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Bengals WR Marvin Jones feels good after preseason debut

Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones, who missed the entire 2014 season, returned to the field for the first time since Cincinnati's wild card loss to San Diego in 2013.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After navigating through training camp soreness and condemnation from head coach Marvin Lewis, wide receiver Marvin Jones reached a milestone during Cincinnati's preseason win over the New York Giants. "It felt good to get out there and get extended playing time and get back into things," Jones said via ESPN.

Indeed, Jones hasn't played a game (preseason, regular season, or postseason) since Jan. 5, 2014, when the Bengals hosted the San Diego Chargers during the wild card round of the 2013 NFL playoffs; foot and ankle injuries wiped out his season last year.

Jones, who missed several practices due to reported hamstring soreness, played 25 snaps on Friday with the second-team unit led by quarterback Josh Johnson, who had targeted Jones on back-to-back plays midway through the second quarter. Johnson under threw Jones down the left sidelines, hitting Giants defensive back Chandler Fenner with 6:35 remaining.

Marvin Jones Giants

Johnson immediately went back to Jones with 6:28 remaining in the second quarter. His long completion, a 17-yard gain, converted a difficult third-and-11 to the Giants 20-yard line. It was his lone catch Friday night. Cincinnati scored their second touchdown to take a 17-7 lead later during that position.

Marvin Jones Giants

Clearly, having Jones return significantly improves Cincinnati's offense and all you have to do is glimpse at Andy Dalton's production.

In 2013, when Jones, A.J. Green, and let's include tight end Tyler Eifert, played all season, Dalton broke the team's franchise mark in touchdown throws (33) and yards passing (4,293). During the following season, with Jones missing the entire year, Eifert missing all but eight snaps and A.J. Green sitting for a handful of games, Dalton scored a miserable 19 passing touchdowns and matched his rookie yardage mark (3,389), currently his lowest mark in his career.

"It was great for Marvin Jones to play through the second quarter like he did and feel good about it," Lewis said. "He did a nice job catching the ball [on the lone reception], avoiding the first tackle and turning up the field and running. It had to feel good for him."