After playing just six snaps and fumbling away a game-changing turnover, Bucs RB Ronald Jones did not return to the game in Week 1. The next day, head coach Bruce Arians clarified that Jones “struggled mentally” to get over his mistake. However, the coaching staff has not lost faith in Jones, as Arians committed to him as the starter against Atlanta on Sunday.
“Yeah [every game] is different and RoJo was ready,” Arians said. “We started throwing the ball a bunch more [in Week 1]. But he’s starting this week and he’s ready to roll.”
#Bucs HC Bruce Arians says that Ronald Jones will start on Sunday.
Being the “starter” in Tampa Bay’s backfield is a formality, but it’s worth noting that Jones didn’t start in Week 1. Leonard Fournette received the first opportunities against Dallas, an honor that will apparently fall to Jones now. The Bucs fourth-year running back rushed four times for 14 yards against the Cowboys on Thursday night. Jones is coming off a 978-yard season in just 14 games during the 2020 campaign.
Jones has struggled with confidence over the course of his four-year career, especially when he’s committed a mistake. Arians has been vocally supportive of Jones for years despite the young running back’s rollercoaster career.
Fournette paced the Bucs backfield on Thursday, playing 42 of 65 offensive snaps. Giovani Bernard saw the field for 17 reps, a a workload that Arians has indicated will not change. Expect Jones to be closer to splitting reps with Fournette on Sunday.
The Bucs (1-0) host the visiting Atlanta Falcons (0-1) on Sunday at 4pm EST in a divisional tilt.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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