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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs RB Ronald Jones re-emerging?

Florida Football Insiders

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The Buccaneers had high hopes in 2018 for second round draft pick, Ronald Jones. However, much like their 5-11 season a year ago, it never really materialized.

Now, with Dirk Koetter and his coaching staff fired and new head coach Bruce Arians and his staff in place, it appears that Jones is going to be given every opportunity to re-emerge, as the big-time play making running back the Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht drafted out of USC.

Arians was on Tampa Bay sports radio station 95.3 WDAE Tuesday morning prior to the Bucs second day of mandatory minicamp workouts. And, he made it clear that Jones is improving in this second offseason:

“Ro-jo (Jones) has been really, really solid this entire camp…I can’t wait to see him with the pads on (July),” Arians told the station. When asked about why Jones didn’t play more in 2018, Arians quickly deadpanned, “I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t here.”

Clearly, Arians wants competition in the backfield, as the Bucs running game has struggled for each of the past three seasons. Tampa Bay essentially turning to undrafted free agent, Peyton Barber as the main ball carrier last year. The design had been to have Jones be the complementary back, who is much more explosive for long runs and big plays than Barber is.

However, Jones had issues, as a lot of rookies do, not only picking up the Buccaneers playbook, but improving with things like pass blocking and receiving to enable him to be on the field all the time.

As Jones struggled to get anything done in the preseason, he obviously got in Koetter and offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s dog house. To the point, they left the second round pick as a healthy inactive at the beginning of the year for the first three games, apparently trying to send a message to him about work ethic and level of play.

Later in the first half of the season Jones eventually worked his way back to the active roster but ended up injuring his hamstring in late Octover, which sidelined him for five more games. By the time he returned to health, the Buccaneers season was basically in the tank.

Still, even then, Koetter and Monken didn’t utilize Jones with a single carry despite him being active for final three weeks of the season. And that, despite the Buccaneers being out of any playoff hopes.

Now, Jones has a fresh start and has spent an off season under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and running backs coach Harold Goodwin. And, at least for now it seems, he’s headed towards getting a legitimate opportunity to be the impact contributor moving forward that everyone wants him to be.

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