Stafford-Jones tandem already paying off

Justin Rogers, The Detroit News

Detroit — Marvin Jones insisted there was nothing special about the exhibition matchup against his former team, but the Detroit Lions receiver played like he had something to prove in his team’s 30-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Then again, maybe this will be the new normal for the Lions offense. 

Jones, playing in just the first three possessions, served as quarterback Matthew Stafford’s go-to target, catching four of the five passes thrown in his direction for 65 yards. 

That’s impressive production for essentially a quarter of work. And it should give Lions fans optimism that the instant chemistry the tandem have displayed on the practice field is capable of translating to the regular season, when it will matter. 

Jones, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Lions this offseason, came to Detroit looking for a bigger opportunity. He’s clearly getting that and looks like he could be the central figure in the Lions’ passing attack. 

“Like I said from the beginning, the potential is out of this world for this offense and the players that we have,” he said. 

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones has benefitted from the no-huddle offense.

The game against the Bengals also showcased what a dynamic duo Jones can be with Golden Tate. The other popular target in the offense came up with three grabs for 41 yards and nearly added a touchdown, but he wasn’t able to corral a six-yard bullet from Stafford in the back of the end zone. 

But Tate is the known commodity. He’s averaged more than 90 catches for the Lions the past two years. Jones is the shiny new toy and there certainly hasn’t been any buyer’s remorse to this point. 

The chemistry between Stafford and Jones has come so quickly, you’d think the two spent the entire offseason hanging out, getting to know each other, but what’s developed has strictly occurred on the practice field. 

And even though it looks like they’re already on the same page every snap, both Stafford and Jones said the pair  still have a lot of work to do to get where they want to be. 

“It’s still a process,” Jones said. “There’s a lot more in there, a long way to go, but it’s going in the right direction. Between the receivers and quarterbacks, that’s what we do. We see everything through the same eyes in the film room and it translates.”

Jones set career-highs in receptions and yardage last season, hauling in 65 balls for 816 yards for Cincinnati. If things keep trending in their current direction, he should have no trouble besting both marks in 2016.

Twitter: @justin_rogers