‘Just Marv’: New Lions WR Jones says he’s not replacing Calvin
Marvin Jones doesn’t have a unique nickname like Calvin Johnson’s Megatron moniker.
“Just call me Marv Jones,” he said Thursday afternoon on a teleconference.
He doesn’t want people thinking he’s joining the Lions to replace Calvin Johnson either because he knows that’s an impossible task. But, after signing his contract Thursday, Jones said he’s ready to contribute however the team wants to help the Lions maintain the momentum they had at the end of 2015.
Jones, the newest Lions wide receiver after spending four years in Cincinnati, arrived in Allen Park with his family Thursday -- his three sons and wife Jazmyn. He had a chance to meet coach Jim Caldwell and tour the facility, and at one point, he spoke with owner Martha Firestone Ford.
“It was a delight,” he said. “The tone in her voice, she was very happy and very excited to get me here. And it was just pure joy, and it was exciting talking to her.”
Now, Jones will try to reward Ford and Lions general manager Bob Quinn for their investment, a five-year contract worth up to $40 million.
Considering Jones has never been a No. 1 receiver, that’s a lot of money. However, after Calvin Johnson retired Tuesday, the Lions were desperate for help at a position where Golden Tate is the only established option, and Jones said he’s ready to contribute in any way the coaches ask.
“I’m just a guy that’s coming in and trying to make plays to help this team,” he said. “I don’t really look into the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers. We have a lot of talent here, and we’ll all step up to the plate and make our plays.”
Jones saw Johnson’s incredible ability first hand in 2013 when Johnson made a catch in triple coverage against the Bengals, a play that stood out to Jones and his offensive teammates on the sideline.
“We just looked at each other, and it’s not like we were mad,” he said. “It just, we said, ‘It’s Calvin Johnson.’”
The Bengals ended up winning that game, but on that day, Jones experienced what it was like to be a part of an electric game at Ford Field. Now, he hopes to be providing the jaw-dropping performances for the home team.
Jones is coming off his best season with 65 catches for 816 yards and four touchdowns in a Bengals offense that features No. 1 receiver A.J. Green and one of the NFL’s top tight ends, Tyler Eifert. In Detroit, he’ll likely start as one of the two top weapons in the passing game, along with Tate.
In discussing his skills, Jones said he’s an all-around receiver. He can go deep. He can run short and intermediate routes. He can run after the catch. If that proves to be true, Jones and Tate should provide a strong tandem for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
And after agreeing to join the Lions, Jones said he spoke with Stafford, a quarterback Jones said stood out when watching film in past years.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Jones said. “The way he throws the ball is excellent.”
With Stafford, the Lions have been among the most pass-heavy offenses in the NFL, and Jones hopes to take advantage of his opportunities.
And even though Jones doesn’t want to be compared to the video-game player Johnson was, he hopes to carry himself with similar integrity on and off the field.
“I’m not coming here trying to replace Calvin Johnson,” he said. “Nobody can replace Calvin Johnson. He’s definitely one of a kind, and we probably won’t see anybody like him.
“I’m here to be me. I’m here to do what I can do to help this team win and to succeed, and that’s all that I can do.”