent, say even a playoff game, he would’ve been putting both defense and special teams in a bind with his ejection, even as a part-time player. As a second-round draft pick, the Patriots obviously hope Jones will one day become a starter.
Of course, based on Jones’ performance Sunday, that scenario might not be playing out anytime soon. His frustrations boiled over in part because he was struggling mightily in coverage, and it appears he has a long way to go before being elevated from the fourth corner on the depth chart.
Still, Jones did demonstrate a lot of maturity by apologizing to his teammates, and there’s reason to believe that room for growth could translate on the field as well. He’s not the first player to get into a scuffle and throw a punch, nor will he be the last. As long as Jones can learn from his mistakes, both with losing his temper and how he covers receivers on the field, the future is still bright in New England.