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Jones Jr. learned a lot from workouts with Randy Moss

Marvin Jones Jr. went into this offseason with a specific plan for how he wanted to improve his game leading into his second season with the Detroit Lions.

Jones wanted to become a more consistent big-play threat, so he focused on strengthening his lower body to improve his explosiveness.

He also spent time working out with future Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss in North Carolina.

"This offseason, before I came up here, I was training with Randy Moss and we were just going at it, me and him and competing," Jones said. "I was getting a lot of insight from him in terms of what I wanted to focus on, including my lower-body strength, and (improving) yards after the catch."

Moss isn't a bad teacher to have, especially with Jones trying to be more explosive and improve upon the four touchdowns he scored last year. Moss led the NFL in receiving touchdowns five times during his career, and set the single-season record with 23 touchdown receptions in 2007.

Moss and Jones focused a lot on improving Jones' route-running, and Jones thinks he's come away from those workouts a more well-rounded receiving threat.

"One of the biggest things that aids and helps in your ability to take it the distance after the catch is basically staying friendly (to the quarterback)," Jones said. "If you have an in-breaking route, come back negative, because if you come back and drift a little bit, that one step, the safety could come and get you or the corner could come and tackle your legs.

"When you're going friendly to the quarterback and negative it creates distance and space and stuff like that. We were talking about a lot of stuff like that. We kept repping it for hours and it kind of sunk in and it's been great."

Jones showed some big-play prowess in his first season in Detroit last year, but he's hoping the improvements he's made as a route-runner, and the focus he's put on strengthening his lower body, will allow him to be more consistently explosive throughout the entire season.

Jones caught 36 passes for 651 yards and four touchdowns, including his first career 200-yard receiving performance, during the first half of last season.

Once teams started to pay a little more attention to Jones because of his hot start, he caught just 19 passes for 274 yards without any touchdowns in the seven games he played the second half of the season. He missed Detroit's Week 13 contest in New Orleans with a thigh injury.

Heading into this 2017 campaign, Jones feels like he still has something to prove. He wants to be great, not good, and uses that as motivation.

"I think Marvin started out the season extremely well," head coach Jim Caldwell said during OTAs. "He's been doing even better this spring.

"He's had one of those springs that you kind of look to. This guy is right there on the verge of maintaining that kind of explosive start that he had last year. He's really, really had a real good spring."

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