Jones (leg) returned to practice Sunday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Jones left Saturday's practice with some sort of injury to his left leg. According to Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site, the receiver returned Sunday in full pads, suggesting he didn't experience anything severe. Now back in action, Jones will look to continue his impressive start to training camp, where Kyle Meinke of MLive Media Group indicated that Jones has been unguardable early on.
Jones banged his left knee following a stellar catch in practice. The Lions will likely take a cautious approach given Jones' value to the offense. If the veteran wideout is forced to miss just a few practices it shouldn't affect his status for a Week 1 contest against the Jets.
Jones led the league with 467 receiving yards and 25.9 yards per catch on contested targets last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Jones isn't the best at sprinting past defenders or jumping over them, but his impressive route running and ability to stay focused in traffic have allowed for above-average efficiency dating back to his time in Cincinnati. With the help of impressive accuracy from Mathew Stafford on deep throws, Jones posted elite marks for yards per catch (18.0) and yards per target (10.2) last season. The continued development of Kenny Golladay could take a few deep looks away from Jones, but there should be plenty of opportunities for both wideouts -- plus slot man Golden Tate -- in an offense that replaced TEs Eric Ebron (Colts) and Darren Fells (Browns) with career role players Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo. While the Lions also made a major commitment to their running game, they'll likely direct a huge portion of targets to their top three wideouts, which should help protect Jones against a shift in run:pass ratio. That being said, he'll have a tough time avoiding at least a minor dip from last year's career-best marks for YPC and YPT.
Jones, who trained with former NFL receiver Randy Moss in North Carolina last offseason, plans to do so again in 2018, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports.
Jones has been a solid downfield threat for the Lions since coming to Detroit in 2016, but he took his game to new heights in his second season with the team, progress he partially credits to working with Moss over the summer. Jones said the two focused on improving Jones' route running, particularly on "winning at the top of the route." While other factors regarding his success were certainly in play, the tutelage seemingly benefitted Jones in some capacity when considering he went on to lead the league with 16 receptions of passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield -- with zero drops on 31 such opportunities. Given the immediate payoff, Jones said he intends to resume his training with Moss this offseason to specifically improve his ability to gain yards after the catch. While this guarantees nothing in terms of Jones' fantasy production moving forward, it at least offers hope that he might improve upon his 61/1,101/9 stat line from 2017. However, future investors will also need to take into account the ascension of 2017 third-rounder Kenny Golladay, who proved to also be a dangerous vertical threat as a rookie and could potentially command more targets in 2018, which may reduce Jones' workload.
Jones caught four of five targets for 81 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 35-11 victory over Green Bay.
Jones scored for the ninth time this season on a short fade route in the corner of the end zone and concludes the year having averaged 83.4 receiving yards while hitting paydirt seven times in his final 11 games. He now finishes the 2017 campaign with 61 receptions on 107 targets for a career-high 1,101 receiving yards. Entering his third year working with quarterback Matthew Stafford, the 2012 fifth-rounder has shown to be a consistently dangerous downfield threat -- his 18.0 yards per reception ranked second league-wide -- that can be regularly trusted as a starting option in most fantasy leagues. Jones, under contract with the Lions through 2020, will return in 2018 alongside Stafford, co-No. 1 wideout Golden Tate and 2017 third-rounder Kenny Golladay, who steadily carved out a sizable role in the passing game as the year went on.
|P3||8/24/18||@ TB||8:00 pm|
|2||9/16/18||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|4||9/30/18||@ DAL||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 6|
|7||10/21/18||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|9||11/4/18||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ ARI||4:25 pm|
|15||12/16/18||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|