Breaking Down Marvin Jones' Emergence as Cincinnati Bengals' No. 2 Receiver

Matt GrayContributor INovember 6, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 27:  Marvin Jones #82 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Anthony Collins #73 (left) after scoring a touchdown during the NFL game against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ever since April 2011, there's only been one receiver who's mattered in Cincinnati.

A.J. Green.

But, while the Bengals have been lucky enough to boast one of the best receivers in the game, they've struggled to provide him with a proper supporting cast.

To use the most unwelcome of pop-cultural references in the Queen City, their Batman was without a Robin.

That all changed on the last Sunday of October when second-year receiver Marvin Jones romped to a four-touchdown franchise record against the New York Jets. It was a breakout performance for Jones, who, don't forget, was drafted in the fifth round in 2012.

It wasn't just a bumper day for Jones, but a statement of intent from a Bengals team hoping to make some noise in the postseason. 

In reality, Jones has been a solid contributor in Cincy throughout 2013, and the attention garnered in recent weeks is somewhat overdue.

He's fast become a legitimate receiving threat and had been building an impressive red-zone streak prior to the loss in Miami.

He may have had a quiet outing against the Dolphins, but Jones is by no means a flash in the pan. He would have added an 50-plus-yard TD to his bounty if it weren't for a trademark Jermaine Gresham penalty.

Despite not being the biggest receiver on the field, Jones has displayed the physicality of a player twice his size. He's come down with a number of tough catches and refuses to be manhandled.

It's a far cry from the Marvin Jones we saw on Hard Knocks. The prevailing image of Jones put forward by the HBO series was that of a young receiver working hard, desperate to impress, but who was just as likely to wind up with a face full of turf as he was to make a catch.

His emergence also has wider ramifications for the rest of the Bengals receivers. With Jones and Green giving opposing coordinators headaches, the opportunities for Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert, Andrew Hawkins and Mo Sanu will only grow.

For Jones, the real work starts now. As teams begin to game-plan for him, we'll get a better idea of just how high his ceiling is.

On Sunday, he'll be tasked with building upon recent performances when he faces the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium for the very first time.