Looking for a pick-me-up in the dark, dank, bleak days of nothingness between the Super Bowl and the NFL scouting combine?
We bring you a post card from wide receiver Marvin Jones, otherwise known as one of the biggest pieces of the Bengals' emerging 2015 jigsaw puzzle. The man who has a voice coated with Motown is singing the praises of his comeback that has begun on the California beach.
"I've got the green light to do anything and everything I need to do to get back to where I need to be," Jones texted Thursday after another workout. "I've been surprised at the progress I've made in only going on my second week training and at the rate I'm going I'm sure I will be in game shape very soon."
Jones, who plans to be ready when the offseason workouts begin in April and practice gets underway in May, feels good enough about his feet that he has sent a video documenting one of his daily workouts at Evolution Fitness in Culver City, Calif.
"Just wanna keep grinding and show everyone my progress," Jones reported.
That wind whipping through the peaks and valleys is the sound of Bengaldom exhaling. When injuries to Jones' ankle and foot wiped him out of the entire 2014 season, the Bengals couldn't find an answer for his vertical speed, knack in the red zone, or his 10 touchdown catches of 2013. When Jones went down, quarterback Andy Dalton lost roughly a third of his franchise-record 33 touchdown passes.
How badly did Dalton miss Jones? In 2013 profootballfocus.com rated Jones the fifth best receiver in the NFL in quarterback rating for his targets and the percentage of deep balls caught.
Getting the 6-2, 200-pound Jones back is like adding one of those ascending free agents. At 24, Jones is headed into his free-agent season and while there is always concern about a thoroughbred receiver coming off two surgeries, so far so good.
"My focus is on getting back that muscle memory, lower body explosion , and just getting out there on the field and go all out with no (hiccups) consistently every day," Jones texted.
Nagged by a sore ankle all last spring, Jones was shelved for the first 10 days of training camp and on his first day of team drills he promptly broke his fifth metatarsal, the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe. After he had a pin put in his foot, Jones returned to practice Sept. 29 and re-aggravated the ankle before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery. But it sounds like he's pain-free in his workouts with physical therapist Darwin Fogt.
"He is exceptional and innovative and I know things about my ankle and whole body that I never knew or heard of," Jones texted. "I'm very excited and can't wait to get back out there better than I ever was before."
Jones plans on heading back to Paul Brown Stadium next month to continue his rehab in front of the mid-April return of his teammates. He doesn't want to spend any more time away from his third son, Murrell Lance Jones, all of 33 days old. But for the next month, it will be pretty gritty.
"All I do every day is train with my personal trainer, who is also in Culver City," Jones wrote, "do my physical therapy, then go home and sleep and wake up and do it all again. I'm super focused."
Like all February post cards from California, Jones lightened the day a little.