Marvin Jones Will Put Bengals in A Good Space
Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) makes a catch for a touchdown a during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Jones‘ impact on the 2015 season could be astronomical. His presence will change defenses and could usher the Cincinnati Bengals into a new level of offense. And this doesn’t mean Marvin Jones will produce Pro Bowl worthy stats; it just means he’s going to bring a presence that will force defenses to stretch in an effort to account for him.
Jones is excellent at securing the catch, and does so effectively on the deep ball. The addition of a big play threat will give the offense more options and could catalyze the production of the offense’s stars. A.J. Green may be the biggest beneficiary of Marvin Jones’ return to the offense. Green also offers the ability to go deep, but with Jones on the field, he doesn’t have to make this his primary responsibility.
The threat of Jones will force defenses to account for both receivers and pull the safeties away from Green. The short to midrange routes may prove to be more fruitful when safeties are unable to drop closer to the line of scrimmage, and if they choose to, they run the risk of giving Jones much room to work with in the deep part of the field.
Jones and Green’s roles in this scenario are interchangeable, which also makes things particularly difficult for defenses. Jones has proven he’s strong at the point of the catch. It makes him a particularly effective possession receiver when necessary. In 2013, he was second on the team in first downs earned by a receiver, and fourth overall. If Jones makes a few productive catches underneath, defenses would be forced to address this, which then could give Green more room to work with in the deep part of the field, and we’ve all seen how this works out for opposing teams.
Meanwhile a stretched defense is music to the ears of the Bengals’ running backs. Despite their differing skill sets, both Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard will enjoy Jones’ renewed presence. Being the big bruising back that he is, Hill will enjoy the extra space in the box while he continues to earn those difficult yards the team will inevitably need. Hill showed how dynamic he could be last year, but with an extra weapon opening the field for him, the sky is the limit for Hill this year.
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Although both Hill and Bernard can catch the football and create yards, Bernard is clearly the superior running back in this regard. The threat he presents in the passing game can be devastating to a defense, yet only when Bernard is given space to work with. Whether Cincinnati chooses to primarily line him up in the backfield or in the slot, Bernard will enjoy more auspicious matchups because of Jones. Will defenses risk dropping a safety down to cover Bernard? Would they dare attempt to cover him with a linebacker? Or will they employ an extra slot corner, but risk a softer rush defense, which could be particularly ominous if Hill is also on the field.
Marvin Jones’ return is a big deal for the Bengals. It’s likely bigger than most in the NFL community at large realizes. Not only does he add a weapon to the offense, he adds exactly the kind of weapon this offense needs to produce at a higher level. The dynamic ability he’ll bring to the field will benefit all and put the Bengals in a good space.