Marvin Jones Jr.'s first season in Detroit last year can best be described as a tale of two halves.
There was the first half, when the new free-agent signee caught 36 passes for 651 yards and four touchdowns, including his first career 200-yard receiving performance in a loss at Lambeau Field Week 3. At the midway point of the season, Jones was well on his way to a 1,300-yard debut season in Detroit.
But as teams started to pay more attention to Jones after the hot start, and coverage started to shift his way, his production the last half of the season dipped significantly.
Jones caught just 19 passes for 274 yards and failed to reach the end zone 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.
Jones still finished with 55 receptions for 930 yards, which is a fine season, especially when you consider Detroit had five players catch at least 50 passes. But Jones is motivated to do more in year two with the Lions.
"I think I'm just always motivated, period, no matter what happens," he said after last week's open OTA practice.
"No matter if I would have caught 100 balls or not. I'm still going to come into that next season with something to prove and just to get better. That's just who I am.
"I just want to come in and be the greatest player I can be. Not really one thing motivates me, just kind of being out here and being the best. That's what motivates me."
The comfort level heading into year two is certainly better for Jones. He wasn't going through the free-agent process this offseason, and he'll be running the same offense under Jim Bob Cooter with the same quarterback throwing him the ball in Matthew Stafford.
That comfort level from a schematic and surroundings standpoint did allow him to focus on some specific areas he wants to improve, particularly from an explosion standpoint.
Jones was signed to be an intermediate and deep threat in this offense – he averaged a career-high 16.9 yards per reception last season – but he's trying to be more of weapon after the catch this year.
While teammate Golden Tate finished fourth in the league last year with 635 yards after the catch, Jones was tied for 92nd with 237.
"I wanted to focus on my lower body, explosion and stuff like that," Jones said of his offseason regimen. "Have that consistent explosion and run after catch and stuff. The lower body is definitely still an emphasis right now."
Along with improving his own game, Jones is also finding time early on in OTAs to help out rookie receiver Kenny Golladay, who the Lions selected in the third round of last month's draft.
Golladay brings a different kind of dimension to the offense with his size (6-foot-4, 218 pounds), and could become a factor as a rookie in the red zone.
"He's a big body, obviously," Jones said of Golladay. "He's a big body and he can move. He can definitely snag the ball and get some yards after catch and get up and get those 50-50 balls. It's our job to get him along with us and stuff like that so he can make plays for us."