The New England Patriots soundly defeated the visiting Cincinnati Bengals 35-17 on Sunday, even without their top 2016 draft pick in uniform. Head coach Bill Belichick selected former Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones with the 60th overall pick this past spring, but the collegiate star’s professional career has not begun smoothly.
Jones was a healthy scratch against Cincinnati, watching newcomer corner Eric Rowe play his first snaps for the Patriots after being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in September. To his credit, Rowe performed well against superstar wideout A.J. Green. Rowe came up clutch with a pass breakup against Green in the fourth quarter, preventing a touchdown in the left corner of the end zone as the Bengals faced third-and-2 from the Patriots 7-yard line.
The Patriots opted to sit Jones one week after he was ejected in the team’s Week 5 victory against the Cleveland Browns. Jones was tossed after what referee Bill Vinovich deemed was a punch Jones threw at, and connected with, Cleveland wideout Andrew Hawkins.
Jones is trying to move forward from his healthy scratch.
“I try not to think too much about it, but of course, being a competitive guy you want to be out there,” Jones told EPSN’s Mike Reiss. “I try to control the things I can control and not worry too much about what I can’t. It is what it is.”
Jones still denies throwing the punch, according to Reiss. For now, he’s simply putting his head down and putting his time in on the practice field.
“Coaches are going to put out there who they feel deserves to be out there. Until my number is called, I’m going to keep working hard,” Jones said.