OCTOBER 26: McDaniel is now ruling Jones out for the season. Miami’s first-year HC said Jones suffered an ACL tear. The former third-round pick will not return until 2023, the final year of his rookie contract.
OCTOBER 24: It’s looking like the Dolphins will be without starting safety Brandon Jones for an extended period of time as he heads to the injured reserve list, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jones suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of the team’s win over the Steelers Sunday night, and the prognosis is not encouraging.
Jones took over the starting strong safety job last season and has been a reliable presence in the Miami secondary ever since. He provides a versatility that has become very popular for safeties in today’s game. As a starter last season, Jones was able to accumulate 5.0 sacks, 6.0 tackles for loss, and 10 quarterback hits. He’s shown more physical ability than coverage ability over his first three years in the league with only one interception but three forced fumbles so far in his career, but he showed an improvement in coverage so far this year racking up a career-high three passes defensed through only seven games.
Jones heading to IR means he’ll miss at least four games, but head coach Mike McDaniel‘s comments make it seem like the Dolphins will be without Jones for longer than that. When asked about the issue, McDaniel explained, “There is some lingering college stuff that is complicating the issue. I’m not excited about it.” McDaniel went on to say that he was “hesitant to rule (Jones) out for the year” until they were able to get more information, but the fact that a season-ending injury is on the table is a scary prospect for Miami.
Jones going down just adds to the list of injuries the Dolphins have been dealing with this season on both sides of the ball but in the secondary, particularly. Obviously, the injury to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been receiving most of the conversation this year, but the secondary in Miami has been dealing with several bumps and bruises.
While the Dolphins are happy to have Xavien Howard and Noah Igbinoghene leading the cornerback group, the team’s depth at the position has suffered. Byron Jones has been on the reserve/physically unable to perform list all year and Nik Needham is set to miss the rest of the season after tearing his Achilles tendon last week. Keion Crossen and undrafted rookie Kader Kohou have also missed a couple of games lately.
In Jones’ absence last night, the Dolphins split safety snaps between backups Eric Rowe and Clayton Fejedelem and practice squad callup Verone McKinley. The team will search for a long-term solution to replace Jones this week, but, if the team isn’t impressed with what Rowe, Fejedelem, or McKinley have to offer, they may be forced to make a last-second move before the trade deadline.