Nate Jones starting to settle in with the Patriots
|12.08.11 at 12:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Nate Jones has finally allowed himself to take a breath.
The defensive back was signed by the Patriots on Nov. 30, and four days later, he was on the field with New England, playing 70 of a possible 74 defensive snaps in Sunday’s win over the Colts. He finished with nine tackles (six solo) and a pass defensed in his first action with the Patriots.
Now, with just over a week in the system, he’s just starting to get his bearings when it comes to life in Foxboro.
‘I’m settled down now,’ he said before practice on Thursday. ‘It’s life in the NFL — things happen fast, on the field and off the field. Wherever you are, you’ve got to be ready. I’m good now. Getting settled, learning the schedule, learning my way around. It’s not bad.’
The 29-year-old Jones, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound defensive back out of Rutgers, was drafted in the seventh round by the Cowboys in 2004, and played four seasons with Dallas before making stopovers in Miami and Denver. His finest season came in 2009 with the Dolphins, when he played in 16 games (making four starts) and made 54 tackles (45 solo) with 10 passes defensed and two interceptions. He was cut by the Dolphins on Oct. 5, and signed by New England late last month.
Against the Colts, the Patriots used a lot of nickel coverage, and utilized Jones as a slot corner for much of the afternoon.
‘I thought Nate did a good job,’ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ‘I mean, he wasn’t even familiar with what we were doing, so he had a steeper learning curve, but he’s a more experienced player, so there’s a tradeoff there. I thought Nate did a pretty good job for us. [He] played the defenses pretty well, was good in communication, got his hands on a couple balls, made a few plays. It was far from perfect, but I thought he did a good job.’
According to Jones, the assimilation process has been relatively easy.
‘I think just playing football, you recognize certain things, certain concepts, certain techniques. But no scheme is going to be identical. It’s hard to really compare schemes. But just being a football player, you understand certain concepts of the game, no matter what team you’re on.’