Veteran Lions WR Could See Role Reduced After Rough Start: Insider

The first fumble of Marvin Jones’ 11-year career came at a very inopportune time for the Detroit Lions, and now one insider warns that the veteran wide receiver could see his role diminished if he doesn’t move beyond a rough start to the season.

With just under six minutes remaining in the first half of the September 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs and Lions driving into the red zone, Jones caught a short pass but fumbled when Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie punched the ball loose. The Lions were able to overcome the missed scoring opportunity as they squeezed out a 21-20 victory, but Jones came under fire after the game with USA Today’s Zack Moran labeling him a “dud” of the game.

‘Bad Start to the Season’ for Marvin Jones

As Moran noted, Jones gained a reputation as a standout receiver during his first tenure with the Lions, where he played from 2016-2020. Jones made 289 catches for 4,296 yards with 36 touchdowns during that stretch.

Now back for his second stint with the Lions, fans were hoping that Jones could “recreate the same magic he had the first time around,” Moran wrote.

Marvin Jones went more than a DECADE without a fumble.

He’ss been in the NFL since 2012. He has 544 career receptions. This was the first fumble of his career #Lions

— John Breech (@johnbreech) September 8, 2023

After a shaky performance in the season opener, that could be in doubt, Moran speculated.

“Unfortunately, Jones had a bad start to the season,” he wrote. “He was targeted six times but only caught two passes, one of which turned into a fumble, the first of his career, that resulted in ending a Lions red-zone drive.”

The Lions appeared to move away from Jones in the game, Moran noted, which could be a bad sign for the future should he not show improvement.

“After a few drops and mistakes, it seemed like [Jared] Goff was avoiding throwing the ball to Jones,” Moran wrote. “Hopefully, the experienced player can learn from this game; otherwise, his role in the team could be reduced.”

Wide Receiving Corps Coming into Focus

The Lions’ wide receiving corps had some uncertainty going into the season, with no clear picture of how it would shake out behind No. 1 Amon-Ra St. Brown. With second-year receiver Jameson Williams out for the first six weeks while serving a gambling suspension, the Lions had a number of players who had the chance to take on bigger roles.

As Moran noted, it was Josh Reynolds who helped the Lions fill the void in Week 1 as he became a popular target for Goff.

“Josh Reynolds became that security blanket for Jared Goff and came in clutch, especially in the late part of the game,” Moran wrote. “He connected with Goff on a 3rd-12 play that led to the go-ahead score. Reynolds, a veteran, has a special connection with Goff since their time with the Los Angeles Rams, and it showed against the Chiefs, especially when they needed to make something happen.”

Reynolds ended up leading the team with four catches for 80 yards. Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta also moved into a big role in the passing game, catching all five of his targets for 39 total yards.

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