Coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that Jones will be the "main guy" in the Tampa Bay backfield, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports.
The competition for carries consists of rookie third-round pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn and 32-year-old LeSean McCoy. The Bucs apparently expect Jones to hold both of them off for the lead role, but the team could still feature a committee backfield of sorts, potentially subbing in Vaughn or McCoy for some carries and Dare Ogunbowale or Raymond Calais in passing-down situations. Jones packed on some weight this offseason to prepare for a larger workload, reportedly getting up to around 225 pounds.
Jones likely will enter Week 1 as a starter, according to ESPN.com's Jenna Laine.
Rookie third-round pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn should still be in the mix for carries, but his shot at the lead role right out of the gate took a big hit after the NFL canceled offseason programs and preseason games. Jones has been preparing for the possibility of a much larger workload in his third NFL season, focusing on his pass-catching skills and bulking up to around 225 pounds. While he should have the initial advantage, Jones could lose ground in a hurry if he fails to impress early in the season. There's also a chance the Tampa backfield fails to provide a reliable fantasy producer altogether, especially if either Dare Ogunbowale or Raymond Calais steals a large chunk of the receiving work.
Jones is up to 225 pounds and has been working diligently with trainer Luke Neal on his pass catching this offseason, Luke Easterling of SI.com reports.
The third-year back has some extra motivation in the form of the Buccaneers' selection of Vanderbilt product Ke'Shawn Vaughn in the third round of April's draft, with the latter certainly a threat to put a dent into Jones' workload. The projected competition aside, Jones was likely to focus on improving his pass-catching acumen this offseason anyhow, considering his limitations in that area last season often kept him off the field on third downs in favor of Dare Ogunbowale. Neal recently posted multiple videos of Jones working on his routes on his Twitter account, including one with the USC product running a deep post and making an impressive catch about 20 yards downfield.
Jones will have competition for carries in the form of rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn, whom the Buccaneers selected in the third round (76th overall pick) Friday night.
Vaughn wrapped up his college career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Vanderbilt, and though he was clearly a tier below the top prospects at his position in this year's draft, he has the talent to push Jones and slide into the role vacated by the departed Peyton Barber. Jones has been the subject of praise on more than one occasion from general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians this offseason, and the selection of Vaughn isn't a referendum on the USC product's standing with the team by any means. In fact, Greg Auman of The Athletic believes the fact Tampa passed on drafting a back in the second round -- when the likes of J.K. Dobbins and Cam Akers were still available -- is a tacit endorsement of Jones. However, both Licht and Arians have also made clear that they're looking to ideally utilize two diverse tailbacks in their base offensive plans. Therefore, much like last season, Jones could find his carries frequently capped in the 15-to-17 range if Vaughn remains healthy and develops as expected.
Both GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians remain high on Jones' upside, although that won't preclude them from focusing on the running back position in the upcoming draft, Carmen Vitali of the team's official site reports.
Licht was effusive in his praise of Jones during a Thursday conference call with reporters, noting the team thinks the third-year back "hasn't even scratched the surface of what he can be." That type of sentiment would have been virtually inconceivable with respect to Jones at this time last year, as the USC product was coming off an utterly forgettable rookie season in which he rushed for just 44 yards at a minuscule 1.9 yards per carry. However, Jones made significant strides in 2019, generating a 172-724-6 line on the ground that he complemented with 31 receptions. His work through the air supports the notion Jones is on the path to becoming a legitimate every-down back, but Licht notes the team will enter this year's draft still looking to fortify the position. "We have a lot of faith in Ronald, and in fact, we have more faith in him now that we ever have," Licht said. "But that's another position, as you can tell [when] you look across the league, some of the better teams they have one, two or three guys, sometimes four, that they can rely on in different roles in their offense."
Coach Bruce Arians said the Bucs would "love to have a pass-catching back" to complement Jones in the backfield, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.
This might be taken as a hint that the Bucs are comfortable with Jones as their lead runner, but it also could be interpreted as a critique of his blocking and receiving skills. The offseason priorities in Tampa Bay were to add Tom Brady and re-sign key players in the defensive front seven, while RB Peyton Barber and WR Breshad Perriman were permitted to leave without much of a challenge. The backfield depth chart now looks paper-thin behind Jones, featuring Dare Ogunbowale, T.J. Logan (thumb) and Aca'Cedric Ware -- a trio with 16 combined NFL carries. Tampa figures to add running backs in the coming weeks, and while that may include an early draft pick, Arians doesn't seem too worried about the position.
General manager Jason Licht said the Buccaneers expect Jones to be even better in 2020, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports.
While far from spectacular this past season, Jones undoubtedly took a big step forward from his washout rookie campaign, leading the Tampa backfield in rushing yards (724), yards per carry (4.2), receiving yards (309) and yards per target (7.7). There's potential for a larger workload with Peyton Barber scheduled to become a free agent on the heels of an underwhelming season, but it won't come as any surprise if the Bucs replace the veteran with an early draft pick or superior free agent. Jones likely will have competition for carries in one form or another, plus the Bucs still have passing-down specialist Dare Ogunbowale.
Jones rushed 11 times for 106 yards and secured both of his targets for 10 yards in the Buccaneers' 28-22 overtime loss to the Falcons on Sunday. He also committed two fumbles, losing one.
Jones' pair of fumbles were naturally a blemish, but he did help make up for it with a career-high rushing yardage total that was partly comprised of a 33-yard run. It was a positive finish to the season for Jones, who posted 183 total rushing yards over his last pair of games and was exponentially better than during an utterly forgettable 2018 rookie campaign. Head coach Bruce Arians never quite committed fully to either Jones or backfield mate Peyton Barber as a feature back this season, which makes Jones' final total of 724 rushing yards respectable given the circumstances.
Jones rushed 14 times for 77 yards and a touchdown while adding three catches for 32 yards on four targets in Saturday's 23-20 loss to Houston.
With quarterback Jameis Winston struggling to the tune of three first-half interceptions, the Buccaneers relied on the ground game to get them back in it. Jones turned seven first-half carries into 69 yards and a touchdown, scoring from four yards out right at the two-minute warning. The 22-year-old running back went quiet after halftime but has clearly established himself as the lead back over Peyton Barber, who rushed five times for 13 yards and lost a fumble. Locked in as the top option in Tampa Bay's backfield, Jones will look to finish strong when the Falcons come to town in Week 17.
Jones rushed 11 times for 23 yards and brought in one of three targets for 26 yards in the Buccaneers' 38-17 win over the Lions on Sunday.
Jones showed off his playmaking ability on his one reception, but his work on the ground was once again significantly underwhelming. The second-year back has rushed for 36 yards or fewer in three straight games, and he's only eclipsed the 50-yard mark on the ground on five occasions this season. Jones and Peyton Barber also continue in a nearly even time split in the backfield, which leaves Tampa's ground game a virtual stay-away situation for fantasy title games in Week 16.
Jones rushed 11 times for 36 yards and brought in four of five targets for 23 yards in the Buccaneers' 38-35 win over the Colts on Sunday.
Jones and backfield mate Peyton Barber each logged 11 carries, keeping the Buccaneers' backfield situation as confusing as ever in the thick of the fantasy postseason. Jones was solid as a receiver, although he couldn't do much with what were mostly dump-off targets. The second-year back heads into a Week 15 interconference clash with the porous Lions defense having rushed for 51 yards or fewer in five straight games, but having seen multiple targets in six of his last seven contests overall.
Coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that Jones is still the Buccaneers' starting running back, Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Arians' vote of confidence comes after Jones was benched during the third quarter of the Week 13 win over the Jaguars after the running back failed to pick up a blitz. Though Jones retains the top spot on the depth chart, the task of predicting whether he or Peyton Barber will receive the bulk of carries in a given week has proven confounding for fantasy managers all season. The 2018 second-round pick could realistically garner a more sizable workload Sunday versus the Colts, but his ability to lose significant carries due to a single mistake makes him difficult to completely trust for fantasy purposes.
Jones rushed just six times for eight yards in the Buccaneers' 28-11 win over the Jaguars on Sunday.
Jones ended up 11 carries behind backfield Peyton Barber in yet another confounding week of running back usage courtesy of coach Bruce Arians. The Buccaneers' head man explained in his postgame press conference that the disparity in the division of labor was due both to Barber finding success more consistently on the ground and Jones missing a blitz pickup at one point, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports. Therefore, it's difficult to draw too many lasting conclusions from Sunday's numbers, and Jones could well be back in a larger role in a Week 14 interconference battle versus the Colts.
Jones rushed 12 times for 51 yards and a touchdown and secured all three targets for 16 yards in the Buccaneers' 35-22 win over the Falcons on Sunday.
Jones split run-game work almost evenly with Peyton Barber, who logged 11 carries himself. However, it was Jones who got a touchdown opportunity and made good with it, powering his way into the end zone from four yards out to cap off the opening drive of the second half for the Buccaneers. The score was Jones' fifth of the season, all of which have come on the ground. The second-year back will look to follow up his solid performance when he faces the vulnerable Jaguars run defense Week 13.
Jones rushed just four times for 13 yards and brought in two of four targets for one yard in the Buccaneers' 34-17 loss to the Saints on Sunday.
The final numbers say it all in terms of type of day it was for Jones, whose current "lead back" designation equated to zero fantasy relevance Sunday. Game script blew up any chance the Buccaneers had of sticking with the ground attaack, but due to the fact the team's defense frequently puts them in a hole, that's at risk of happening on any given week. Jones will look to boost his production significantly when he faces the Falcons' suddenly resurgent defense Week 12.
Jones rushed 11 times for 29 yards and a touchdown and secured all eight targets for 77 yards in the Buccaneers' 30-27 win over the Cardinals on Sunday. He also lost a fumble.
Jones' lost fumble didn't help his cause in his first official game as the starting running back, but he still put together a strong fantasy effort thanks to a seven-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter and a team/career-high eight receptions. Jones ultimately logged the same number of carries as backfield mate Peyton Barber, however, so it appears Bruce Arians' definition of lead back is a bit more fluid than other coaches. Jones will look for more overall opportunities in a Week 11 matchup versus a tough Saints defense.
Coach Bruce Arians said Jones is the Buccaneers' starting running back going forward, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. "He's been consistent [and] he's been more explosive," Arians said.
The news isn't surprising, as Jones has out-touched Peyton Barber, 32-15, over the last two weeks, but it's positive news for Jones' fantasy owners that the boss acknowledged his superior skill. Jones registered 67 rushing yards -- his second-highest total of the year -- and a touchdown in this past Sunday's overtime loss to the Seahawks. Barber still figures to get into the rotation, but Jones has a solid opportunity to live up to his starter's tag Sunday against the Cardinals, who have allowed 126.9 rushing yards per game, the ninth most in the league.
Jones rushed 18 times for 67 yards and a touchdown and secured both of his targets for 15 yards in the Buccaneers' 40-34 overtime loss to the Seahawks on Sunday.
Jones spearheaded the Buccaneers' backfield by a comfortable margin, garnering 14 more carries than Peyton Barber. He powered in from eight yards out to cap off a seven-play, 75-yard drive in the first quarter as well, his third rushing touchdown of the season overall. Jones has encouragingly logged double-digit carries in consecutive games, but it's still anyone's guess who'll lead the backfield between he and Barber from week to week. Jones will look to build on what was his second-highest rushing yardage total of the season when he faces the Cardinals in Week 10.
Jones rushed 11 times for 35 yards and secured one of four targets for 17 yards in the Buccaneers' 27-23 loss to the Titans on Sunday.
Jones outpaced backfield mate Peyton Barber in carries by one and also made good use of his one reception. However, the Buccaneers' backfield picture remains as muddled as ever, as coach Bruce Arians appears set to keep both backs in a timeshare for the time being. As a result, Jones remains a speculative play heading into a Week 9 matchup against a tough Seattle run defense.
Jones rushed four times for 10 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' 37-26 loss to the Panthers on Sunday.
If not for a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter, Jones' day would have been an absolute dud. As it was, he saw a very limited role with game script quickly turning against the ground attack. Peyton Barber also doubled up Jones in carries, keeping their timeshare as perplexing as usual. Jones will look to bounce back with more opportunities in a Week 8 matchup against the Titans following a Week 7 bye.
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