Marvin Jones was signed to soften the blow of losing Calvin Johnson. Nobody, however, expected him to come close to matching Megatron’s production in his first season as a Lion.
Surprisingly, Jones leads Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, A.J. Green and every other NFL receiver in yards through five weeks. Prior to coming to Detroit, Jones had a reputation as a big-play threat. It’s really been his all-around game, though, that has been opening people’s eyes. After never once reaching 900 receiving yards in a single season — 816 yards in 2015 was his career-high — Jones has 519 yards and 3 touchdowns in five games. He’s over halfway to his first 1,000-yard season and on pace for 1,660 yards.
After never reaching 900 receiving yards in a single season, Jones has 519 yards and 3 touchdowns in 5 games. He’s over halfway to his first 1,000 yard season and on pace for 1,660 yards.
Most assumed it would be Golden Tate who would take on the majority of the load after Johnson’s retirement. But Tate just hasn’t looked the same thus far and before last week, he was a virtual non-factor. Some of that is on Tate, but as we saw during the nine seasons when Johnson was here, one player’s elite production has a tendency of diminishing the others at the WR position. Matthew Stafford was reportedly showing great chemistry with Jones during training camp, but few saw this coming.
Stafford certainly deserves some credit for Jones’ sudden emergence this season. One of the biggest criticisms of the Lions QB has been his inability to make receivers better. Few remember that Calvin Johnson wasn’t “Megatron” — although great –until Stafford threw him the ball in 2011. Johnson’s 1,681 yards in 2011 ended any debate over whether he was an elite receiver. In case you’re wonderring, through his first five games that year, Johnson had 451 yards. (Jones has 519). Johnson was already great, but having Stafford over the next five years helped him become the undisputed best in the game.
Many were skeptical of Jones’ early-season production. But when you’re leading Julio Jones after 5 games — especially considering Julio had a 300-yard game last week — it’s time to acknowledge that Marvin Jones is playing as good as any receiver in the league right now. It’s hard to see him finishing as the NFL’s leading receiver but with Stafford throwing him the ball, there’s no reason to think he can’t sustain this level of production, barring injury. Jones is not Calvin Johnson, but he’s young enough to become a top-5 wide receiver as Matthew Stafford’s number-one option over the next few years.
Follow SideLion Editor Matt Urben on twitter @MattUrben88.