Miami wide receiver Tyreek Hill, left is defended by New England cornerback Jonathan Jones in a game on Jan. 1 in Foxborough, Mass. Greg M. Cooper/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH — Tyreek Hill is a problem for defensive coordinators. For the past eight seasons, the speedy wide receiver has been nearly impossible to stop.

Unless your name is Jonathan Jones.

Since becoming a mainstay in the Patriots’ secondary, Jones has been the Patriots’ secret weapon against Hill. The 5-foot-10 cornerback has matched up with the 5-foot-10 receiver six times in his NFL career. In those games, Hill has seven catches on 16 targets for 88 yards against Jones.

Last season, Hill finished with 119 receptions, and 1,710 yards to go with seven touchdowns. That earned him first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Last weekend, he had an 11 receptions and 215 receiving yards in the Dolphins’ win over the Chargers.

A big key for the Patriots this weekend will be to make sure that doesn’t happen again. That’s where Jones comes in.

“You just try to be physical,” Jones said of covering Hill. “Hit him when you can, slow him down, and try to match speed with speed. That’s your best bet.”


Opposing quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Teddy Bridgewater and Skylar Thompson) have completed just 44% of their passes when targeting the All-Pro receiver against Jones. Those quarterbacks also have a 35.4 rating when targeting Hill with Jones in coverage.

As the Patriots prep for Sunday’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins, Jones will once again try to slow down Hill.

“He has an incredible skill set,” Jones said. “It’s just one of those things with a guy like that – explosive. Any play – he can take a 3-yard pass and take it the distance. He keeps the defense on their toes every play.”

Of course, Hill has had some success against the Patriots. In 2017 opener, he caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in a Kansas City win. Jones played only three defensive snaps.

In 2018, Hill caught seven passes for 142 yards with three touchdowns against the Patriots. The coaching staff played Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty 100% of the defensive snaps that day. Hill did the most damage against the Patriots’ zone defense.

Mahomes went 0 for 1 when targeting his receiver with Jones in coverage.


After that, Hill’s been relatively quiet against the Patriots. In 2019, Jones matched up with the receiver for most of the Patriots’ 23-16 loss against the Chiefs. Mahomes was 4 of 6 for 38 yards with Jones in coverage. In 2020, Mahomes was just 1 of 3 for 22 yards when targeting Hill with Jones in man coverage. The receiver finished with 64 yards that day.

Last year, Hill caught eight passes for 94 yards in his Dolphins debut against the Patriots in Week 1. Tagovailoa was just 2 of 4 for 28 yards when Jones was in coverage. Most of Hill’s production that day came against zone coverage. His biggest gain (26 yards) was with Jack Jones in coverage.

It was similar in Week 17 last year. Hill finished with four catches for 55 yards, but Dolphins quarterbacks were 0 for 2 with an interception when Jones was in coverage.

COACH BILL Belichick was his usual cagey self when asked about the status of starting guards Cole Strange and Mike Onwenu – who did not play in Week 1 – heading into Week 2.

“Oh yeah, I think they’ll eventually play,” Belichick said. “We’ll see when that is. We’ll just take it day by day. Last time they practiced was Friday. So, it’s five days later. We’ll (see) what kind of progress they’ve made.”

Onwenu spent most of the summer on the PUP list after undergoing ankle surgery this offseason. Strange suffered a knee injury in the Patriots’ first padded practice of the summer.


THE PATRIOTS are signing quarterback Ian Book to their practice squad, according to a reports.

The 6-foot, 206-pounder worked out with the team on Wednesday. He was selected by the Saints in the fourth round of the 2021 draft out of Notre Dame and most recently was with the Eagles.

The Patriots needed a third QB after placing Matt Corral on the exempt/left squad list last week. Mac Jones started Sunday’s game against the Eagles, with Bailey Zappe serving as his backup. The Patriots also have QB/wide receiver Malik Cunningham on the practice squad.

Zappe was signed off the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Saturday.

Book was waived by the Saints in August 2022 and claimed by the Eagles. The 25-year-old was waived by the Eagles on Aug. 29.

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