Marvin Jones is seeing red and it's not Andy Dalton.
Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones hopes to make his first appearance of the season Sunday coming off a broken foot in the preseason and his presence should lift the Bengals' performance in the red zone. Before they punched in three straight trips inside the 20 for touchdowns against Tennessee, they were just 3-for-7 converting red-zone TDs. And they still want to jack the percentage up from 60 percent, tied for 14th in the NFL.
Nine of Jones' 10 TDs came in the red zone last year as quarterback Andy Dalton finished the season with a career mark of 56 red-zone touchdown passes against three interceptions, third best among active quarterbacks behind Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers.
With touchdown strikes of 76- and 77-yards, Dalton is waiting for that first red-zone TD pass this season and Jones is a likely target
"I start itching when we pass the 40-yard line because I know something big is going to happen," Jones said this week. "We have that confidence where ever Andy places the ball we'll go up and get it. That's easy.
"You get in the mode,' Jones said. "Once you get close to the red zone, those are the opportunities you need to get. You can tell when we hit that point everyone wants to make a play."
Jones has a couple of principles in there. Run everything precisely and stay alive.
"Everything is so enhanced with the quickness of the windows we see," Jones said. "It's so enhanced down there you have to be very sharp with routes because one little detail, one little step, one little yard, the play is done."
Although Dalton is being schooled not to run around and force a bad throw when the play breaks down, Jones knows he can make a play so it doesn't have to be a forced throw.
"A play can break down really quickly,' Jones said. "That's when you need to stay alive and work the back line to get open. There are a lot of places the defense doesn't guard. After the play breaks down you have to find a lot of creative ways to get open."
SUNDAY NIGHT SMILES FOR LEAH: Devon Still says she may not quite grasp the support that has come from all corners of the country. But when Leah Still sees herself on TV, she knows what that means.
"She just sees herself on TV a lot and she sees that as support and it really brightens up her day to see herself on TV," her dad said this week as he recalled last week's surgery to remove a tumor from her abdomen.
She may be smiling during NBC's Sunday Night Football (8:30-Cincinnati's Channel 5) when her dad's Bengals play the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass.
NBC staffers bought 50 No. 75 Still jerseys and the Patriots purchased 18 for their cheerleaders as the $100 donations to Cincinnati Children's Medical Center continue to flood the Bengals Pro Shop.
Devon Still said when he returned from the bye week that Leah still has a long battle ahead with cancer in her bone marrow. But the surgery has offered hope.
"It's definitely going in a positive direction now. I think that was the biggest hope for us was to get over that surgery, to see how successful it was and just to see my daughter come out of it healthy," Still said. "For them to be able to remove all the tumor, it puts a smile on her face and it gives us something to hope for."
Although Leah is just four years old, Devon Still says his daughter understood what was at stake during the operation.
"She understands completely because I know when she first got cancer, we told her she's got something in her stomach," he said. "When she got out of surgery, she was still under anesthesia and the first thing I said was that they took it out of your stomach and she started smiling real hard. So she understands exactly what's going on."