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John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski talk about the Lions' win over the Packers, the winless Browns, and why Detroit will make the playoffs. Detroit News

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Allen Park — When Marvin Jones looks across the sideline on Sunday at the Cleveland Browns coaching staff, he’ll see a familiar face that helped shape him into the football player he’s become.

Jones spent the first four years of his career in Cincinnati with Browns head coach Hue Jackson. During the last two seasons the two were together, Jackson served as Jones’ offensive coordinator, and it’s obvious that Jones holds his former coach in high regard.

“That’s my guy,” Jones said Wednesday at Lions practice. “He’s a big influence, especially as a younger player. He keeps it real, doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

“Coming in my second year, I wasn’t playing a lot, but I was putting up big numbers. I’d score four touchdowns one week and the next game I’d get 10 plays. Being a rookie, second-year player, stuff happens and you don’t know why. He was always somebody I could go to.”

Jones has taken off over the last four games, reeling in 25 receptions for 385 yards and three touchdowns.

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Jackson isn’t surprised by his former pupil’s success

“I love Marvin Jones and his family,” Jackson said. “He’s a tremendous person and a great football player. I’m not surprised by anything that young man’s doing. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Jackson didn’t stop there, referencing Jones’ desire to match the greatness of his former teammate in Cincinnati, A.J. Green.

“There’s a burning desire to be the best. We all have a great respect for A.J. Green and what he’s done in his career, but Marvin feels that he can do that and then some. He has that fire.”

Despite all the praise Jackson had for Jones, he knows he could be in for a headache this weekend.

“I’m going to start praying here in a second,” Jackson said. “He’s that talented. There’s not a catch he can’t make. We’ve got our hands full with him.”

It’s no secret that Jackson has struggled during his time in Cleveland. But despite his 1-23 record since taking over the Browns, Jones doesn’t think the blame should all fall in his ex-coaches’ lap.

“One thing I do know, it’s not a lack of motivation,” Jones said. “I know what type of coach he is. He knows how to get guys going. They’ve been in some close games, so they definitely could be on the other end of having wins. He’s a great coach.”

Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.

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