Even though the Detroit Lions did not end up in the playoffs this season, there were some bright spots. The great season Marvin Jones Jr. had is one of them.
All the articles written about the Detroit Lions in the past week have appeared to display a negative tone towards this past season.
Whether its discussing potential head coaching options after Jim Caldwell’s firing, the struggles of the injury-prone offensive line, or the running backs ranking dead last in the league, no one seems to be thinking positive thoughts about the Cardiac Cats at the moment.
Despite the disappointing finish, there are some great things that happened this season, as a handful of players appeared to have breakout seasons. One of those players is wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., who posted many career bests in his second season for the Lions.
Jones Jr. was targeted a career high 108 times this season, and he put those targets to good work. He was one of 15 wide receivers to post more than 1,000 yards this season, as he finished with a career high 1,101 yards receiving in 2017.
One of the few bright spots in the Lions’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was the fact that Jones Jr. passed the 1,000 yard mark against his former team in that game. Despite his incredible accomplishments like this one, Marvin had the perfect team mentality all season long, as he only seemed to care about one thing: winning.
“Obviously, it is what it is,” Jones Jr. told The Detroit News. “It’s a nice personal accomplishment, but at the same time, we’re here to win games.”
Jones Jr. not only gained a lot of yards, he also made a lot of crucial catches and capitalized on his scoring opportunities.
He had another career high of 44 receiving first downs, as he was always one of Stafford’s first options when needing to convert on third down. Jones Jr. also had nine touchdowns on the year, tying for fourth in the league, along with All-Pro MVP candidate Antonio Brown.
Marvin Jones Jr. has shown significant improvement from his days with the Cincinnati Bengals, as he’s done better in pretty much every significant statistical category with the Detroit Lions.
Perhaps the most drastic improvement for Jones Jr. was in yards per catch, as Jone Jr. appeared to be an expert with the deep ball this season. His YPC improved by more than 4 total yards in his first year with the Lions (12.6 to 16.9). And in 2017, he improved yet again in the category, averaging a league-high 18.0 yards per catch.
After a phenomenal season in which Jones Jr. finished in the top ten in both yards gained and receiving touchdowns, it’s an absolute shame that he didn’t make the pro bowl. To his credit, he is listed as an alternate in the game for the moment, but the statistics say he deserved a spot in the pro bowl this season.
Maybe the main reason for his pro bowl snub was the fact that he is not a household name yet. Jones’ former teammate, Bengals Wide Receiver A.J. Green, made the pro bowl despite posting less total yards, less yards per catch and less touchdowns than the Lions receiver.
At the end of the day, one of the key factors towards the Lions winning nine games this season was the prolific passing attack, and Jones Jr. played a big role in that. He appears to be just hitting his prime, which is quite convenient considering the Lions have him locked up under contract for 3 more seasons.
Granted, there were a lot of disappointing parts to this Lions season, but because of Marvin Jones Jr.’s elite play this season, the wide receiving corp was never one of them. If Jones Jr. keeps having impressive seasons like this past one, expect to see no more Pro Bowl snubs for #11.