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.”

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.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is'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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4 months ago

That was a hard tackle that hit the ball perfectly. I’m glad Rojo will be back out there on Sunday.

Reply to  TBChucky
4 months ago

The ball got punched out.

4 months ago

I hope he has a 100 yard day, and at least one score. Both Lenny, and Rojo are on one year deals. If one can’t grab the job by the balls once, and for all, it’s time to draft a dynamic RB like Kamara.

4 months ago

It’s time to move off of Ronald Jones. He’s been this hot and cold RB since he got drafted and always seems to make a major mistake right when you don’t need it then he gets into his own head and ruins any chance of his redeeming himself later on in the game. I am sorry but you cannot count on a player that cannot get out of his own head. When Fournette makes a mistake he at the very least does everything he can to make up for that mistake and continues to play hard and does actually makes… Read more »

Reply to  Benjamin
4 months ago

Yes, Fournette is more self motivated, and is a harder runner, can get that extra half yard

Captain Sly
4 months ago

The Bucs are not going to give up on RoJo all because of a “peanut punch”. The coach, the GM, and the casual fan with a reasonable understanding of the game realize that this is a situation where a young talented player (RoJo) needs to grow up and learn how to become a Professional, leave all of that college/high school childishness behind. You’re working with Grown Men and nobody is here to baby sit you while you’re pouting on the sidelines. Under Raheem Morris & Dirk Koetter to a degree there was no player accountability. Personally I have to give… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Captain Sly