In his day, Troy Brown was a three-phase wonder for the Patriots. He was primarily a wide receiver on offense, but was also the punt returner on special teams, and also dabbled on defense in the secondary.
He performed those roles on three championship teams.
So he has a pretty good handle on the exploits of Patriots rookie Marcus Jones, who is also being utilized in all three phases of the game being a return specialist, a cornerback, not to mention part-time slot receiver.
During a video call with reporters Monday, Brown, who was one of the first players Bill Belichick ever utilized in that fashion, was asked if Jones was comparable to him as a player.
“Marcus is far ahead of me,” said Brown, who currently serves as the Patriots receivers and returners coach. “He’s far ahead of where I was, especially at this point in his career. He’s continuing to earn the right to be on the field. So, let’s hope he keeps it up.”
Told the remark was incredibly humble, the Patriots Hall of Famer responded: “It’s the truth.”
Jones, the Patriots third-round draft pick out of Houston, has really come on of late.
During the Week 11 win over the New York Jets, Jones brought back an 84-yard punt return for the game-winning touchdown with five seconds left on the clock.
The following week against Minnesota, he had a 46-yard kickoff return and one special teams tackle. Then on Thursday night against Buffalo, Jones played three snaps on offense. He took his first snap to the house, pulling in a Mac Jones screen pass and running 46 yards for a touchdown.
Add in 34 snaps on defense, along with his special teams work, and Marcus Jones hit the trifecta, which is something he also did in college.
Due to offseason surgery on both shoulders, Jones didn’t participate in any of the early camps, but the 5-foot-8, 174-pound cornerback has come a long way since then.
“He’s developing into a player that’s going to help us all over the field, special teams, defense and now on offense,” said Brown. “He’s just a good runner with the ball in his hands. He’s fast, he’s quick, he’s strong and he’s tough. The important thing, he has a great attitude about playing football. So, he’s a guy that wants to be out there, wants to be involved, and he wants to help . . .
“I’m very confident that he can make plays. Those are the type of people you love working with.”