The running back-by-committee approach is alive and, well, struggling in Tampa Bay two games into the season. After Ronald Jones played just six snaps in Week 1, Leonard Fournette saw the former second round pick cut into his workload with 26 reps in Week 2. But Fournette still led the way with 31 snaps, and it doesn’t sound like Jones is passing him anytime soon.
On Sunday, Jones made several bizarre plays ranging from questionable to flat-out terrible. After missing two opportunities to pick up key first downs, Jones whiffed on linebacker Deion Jones in pass protection on 2nd-and-20. The Atlanta defender sacked Tom Brady, forcing a Bucs punt early in the fourth quarter.
“Yeah, it speaks for itself,” Arians said when asked about the blown block. “Ro, that’s his guy. He’s gotta get out of those types of situations. I thought he ran hard and protected the ball, but again, you can’t have those mental errors.”
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: USA Today
The pass protection mistakes are nothing new for Jones, who has struggled in that area all four years of his career. After a game-changing fumble against Dallas, the patience of the Bucs’ coaching staff may be wearing thin with Jones. As talented as the USC product is, Jones’ mistakes consistently derail an offense loaded with talent.
“This is his [fourth] year, man,” Arians said. “It shouldn’t be a problem, and at times it is. Attention to detail, like missing that blitz. He is a great runner and he caught the ball well. I would like to see him run for the first down [instead of going out of bounds before the marker]. His mind is fine, it’s just his play isn’t as good as it should be.”
Of course, Fournette nearly fumbled the game away on the drive before Jones’ gaffes. Later in the game, Fournette missed a clear hole on an opportunity to convert 4th-and-1 to ice the game. In the meantime, don’t worry. Giovani Bernard will stay nicely tucked away on the Tampa Bay sideline.
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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