As pointed out in Friday’s notes, the NFL Network program "NFL HQ" broke down the Detroit Lions biggest issues on offense. During the segment, analyst Charley Casserly predictably talked about the loss of Calvin Johnson. But about halfway through the segment, Casserly said something puzzling (emphasis added):
"Now, let's talk about Marvin Jones. Comes over from the Cincinnati Bengals. What do I like about him? This guy does have deep speed. He can get deep. He can track the ball deep. He can make plays deep. Now, not the most physical guy off the line of scrimmage. He’ll drop some balls he should catch at times underneath. And durability is somewhat of a question."
It is the criticism about Jones’ drops that raises some eyebrows. Specifically, Marvin Jones’ eyebrows:
Drops balls??? Uh oh somebody didn't do their HW last night... @CharleyCasserly #TeamStickem https://t.co/BXxIpaWx6L— Marvin Jones Jr (@MarvinJonesJr) July 15, 2016
The homework Jones is referring to is just about any resource that tracks drops. Though drops is not an official NFL stat, there are plenty of sites that track that metric and all of them have Jones as one of the most sure-handed receivers in the league. STATS LLC. credited Jones with just two drops last year, according to MLive. Sporting Charts came up with the same number. Here’s what our partners over at Cincy Jungle had to say about Marvin Jones’ hands:
He had an impressive drop rate of 1.9 percent, only dropping 2 of his 103 targets according to sportingcharts.com. That was better than Detroit Lions legend Calvin Johnson (2.7%), New York Giants Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. (3.2%), Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas (5.1%) and New York Jets Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall (5.8%). In 2013, Jones was solid as well, dropping only 3 of his 80 targets for a drop rate of 3.8%.
To be fair, Jones faced some criticism about his hands coming out of college. From the New York Times blog in 2012:
There were some plays where Jones had lapses extending his arms away from his body to catch the ball, and this is one of the reasons he drops passes that are catchable. Jones also has lapses of concentration on routes where he thinks he has a chance to turn upfield after breaking back hard to the football. He needs to make sure he looks the ball into his hands and secures the pass before running. When he drops the ball, he tends to do it because he fails to execute this technique consistently, which is easily correctable.
But Jones has always been praised for his work ethic and determination. It appears that hard work has paid off when it comes to catching the ball. Casserly may want to update his notes.