In two games as a rookie against Pittsburgh, Marvin Jones never got leveled by Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Still, the Bengals wide receiver is happy that he won’t have to face the five-time Pro Bowler again after Harrison agreed to a two-year deal with Cincinnati on Friday.
“Shoot, he’s a monster,” Jones said with a laugh. “Whenever you add a monster to your defense you can’t go anywhere but up.”
But even without Harrison, the Bengals defense was among the best in the NFL last season. The Cincinnati offense, on the other hand, has considerable room for growth in 2013 and Jones hopes to have a significant impact.
After being drafted in the fifth round last year, the former Cal standout had a limited role in the first 11 games of the season – in part because of a knee injury that kept him out of three games. But following a late-season injury to fellow rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu, Jones moved into the starting lineup and finished strong. In the Bengals final three games against Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Houston, Marvin had 13 catches for 144 yards including his first NFL touchdown against the Ravens (see the highlight here).
“I felt good about my rookie season,” said Jones. “I got some experience and was in on quite a few plays. Obviously there are things that I can improve on and I think that will come with maturity and being comfortable out there. But I think that I finished strong and I want to build upon that.
“Now there are no nerves where you’re like, ‘Oh man, what is going to happen?’ I have a year within this offense, I know all of the positions very well, and I’m familiar with Andy (Dalton).”
Following his first NFL season, Jones took three weeks off before beginning a Monday-through-Thursday training regimen. The highlight of his off-season was a vacation to Central America.
“I went out to Belize,” said Jones. “That’s where my fiancé’s grandparents are from, so we went out there for about 10 days and did everything – swim, blue hole, hiked the Mayan ruins, snorkeling, and zip lining. It was a pretty full vacation and I proposed to her while we were there as well. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than that.”
Now that he’s taken care of the engagement ring, Marvin has his sights set on a Super Bowl ring, and the 23-year-old was happy to be reunited with his teammates when the Bengals returned to town for off-season workouts this week.
“The first thing you do is smile and laugh when you see everybody again,” Marvin told me. “It reminds me of the first day of school.
“In college you have like, a week-and-a-half or two weeks off and then you’re right back in the thick of things. At this level, you can go on vacation and do other stuff and then you’re like, ‘Dang, now what do I do?’ It was fun but I was definitely ready to come back here and get back at it.”
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