Tampa Bay felt like they got just the guy they wanted when they were able to land Ronald Jones in the second round of the 2018 draft and – with hefty draft capital invested in him – he entered the league with high expectations last season. Despite being drafted at just 20-years-old, Jones totaled 3,619 rushing yards on 6.1 yards per carry over his three seasons at USC.

Jones was brought on to be an electric playmaker who’s agility and speed could add explosiveness to the Bucs backfield, but to the contrary, Jones provided little to no impact as he rarely even stepped on the field in 2018. Jones finished last season with just 44 yards on 23 carries(1.9 avg.) a hauling in only seven receptions on nine targets.

Bucs RBs coach Todd McNair
Bucs RBs coach Todd McNair – Photo by: Getty Images

With that said, it was no surprise that Jones was a big topic of conversation when the Bucs’ new running backs coach, Todd McNair, took the podium at One Buc Place on Thursday.

“RoJo had 23 carries on the season and on 13 of those he got hit at or behind the line of scrimmage,” McNair said. “So the biggest thing with him is restoring his confidence.”

McNair continued.

“I mean a guy coming out of college, USC is high-profile program, he’s a second round draft pick and he’s not having a lot of success, I’ve seen it happen before. His confidence can fade a bit, but for him it’s baby steps and working on our approach and learning how to be a pro. That’s pretty much what we work on, all the little stuff, the day to day. Going to work.”

Confidence is something that many attributed to Jones lack of success as he never truly carved out a role for himself in Tampa’s offense last year. After a similar lack of production in his first preseason, it appeared as though he never earned the trust of Dirk Koetter’s staff, thus eliminating many of his opportunities and never giving him a chance to get his feet wet.

Maturity could have also been an issue, according to McNair. Again, Jones was drafted at just 20-years-old and was forced to grow up quick as he was thrown into the league.

“He’s young and he’s a little immature,” McNair said. “RoJo, to me, and I don’t really know his family background and stuff yet, but it seems like…he didn’t have a strong male figure in his life…so he’s kind of all over the place – but he’s a good kid and he’s working hard, so I’m looking forward to a lot of good things from him.”

Bucs RB Ronald Jones II
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

McNair went on to address the issues Jones had as a receiver out of the backfield.

“What I noticed with him, I think the biggest thing with him is his hand placement,” McNair said. “He does some funky things with his hands from a catching technique standpoint, he’s got some funny stuff. At some point I had to learn the game to help with hand placement and muscle memory on where to place your hands and stuff.”

McNair has begun working with Jones on different drills to improve his technique and build muscle memory through repetition, but he doesn’t want to put too much emphasis on the issue to let him work through it without it becoming a source of anxiety for young running back.

“He came out in the first week of phase one and we started doing the little hand game and he hasn’t dropped a ball since,” Mcnair said. “So it’s just some mechanical stuff we can work on. Again, it’s confidence. I don’t want to keep him after practice and throw balls, I don’t want his teammates… just leave him alone. Let’s not let it build up anxiety like, ‘the ball’s coming, oh my God.'”

McNair recalled issues he had himself during his playing days in Kansas City, citing that despite being a good pass-catcher in the NFL, even he went through self-described “black holes” where he would tell his quarterback, Steve DeBerg, to not even throw the ball his way in practice. But, to get through those issues, McNair said DeBerg would keep throwing him the ball because it’s just something you have to work through.

Bucs RB Ronald Jones II
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

McNair has confidence that the Bucs can turn the tides, though, despite coming off of a season where the team ranked 29th in the NFL at just 95.2 rushing yards per game.

“We’ve just got to keep grinding, that’s [Harold Goodwin’s] fault,” McNair joked about the team’s new offensive line coach. “We’ve just got to keep grinding and working at it. We’ve got to find out what they do best, what we do best as an offense. Like I said, 13 out of 23 [carries] hit at or behind the line of scrimmage. There’s not a lot you can do, all of that is not on him. We’ll just work as an offense, understanding with the line and the running backs and stuff and I’m confident we’ll get it going. We’ve got a young group but they’re talented. I like what I see and the guys we’ve got.”

 

 

 

Previous articleSR’s Fab 5: White Is A Legend In The Making; Inside The Bucs’ Draft
Next articleBucs’ Christensen To Winston: “More Isn’t Always Better”

26 COMMENTS

  1. I like McNare’s appraoch. No way to we ditch this kid. And didn’t realize he was that young coming out. Get his technique down and keep putting him out there.

    And not having a reliable O line is not a great way for any RB not named Barry Sanders to try to make it.

    +38
    -1
    Rating: +37. From 39 votes.
    Please wait...
  2. I agree, D-man. It’s the O-line that needs a huge infusion of good coaching. The running game will come along as soon as the O-line gets better at run blocking.

    +18
    -1
    Rating: +17. From 19 votes.
    Please wait...
  3. I know how you can restore his confidence – find a way to stop him from getting hit in the backfield on every hand-off. Amazing what running through an actual hole can do for one’s confidence.

    +30
    0
    Rating: +30. From 30 votes.
    Please wait...
  4. I Love the detail that we are getting from the coaches, all I seemed to hear last night was just ducking and dodging from any coaches about players and issues. It may just be because they are new and can be open about previous issues, but if they keep giving us detail and helping us understand what is going on with players and how they are improving and where they need to improve then it’s gonna be a much better year. When we just get “Yeah we gotta keep workin on those areas” or “We gotta figure it out” that doesn’t TE is anything and we never really know what’s goin on… I hope they keep this up… Also I Love what I’m hearing because it sounds like these coaches are detail oriented and can see exactly why a player isn’t succeeding and then also seem to know how to fix it… Good stuff…

    +15
    -1
    Rating: +14. From 16 votes.
    Please wait...
  5. Here is something else I picked up elsewhere. ( I think it was probably Roy Cummings I heard this from.)

    The Bucs are also working on building ROJO’s thigh muscle so that he can do a decent job of breaking through that first contact.

    This staff does seem to have some better ideas how to handle a variety of situations fans in general are not going to think about.
    _________
    Go Bucs!!!!

    +7
    -2
    Rating: +5. From 9 votes.
    Please wait...
  6. I’m just hoping this guy is salvageable. Coach McNair thinks so and thats good. I was highly disappointed in Jones being a 2nd rd pick. We all looked for him to make decent contributions to the offense last yr.. He still might. One things for certain, many eyes are on him. I hope he does well.

    +15
    -1
    Rating: +14. From 16 votes.
    Please wait...
  7. Run Blocking:

    OK all of you guys who know something more, I have a question. Who is reputed to be or even known to be the better run blocker between Watford and Cappa?

    This is important for Barber, ROJO and anyone else that might be brought in as a running back. I heard a comment from BA to the effect that Dotson is a great pass blocker but weak as a run blocker.

    Maybe, BA is high on Barber precisely because he was able to get a few extra yards in spite of poor blocking on the right side. I think we know that Marpet is noted for his run blocking contributions as a guard on either side.

    Maybe this is why OL was not addressed in the draft this year. Maybe, the new regime saw the deficiencies among the DBs as the higher priorities as a result. Maybe, BA and staff can fix the OL well enough for this year and look for Dotson’s replacement during our next off season.

    What do you think?
    _________________
    Go Bucs!!!!!!!

    P.S. I did see where BA (and Arizona) drafted Watford initially so I guess he knew what he was getting in him.

    P.S.S.
    I also found this online. “2013 Guide: What Ourlads’ NFL Scouting Services said about EARL WATFORD: James Madison, 6036 300 5.06. Three-year starter. A zone blocking guard who is athletic. Can run on pulls and is effective blocking on the perimeter. Drives legs on contact and gets movement in the run game. Bends his knees and plays in a football leverage position. Uses his long arms to his advantage in pass protection. Flashes a quick punch to control opponent”
    Ourlads Scouting Service

    +7
    0
    Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
    Please wait...
  8. What about the OL? If the backs are good then the OL has to be the reason the run game stunk. i would like to see some talent added, particularly to the right side during the second round of free agency.

    +13
    0
    Rating: +13. From 13 votes.
    Please wait...
  9. I’m sure describing him as ” a little immature” is going to help with his confidence. Just look at the games he played in at USC. He was a scoring machine. If you want to shore up his confidence, talk about him as a man. He is a 2nd-year player. This is not rocket science. Give him an opportunity to succeed. Give him an Offensive line that functions.

    +12
    -1
    Rating: +11. From 13 votes.
    Please wait...
    • I don’t think he was calling him immature, as in a negative way, but probably as him being young and not seasoned in his understanding of his position at the NFL level.

      +4
      0
      Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
      Please wait...
  10. Don’t worry about anything, we’ll take care of that offensive line next year?

    +5
    -1
    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
    Please wait...
  11. How did Saquon Barkley win rookie of the year? Was it the Giants offensive line or was it Saquon?

    I hope Jones plays well, but I’m tired of hearing everyone complain about the line. The sub packages and play calling need to be better. It was obvious RoJo was a key when he rarely got in the game.

    +6
    -2
    Rating: +4. From 8 votes.
    Please wait...
  12. Simply put … Does anyone have more insight as to why BA and Licht have done little to nothing about our OL this year? I am asking for info or insight from PR and/or any who post here.

    +8
    -1
    Rating: +7. From 9 votes.
    Please wait...
  13. This wasn’t a great draft class of linemen, as evidenced by Howard and Lindstrom going in the first round. But the biggest factor by adding only Watford is they obviously think coaching was a big issue with this group. No way an offensive coach like Arians, with who they feel is a franchise QB, would not address the line some way, somehow, if they didn’t feel there was enough talent to succeed. Which leads me to believe they think the coaching was subpar last year. And I can tell you someone VERY high up was not pleased with the coaching this unit has gotten the last few years.

    +20
    -1
    Rating: +19. From 21 votes.
    Please wait...
  14. It is simple really.

    1. Bucs defense would put the offense down two scores early. You can still run the ball down two scores but that isn’t how the Bucs 2018 offense approached that last year.

    2. Offense forcing the ball downfield would lead to turnovers/three and outs which guaranteed the Bucs would be one dimensional in the second half of games. And the defense would be winded or the deficit would grow.

    3. The Bucs were not effective OR consistent with running the football in 2018. It is one thing to run the ball 30 times per game but only gain 3.0 YPC average. That would be madness to keep attempting to run the ball at 3 yard per clip on average. But the Bucs averaged 3.98 YPC as a team in 2018 (excluding Winston’s and Fitz’ averages) which is tied 30th with the Eagles. 4.0 YPC is near NFL average and easily attainable if the Bucs increase running attempts. The Bucs in 2018 were ranked #22 overall in rush attempts.

    Here are the top ten teams in terms of attempts:

    1. Ravens
    2. Seahawks
    3. Patriots
    4. Texans
    5. Saints
    6T. Bills
    6T. Bears
    8. Rams
    9. Titans
    10. Cowboys

    It is easy to run the ball more and boost attempts when you build or hold a lead in a game aka defense or quick scoring on offense.

    4. Also to boost YPC average the Bucs need to involve more players with juice. 37 attempts total between ROJO, Wilson, Humphries, and DJAX.

    Arians is going to help the offense by having a better and reliably special teams unit (especially kicking and kick return game) while having a defense that will stop the bleeding early in games.

    Bucs offense will be aggressive going downfield but not as much five step drops as Koetter’s offensive system. This helps out the passing game and hide the deficiency with tackles.

    But to really improve running game the Bucs will run more power m2m blocking and feature more speed guys to compliment Barber like ROJO, Ellington, etc. Remember the thunder and lightning duo of Alstott and Dunn?

    +9
    -1
    Rating: +8. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
  15. It’s a sad day for Buc Ass Bob just read the Las Vegas odds on this team 2 years ago when Fredster The Chef bohooo and never forget cgmasterbater after watching ESPN were all excited had Bucs in playoffs even all ready giving Jameis MVP superbowl game I bet every game except when Fitz started to Bucs to lose bought wife new car with kitty from bets but this year Las Vegas has this team 31st betting on them to lose with the great Bruce Arians pays so little it not worth the bet. Offence that was rated 11th last year been downgraded and 31 defence been downgraded with personal with hope of coaching up with 2 coordinators that were big losers last year no Fitz to win 2 games this year will help get 1 pick in draft for new GM next year!

    +3
    -20
    Rating: -17. From 23 votes.
    Please wait...
  16. So Bob has resorted to juvenile name calling to go along with his sophomoric remarks.

    Now we learn that Bob is a a gambling man who claims he was sharp enough to cash in the proceeds, by going against the team for which he professes to be a fan, for a new car. No wonder BAB is so negative. He sure doesn’t want the goons to show up at the BAB trailer park when the Bucs win.

    +12
    0
    Rating: +12. From 12 votes.
    Please wait...
  17. The thought of Cappa, and Benenoch being our best options at RG, and RT, when Dotson fails, or is injured is frightening.

    +10
    0
    Rating: +10. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
  18. Thanks, Mark.

    +2
    0
    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
  19. Lol BAB being his usual silly self. Hey BOOB, we I mean bob, show me one post where I said tampa was going to the super bowl when we drafted jameis? At this point I believe you’re bipolar. It’s the only way to explain your illogical line of thinking and thought process. I, unlike you, want this team to succeed no matter who the quarterback is. All you ever do is complain like an old man who had a baseb put through his window. You’re not a fan, you’re an infection. Keep pretending you have this whole thing figured out, eventually you’ll get one right. But until then, keep posting, and I’ll keep laughing and giving you “down” votes.

    +8
    -2
    Rating: +6. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
  20. Bob your a rambling jackass that makes no sense. Go fu”” yourself. Your a Stupid troll ass douche bag.

    +8
    -2
    Rating: +6. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
  21. Let’s wait and see if Liedtke starts as our RG. If so our OL will be a lot better. Half the time Warhop kept calling for zone blocking and our starters sucked at that. Fortunately, instead BA uses power OL plays which is just what the Patriots used last year to run all over their competition and won the Super Bowl. Done right it will create a perfect hole for Jones to run for TDs this year! With our two tallest TEs able to block on running plays they can be used to open holes too along with the OL power blocking when we have two TE formations.
    And near the end zone use Vea as our FB (which he played in High School) and let him blast a big hole for Barber to run through (remember the Fridge long ago with the Bears). That will lessen Jameis’ problem of too few scores from the red zone!!! That would also work on short yardage for first downs too.

    +11
    0
    Rating: +11. From 11 votes.
    Please wait...
  22. Reply scudog and the chef if I had bet on the Bucs to win I would be in the Poorhouse and would actually have to move into that trailer park that Scudog talks about. As the scene 2 years ago ESPN and the media all excited about Jamis had the Bucs winning before the season Las Vegas odds didn’t have them winning but so many people bet on them to win based on the media it would have been foolish to pass up those bets. I am a fan that holds out hoping a decent management will come to this team it’s only going to happen when they hit rock bottom which they will this year I don’t think the GM is a stupid as the movie makes I think the Glaciers are calling the shots I think the GM is just taking his salary and doing what the glazers want he’s a Yes Man. I think in The Strange World the glaciers live in they think they should be making the decisions and more decisions by them will improve things when it’s actually the opposite. Same thing was happening at the Cleveland Browns and the NFL sent a man there to fix it name John Dorsey. I hope the NFL will send somebody to straighten out the Bucs next year next time you go to the game look around to see how many fans aren’t there and how many fans of the other team are there ask yourself who’s the real fan the man that wants change like me or the bozos that condone everything in this club does

    +1
    -8
    Rating: -7. From 9 votes.
    Please wait...
  23. I did not like the way the bad coach treated Jones last year. The plays called for Jones were like goal line plays. QB taking the snap at center and 7 players all bunched up on the line. I think Jones will be a lot of fun to watch this year with the much better coaching.

    +7
    0
    Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
    Please wait...
  24. There was an interview from the Bucs media team on Justin Watson (I think it was during last years rookie mini-camp), RoJo was Watson’s roommate and when the camera turned to him he seems to be very excited about showing his new grills! That didn’t transmit a lot of confidence to me I must confess.

    +1
    0
    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...
  25. This Buc Ass Bob kid sounds highly educated.

    Here is an idea Bobbie..if you can’t even spell offense and defense, perhaps you should concentrate on special ed..err special teams.

    +1
    0
    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...