Kenny Golladay has been out for way too long now. In 2018 and some of 2019, that typically meant opportunity for Marvin Jones Jr. to step up, as the two were essentially 1A and 1B when it came to deep threats.
Since late 2019, that hasn’t been the same. Whether it’s simply father time or something else, Jones just isn’t the same deep threat he used to be and has struggled a lot in 2020 to get meaningful separation downfield. The writing is on the wall for his time with the Lions as his contract expires after this season, but that won’t stop him from having one last rodeo.
Unsung hero of the week: Marvin Jones Jr.
Jones looked like a new man Sunday, finally taking advantage of Golladay’s absence to get meaningful targets downfield. This was Jones’ first 100+ yard receiving game all season. What the numbers won’t show you though is the nature of Jones’ targets. Throughout the season, he has often been utilized on catch-and-run passes and lots of crossing routes due to his inability to get open.
Sunday that was different, and Jones looked like his 2017 self. He was breaking off well in man coverage and sitting in the right spots against zone. Jones played a big part in Matthew Stafford’s ability to start moving the offense in chunks and warmed him up for downfield shots later in the game.
Our beloved Andrew Kato said it best:
The most telling are the route charts for Marvin (vs his Week 10) and then Hock and Amendola (vs their Week 9).— Andrew Kato (@MorgadoPOD) December 7, 2020
The Week 13 charts (esp Marvin) are "attack down the seam and deep middle." The Week 9 and 10 charts say to me "spread the field horizontally to open up the run box."
Here’s a look at those charts, via Next Gen Stats:
Whether this is a rejuvenation of Marvin Jones Jr. himself or a product of Darrell Bevell getting more control of the offense is yet to see, but it’s nice to see that Jones has still got that kind of performance in him. Who knows what it might lead to the rest of the season?