Wednesday’s signing of running back Leonard Fournette was another splashy move by the Bucs in a series of blockbuster additions in 2020. But just because Fournette is a big name on the roster doesn’t mean that Ronald Jones II’s role will diminish. In fact, he’s still the number one back.

“It’s his job,” said Bruce Arians about Jones on Thursday. “Nothing’s changed for him. We just added a heck of a piece of insurance and see what kind of role he can cut out. It’s his job if he wins it or loses it, and he’s already got it, so he’d have to screw it up. I don’t see that happening.”

That’s a big endorsement to give Jones with all the hype around Fournette. Arians went on to say that Fournette will fit right in, and each running back will have their own role carved out to help the offense, starting with Jones.

“RoJo’s our guy,” Arians said. “Shady’s ready for his role, so it’s just gonna be building roles as we go along and having enough quality players to finish this thing.”

It’s a very crowded running back room now with the addition of Fournette and final roster cuts coming on Saturday. While adding a player of Fournette’s caliber is a positive, it does make it more difficult to configure the roster unless the Bucs keep five running backs.

After Jones and Fournette as the top two backs, LeSean McCoy and Dare Ogunbowale are battling for the third down back, with Ogunbowlae also playing an important role on special teams. That leaves rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who the Bucs would probably not like to cut and run the risk of losing their third-round pick if another team claims him on waivers before he could reach the practice squad. But Vaughn has been the fourth-best back throughout all of camp, and now Fournette should push him even further down the depth chart.

“Anything is possible,” Arians said. “Again, special teams’ roles affect everything. If there’s a fifth back that’s a core special teamer versus a linebacker or tight end that’s not, than yeah, they’re gonna be on the team and active on Sunday. We’ll put all that together in the next 48 hours, cutting day is always a very, very tough time.”

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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8 months ago

&*$dammit Arians. God forbid we as Bucs fans get any peace of mind at the RB position.

8 months ago

Talk is cheap. But the notion that there has to be a number one running back and therefore anyone else is lesser has forgotten the golden age of the Bucs run game, back in the days of Thunder and Lightening – Alstott and DDunn – which took us to an NFC Championship game … and then a few years later, Dunn had moved on but we still had a great pair of running backs with Alstott still on the roster supplemented by Pittman, which of course won us our only Super Bowl championship. Nobody fretted in those days about the… Read more »

8 months ago

Is Ke’Shawn Vaughn going to the Offenisve version of MJ Stewart? Another meh player that was drafted way too early.

8 months ago

RJ2 has not done anything to deserve being handed the lead role, except learn the playbook which Fournette now has to tackle. Sometime in the second quarter of the season, if it takes that long, Fournette is likely the lead back. As long as they don’t conclude he’ll get 12 killed back there.

Reply to  matador
8 months ago

Or you can argue, based on last year, he didn’t do anything to lose it either

8 months ago

i feel like this signing was a after thought, unexpected but jumped on the upgrade at runningback and idk if the winston rumors were true, them telling him they are gonna sign him and not to talk to other teams. i feel theyll do whatever they need to to win a superbowl. players may lose jobs but for a superbowl eh… if you do your job you should have no worries. no different for any of us.