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Duke in the NFL: Jones out for season, Gray maintains production for Chiefs

Former Blue Devil Daniel Jones is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Former Blue Devil Daniel Jones is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Over the last two weeks, a few former Blue Devils have made headlines — good and bad — for their respective NFL teams. The Blue Zone is here to break down their performances:

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

After a poor start to his fifth professional season, Daniel Jones’ year went from bad to worse Nov. 5. against the Raiders. Early in the second quarter, Jones suffered a non-contact knee injury, which turned out to be an ACL tear, prematurely ending his season. This year proved to be Jones’ worst professional season, as the former Blue Devil threw just two touchdowns to just six interceptions in six contests. Meanwhile, he was sacked on nearly 16% of his drop backs while being an outright non-factor on deep throws. The Charlotte native deserves some leeway for his rough season due to injury and low sample size, but it’s fair to think that he has fallen short of his $160 million contract. Jones will look to rehab to full health for the 2024 season, where he and the Giants hope to rebound from a disastrous year thus far.

Noah Gray, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

The 2023 season has proven unusual for the normally-formidable Kansas City Chiefs offense, in part due to the lack of quality wideouts. Against the Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany, Nov. 5,  Noah Gray seized on the opportunity to show out in place of strong receiver play. The tight end hauled in all three of his targets for 34 yards, leading the Chiefs in receiving yards for the first time in his career. Gray’s catches included a 25-yard pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Kansas City’s opening drive, which helped set up a touchdown. The 7-2 Chiefs next play the Philadelphia Eagles in a Super Bowl rematch on Monday Night Football Nov. 20. 

Lucas Patrick, C, Chicago Bears

The Bears are in the midst of another rough season, sporting a 3-7 record thus far while their primary quarterback, Justin Fields, has dealt with injury and inconsistency. While Lucas Patrick has largely struggled at the center position for the Bears this season, he showed out Thursday night in a win against the Panthers. The former Blue Devil played 72 snaps and blocked well for lead running back D’Onta Foreman, who finished with 80 yards and a touchdown. With Fields uncertain to return in the coming weeks, Patrick and the Bears will hope to score an upset victory over the 7-2 Lions Sunday.

Thomas Hennessy, LS, New York Jets

Five former Blue Devils currently play on New York’s two teams, yet one stands out as a stalwart in an unusual position - long snapper Thomas Hennessy. Hennessy’s role as the de facto center during field goals, PATs and punts has kept him relatively incognito amongst former Blue Devils, let alone NFL players in general. However, his consistency deserves mention. Against the Raiders in a loss Sunday night, Hennessy snapped the ball for four field goal kicks and five punts. Of course, Jets fans ideally would like to see Hennessy appear less, as their offense — which ranks near the bottom of the league in most metrics — has had to punt the ball away a staggering 52 times this season. Even then, the Bardonia, N.Y., native will remain an unsung hero on a routine special teams play, one that only works with his near-perfect execution.


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