In less than 90 minutes, the New England Patriots will kick off their sixth game of the regular season. They will take on the Cleveland Browns on the road, but their quest to improve to 3-3 will have to happen without their starting quarterback yet again.
Still nursing an ankle injury, Mac Jones has been ruled out for a third straight week. He is among seven unable to play in the game against the Lions:
- WR Nelson Agholor
- S Joshuah Bledsoe
- DT Lawrence Guy
- RB Damien Harris
- CB Jonathan Jones
- QB Mac Jones
- LB Josh Uche
As opposed to the last two weeks, Mac Jones was not ruled out ahead of Sunday — making the trip to Cleveland with the rest of the team and even making a brief appearance during pre-game warmups. However, he is not yet ready for his return from a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 3.
His inactivity, meanwhile, will once again open the door for Bailey Zappe to serve as New England’s starter. The fourth-round rookie saw his first action in Week 4 against Green Bay before starting versus the Detroit Lions last Sunday.
Jones is not the only starter that has to be replaced by the Patriots against the Browns. Also absent will be cornerback Jonathan Jones (ankle) and wide receiver Nelson Agholor (hamstring), who were both ruled out on Saturday. Joining them on Sunday were running back Damien Harris (hamstring) and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (shoulder); all four of them would play prominent roles if healthy.
Additionally, the Patriots will be without linebacker Josh Uche (hamstring) and safety Joshuah Bledsoe (healthy scratch).
On the positive side, meanwhile, is the return of tight end Jonnu Smith. The veteran was absent last game after suffering an ankle injury the previous week, and was listed as questionable to play. The same is true for wide receiver Jakobi Meyer (knee), defensive tackle Christian Barmore (knee) and linebacker Raekwon McMillan (thumb); all of them have been cleared to play as well.
Additionally, rookie running back Kevin Harris is set to make his debut. He was signed to the active roster earlier this week, in an effort to help replace the ailing Damien Harris.
- DE Jadeveon Clowney
- RB Demetric Felton
- G Drew Forbes
- OT Joe Haeg
- OT Christopher Hubbard
- QB Kellen Mond
- CB Denzel Ward
The biggest names on Cleveland’s list of inactives are defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and cornerback Denzel Ward. Both are starters on the team’s defense but unable to play on Sunday due to ankle/knee/elbow issues and a concussion, respectively.