Note: Don't read too much into this. These aren't definitive ratings or anything. Just some information that may or may not want to use.
During the broadcast of the Patriots' game against the Dolphins, Patriots radio color analyst Scott Zolak said something that was certainly of interest to me: Jonathan Jones had been the highest-rated cornerback on the team in the previous four games. Zolak wouldn't tell me where he got that information, but I can almost guarantee you it didn't come from ProFootballFocus.com or FootballOutsiders.com. That's not the way Zo rolls. Therefore, you can guess where the team-paid talent got that information.
Made me wonder how that stacks up with my plus/minus ratings, so I went back through each of the games and tallied them up. Well, here they are:
Yeah, I was as surprised as you. But, it's in line with Zolak's (ahem) information. A couple things about this:
- I'm not telling you that Jonathan Jones is better than Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore. That is a measure of talent and other factors. This is about efficiency in playing the position and role that player is assigned for that play.
- The way I go through the film, the players that see the most action are always going to have more numbers (good and bad). I put a premium on the actual play, and don't as heavily weigh things away from the ball (but they do factor in on occasions).
- Jones, as the slot corner and third corner to proven veterans like Gilmore and Butler, is going to have more chances because he's more likely to be targeted more by opposing offenses. That being said, he's more than made the most of those chances.
- For kicks, here are the PFF ratings to this point:
The only definitive thing I'll say about this is, this is part of the reason why, when asked about the position and next season, I've said I'm just fine going with Gilmore, a healthy Eric Rowe, and Jones next season if Butler walks in free agency. Roll the ball out and let's go. I'm good with that group.
And, also, that Jones reminds me a lot of a young Butler. Same hunger. Same take-no-crap, don't-back-down-from-anyone attitude. What that means for the future? We'll see.