When the Bengals got one of the 2012 draft’s biggest steals in California receiver Marvin Jones, whom the team was able to snag in the fifth-round after many had him projected to go in the third-fourth round, a good minicamp and training camp led many to believe Jones could eventually be the teams’ #2 receiver opposite the All-Pro A.J. Green. With the emergence of Armon Binns and Andrew Hawkins, its been hard for him to see much playing time, and Marvin Lewis is even playing Brandon Tate more, though his snaps have gone down as the season has gone on with the rookie Jones getting more significant snaps.
Jones was in on the teams’ first offensive series, and made his first NFL catch for 5 yards, and had a chance to make a long catch along the sideline later in the drive, but Dalton led him just a bit too far out of bounds. He wouldn’t get another catch, though he did record 11 snaps on offense compared to Tate’s 14. It doesn’t help Tate that he has no catches over the past two games, and outside of his Week 3 performance against the Browns where he recorded 3 catches for 71 yards and a TD, he’s been held to one catch for 3 yards in the other 3 games he’s played in.
While it looks as though Jones may not be able to crack the top-3 receiver rotation, the 4th spot in Jay Jay Gruden’s pass-heavy offense is still a very important position, if for nothing else, he’ll be the first man up if either Green, Binns, or Hawkins is injured. The Bengals haven’t had their top-2 receivers start every game since T.J Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson did in the 2005 season.