Ronald Jones' 2021 debut did not go as planned as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back was benched in the first half following a fumble. He carried the ball four times for 14 yards on just six snaps in the opener before coughing the ball up, and Bruce Arians elected to put him on the shelf for the rest of the evening as they continued to take on the Dallas Cowboys. Arians noted after the game that Jones "struggled mentally" to get over the turnover, which is why he didn't return to the contest.
Luckily for Jones, however, it looks like he'll get a chance at redemption.
On Tuesday, Arians said that Jones will start Sunday when the Bucs take on the Atlanta Falcons in Tampa. While Jones will be the first running back up in Week 2, it will be interesting to see how the snaps are divvied up. Leonard Fournette carried the ball nine games in the opener for 32 yards, while Giovani Bernard caught two of his three targets in the passing game for 12 yards. Bernard will likely continue to be the go-to passing down back, but the split between Jones and Fournette may depend on who has the hot hand.
It's particularly important for Jones to respond well to this poor start to the season as he's in the midst of the final year of his contract and looking at free agency next spring. If he continues to be a liability with the football in his hands, it doesn't create the optimal market for him.
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