Mac Jones Takes Another Step Toward Return At Latest Patriots Practice

Jones could make his return this week


Oct 20, 2022

FOXBORO, Mass. — Reports Thursday morning indicated Mac Jones is likely to start this week when the New England Patriots host the Chicago Bears.

Thursday’s practice offered more supporting evidence.

Jones, who’s missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain, began the Patriots’ first practice of Week 7 by leading a sled drill with New England’s offensive linemen.

Why is that relevant? Because that’s typically the responsibility of the expected starting quarterback. Brian Hoyer did it in Week 4, when he initially replaced Jones before suffering his own injury and giving way to Zappe. Last week, Zappe was the one leading that drill, with Jones and practice squadder Garrett Gilbert throwing elsewhere.

Jones also appeared to move freely Thursday, without the limp that hindered him for two weeks after his injury, and his ankles were not as heavily taped, though he may have been wearing some sort of brace on his injured left one.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported before practice that Jones “expects to be available” when the Patriots host the Bears on “Monday Night Football.” A subsequent report from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe indicated Jones will start over Zappe when he is healthy enough to return.

The Patriots, who are coming off back-to-back wins with Zappe behind center, will practice again Friday and Saturday.

Other observations from Thursday’s session:

— Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and wide receiver Nelson Agholor (hamstring) were not spotted during the open media portion of practice. Guy has not played since Week 3; Agholor sat out last week’s win over the Cleveland Browns.

Every other player was present, including D-tackle Christian Barmore (knee), cornerback Jonathan Jones (ankle), wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (toe) and linebacker Josh Uche (hamstring), all of whom are dealing with injuries. Jones and Uche did not play against Cleveland, and Barmore and Bourne left that game before halftime.

— Newcomer Raleigh Webb made his Patriots debut one day after being signed off the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad. He’s listed as a wide receiver but worked with the special teamers during the open media window. The undrafted rookie, who was assigned No. 44, should help fill the void left by Cody Davis’ season-ending knee injury.

New practice squad edge rusher Ron’Dell Carter also practiced for the first time.

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images
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