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Free agency: Jones will show receivers the way

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones runs to the bench after his touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones runs to the bench after his touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

JACKSONVILLE – Marvin Jones Jr.'s likes his new situation – and his new teammates, too.

Jones, the new leader of the Jaguars' wide receivers, spoke to the media early Monday afternoon. When he did, his excitement and energy was evident – particularly when the subject turned inevitably to his new teammates.

DJ Chark Jr.? Laviska Shenault Jr.?

"They can flat-out ball," Jones said.

Jones, a 10-year veteran who spent the last five seasons with the Detroit Lions and who was acquired by the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent last week, was similarly enthusiastic about multiple Jaguars topics when speaking to the media by videoconference Monday.

He is excited about again playing for his offensive coordinator in Detroit, Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell – and Jones, like all Jaguars free agents acquired last week, is excited about the team's new era under Head Coach Urban Meyer.

"It's a new energy," he said.

Jones, the only receiver in the NFL with nine or more touchdown receptions each of the past two seasons, upon signing became the most veteran member of the Jaguars' receiving corps. The second-most experienced receiver on the roster: Phillip Dorsett, a sixth-year veteran who also joined the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent last week.

Jones' excitement absolutely extended to the chance to be a leader on a talented receiver corps.

"It feels good obviously, because I'm still here and I'm still playing at the top of my game," Jones said early Monday afternoon. "I just met everybody, met the young receivers and they didn't know I was 31. They were like, 'Man, you look like us.' I'm like, 'Yeah. I'll show you the way. I'll show you how to get there.'

"I'm here to be that mentor and for them to follow me. I love that and I love that type of pressure. So yeah, it feels good."

The Jaguars' receivers now include: Jones; Chark, a third-year veteran and 2019 Pro Bowl selection; Shenault, a second-year veteran and a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft; Dorsett, the No, 29 overall selection by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft; Johnson, a second-year veteran and fifth-round selection in the '20 draft; Terry Godwin, a second-year veteran; Josh Hammond, a first-year veteran; and Jon'Vea Johnson, a third-year veteran acquired off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys Saturday.

"It's a really good group overall, honestly," Dorsett said. "We've got a lot of guys that can go out there and play and win in different ways. Marvin Jones, he's going to be the leader of the group. We've got DJ; he's another guy that can go out there; he's tall, he can run and he can play. Laviska … he's young, he's good, he can play. I don't want to shortchange anybody. I'm just glad to be a part of it, and I just want to add another dimension to it."


A new start in a new era is one reason Jones is in Jacksonville; a chance to play for a familiar coach is another. Jones spent the past three seasons playing for Bevell, the Lions' offensive coordinator during that span. "His offense kind of speaks for itself with the success that he's had since he's been in the league, and it's just a fun offense," said Jones, whose 173 receptions for 2,265 and 23 touchdowns under Bevell included a career-high 76 receptions for 978 yards and nine touchdowns last season. "It's a fun offense where I can go inside, go outside, do a lot of the things that I didn't do before having his offense. So, it's a lot of stuff that you can do, and I think it fits perfect for me."


Wide receiver Jamal Agnew, one of 11 players acquired by the Jaguars as unrestricted free agents last week, primarily has been a return specialist in four NFL seasons. But Jones, who played with Agnew in Detroit, said Agnew is a capable receiver – and that Agnew should continue to improve there after transitioning from cornerback this past season. "The guy is dynamic," Jones said. "He's one of the best return men that I've seen, but people don't understand how smart this guy is. You're talking about a guy who was on defense and made a change and seamlessly fit into our offense and what we had to do and provided us a big spark. He has home-run ability. As he progresses as a receiver as well, you're going to see some big plays and that's the reason why he's here." Agnew caught 13 passes for 89 yards this past season and has five return touchdowns – four on punts and one on kickoffs – in four seasons.

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