DALLAS — The Patriots announced Saturday that cornerback Jonathan Jones and guard Cole Strange have been downgraded to out for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.
Both were listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.
Strange has struggled with knee issues after suffering an injury during training camp. The 25-year-old, in his second season, left in the second half of last Sunday’s win over the Jets.
Rookie Atonio Mafi is the most likely candidate to take Strange’s place in the starting lineup — the fifth-round pick out of UCLA went wire to wire in the opener against the Eagles, and was part of the rotation up front against the Dolphins and Jets.
The 30-year-old Jones will miss his third consecutive game because of an ankle injury. Myles Bryant has stepped in along the boundary in Jones’s absence, and will likely see the bulk of the snaps in Jones’s place against the Cowboys. At the same time, the veteran’s absence continues to underscore the fact that New England is relatively thin at corner, as Marcus Jones and Jack Jones remain sidelined.
The fate of three others who were listed as questionable — defensive tackles Christian Barmore (knee) and Davon Godchaux (ankle), and cornerback Shaun Wade (shoulder) — will be revealed 90 minutes before kickoff when the inactives are announced.
No fine for Jones
Mac Jones will not be fined for his actions in the game against the Jets, according to a report from NFL Media.
The quarterback was involved in a dustup with cornerback Sauce Gardner late in the game, with Gardner claiming Jones hit him in the groin at the end of a play.
“Sauce is one of the best corners in the NFL,” Jones said on WEEI the day after the game. “I have a lot of respect for him. On that play, nothing was intentional. I just got up and went back to the huddle, and that’s it.”
While Jones wasn’t fined, two other Patriots weren’t so lucky. Safety Jabrill Peppers was fined $43,709 and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster $16,391 for unnecessary roughness against the Jets.
Judon a big fan
Matthew Judon, who is tied with Dallas’s Micah Parsons for fourth in the league with four sacks, has plenty of respect for his fellow pass rusher, although he says it would be “disrespectful” to suggest Parsons is a one-dimensional player.
“He’s been tearing it up ever since he got in the league,” Judon said. “I think we’d be disrespectful if we just call him a pass rusher. For real. He’s able to do anything and everything you ask him to do.
“He does everything 100 miles per hour. You say that about people and they kind of luck into plays, [but] with him, there’s no luck about it. He has fortune on his side, but he plays with a motor only a few people have in this league. He’s one of them. I’m a big fan.”
Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt leads the NFL with six sacks, while Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter has five. Like Judon and Parsons, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett has four.
The Patriots elevated defensive lineman Jeremiah Pharms from the practice squad for Sunday’s game. The 26-year-old is likely an insurance policy in case Barmore or Godchaux are unable to play . . . There are several members of the Patriots who are Texas natives who will be playing in front of family and friends, including defensive back Jalen Mills, who will have his grandmother in attendance. “Kind of like my second mom, for sure,” Mills said. “She didn’t raise me, but in the majority of the summertime [growing up], that’s kind of like where I wanted to be, with my grandmother.” . . . Is this the week Smith-Schuster breaks out? The Cowboys have been dealing with the loss of cornerback Trevon Diggs, which means New England might be able to take advantage of a Dallas secondary that’s still finding its footing after losing a Pro Bowl defender. Smith-Schuster, who has 10 catches for 66 yards, says he’s taking the slow start in stride. “I’ve played in this league for so long that you kind of learn how to adapt and do things that the team is needing,” he said. “I feel like me being here, I love my role. I embrace it. It’s fun. I do a lot of dirty work, which is nice, too.” . . . All three opponents thus far ran exactly 61 offensive plays against the Patriots . . . According to the Patriots, if they can hold the Cowboys to fewer than 40 rushing yards, it would be the sixth time in franchise history the Patriots held back-to-back opponents under 40. The last time it happened was in 2015.