When Calvin Johnson announced his retirement, Lions fans around the country collectively thought “ok, now what?” It is a fair question. And, it’s a question that still has no answer. It will be hard to replace one of the greatest wide receivers of all time; yet, the Lions made some moves in the offseason to try and heal the wound left by ole’ No. 81.
One of those moves was the signing of Marvin Jones. Jones signed a 5-year $40 million contract this offseason after he spent the last four years with the Cincinnati Bengals. In the first padded practice of training camp, Jones was eager to get on the field and make an impression on his new team. In an interview with WXYZ’s Brad Galli, Jones said of the first day, “It was a great day, it was fun…its good to get out here with the team, and get stuff going.” And on the offense, “its good…we have a lot of playmakers that bring a lot to the game.”
Jones had an all around good day in his initial camp as a Lion. Tim Twentyman reported that he “made a number of fine catches over the course of the hour-and-a-half practice that was moved indoors due to rain.” Also adding that Jones, “commands the entire route tree, and he’ll be a big part of the Lions’ attack on offense in 2016.”
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) July 31, 2016
Not only did Jones impress with his ability on the field, but left others in awe during his time after practice, with the jugs machine. When speaking of catching balls 12-inches from the jugs or dealing with defenders on him, Jones told Carlos Monarrez of the Free Press, “It’s just the focus…When the ball is in the air I don’t really care who’s on me and stuff like that. It’s just focus. It’s just me and the ball, no matter one, two, how many people. It’s just focus.”
It will take a bit of time for Lions fans to get over the retirement of Calvin Johnson. Being a number one priority free agent, signed to a long-term deal, there is no doubt Marvin Jones has expectations thrust upon him. Continuing to impress with his work ethic and ability to mesh with his new teammates will go a long way. If he continues doing what he did on this first day of padded practice then maybe, just maybe, No. 11 can help Lions fans put No. 81 in the rearview mirror.