The Detroit Lions offense is going through growing pains as a new scheme is being implemented. But this veteran wideout is putting on an early show.
When the Detroit Lions traded away longtime wide receiver Golden Tate last season, it was believed to allow for budding superstar Kenny Golladay to assume the throne as Motown’s newest primary receiving threat. And Golladay certainly stepped up, leading the Lions with 70 catches for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns in only his second season in the Motor City.
Of course, Golladay not only had to replace Tate’s production but that of veteran wideout Marvin Jones Jr. as well. The latter suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 10, limiting the seven-year veteran to just nine games in 2018. Jones would only record 35 receptions for 508 yards, his lowest totals since his rookie year. He was still able to post five scores though.
This offseason it was speculated that the 29-year-old Jones might be on the roster bubble. That was due, in part, to his age and since he’s scheduled to count $18 million-plus against the salary cap over the next two seasons.
Yet, Jones has seemingly let his play respond to those rumors. Here’s what mLive.com’s Kyle Meinke wrote regarding how much the veteran wideout has stood out through the early portion of Lions’ training camp so far.
"“No receiver has been better than Marvin Jones. Not Amendola, and not even Golladay. Jones is coming off a knee injury that limited him to nine games last year and held him out of team drills this year until the start of camp. But man has he been tough to handle since returning … the early signs do point to Jones being ready for a bounce-back year.”"
There will be several mouths to feed for quarterback Matthew Stafford in this new offensive scheme headed now by former Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Not only does Jones have receivers like Golladay and the newly-signed Danny Amendola to compete for targets with, but an entirely new tight end’s group headed by 2019 first-round selection T.J. Hockenson.
Marvin Jones Jr. seemed to be on a similar path as Golden Tate was last year heading into this season, meaning he may be viewed as expendable to the Detroit Lions. Jones is an aging receiver coming off a season-ending injury who’s scheduled to make a big dent in the salary cap. But Jones appears to be playing like a number one wide receiver in camp. And he could quite possibly assume the throne left open by Tate as the Lions’ best wideout.