The Bucs Training Camp Diaries are an annual feature on PewterReport.com and we have two gems this year in veteran nose tackle Beau Allen, who will give PewterReport.com readers insight into the Bucs defense during training camp and the preseason, and rookie running back Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay’s second-round pick, who will offer his perspective on the offensive side of the ball.
Jones is battling Peyton Barber for the right to become a starter during his rookie season. With breakaway speed and electric acceleration, Jones brings a different dimension that Tampa Bay’s offense has lacked for quite some time. Because both Barber and Jones will play in the Bucs’ “Bash and Dash” backfield, the rookie from USC will need to prove in camp and the preseason that he’s mastered the playbook and can handle a sizeable workload during the regular season. In his three years with the Trojans, Jones rushed for 3,619 yards and 39 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. During his junior year, Jones had a breakout season, rushing for a career-high 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
The biggest area in which Jones needs to grow is in the passing game. The USC product had just 32 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns in his three years with the Trojans. Jones had a career-high 14 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown as a junior, but clearly needs more work as a receiver and pass protector because he wasn’t asked to play a large role in the passing game while at USC. That will be a big point of emphasis for Jones in August.
I’m Hoping To Take One To The House
As told to Mark Cook
Training camp itself is definitely a grind. Once you get one install down you’re putting in something else new, and they want you to go out and execute the next day. And you’ve got to. At this level you’re a professional athlete so you have to do what’s expected of you and then some. But it is going well so far. I’m very eager, but that first game next week against Miami, don’t know what we’re going to call yet in terms of plays, but as soon as I get out there I’m hoping to take one to the house and make plays in all phases of the game.
It will be nice to play against someone other than your own guys. It’s slowing down a little bit for me, but I’m not all the way there yet. Obviously, I have many things to improve on but I’m getting better every day, and that’s exactly what you’re looking for and what the coaches are looking for.
Ronald Jones – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
The coaching can be tough but it’s a mix of both. When I mess up they definitely let me know, and when I make a good play they let me know as well. And that’s what you need, a good balance, because you don’t want to get too high or too low because that’ll make it difficult when you’re playing against the best in the world.
So I am just getting into a routine, studying and playbook and then just don’t hold back. When you’re out there on the game field, the practice field, you just have to be loose.
The veteran players, the only time they get on us is when it’s time for rookie duties like carry their pads. That’s the only time they make us feel like a rookie. Other than that they’ve brought us in with open arms and have answered any questions I’ve had. Peyton Barber, Jaquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims. It is a good group of guys willing to help and share things from when they were rookies.
But there was some other rookie stuff. I had to sing on stage in front of the team. Well, I didn’t sing, I did a rap song, so that was cool. Some guys sing, but I’m not too much of a singer, so I did my rap and got off. It was Lil’ Baby’s, “Yes Indeed.” It didn’t go as well as I expected. I was surprised. I got swept off the stage – but don’t tell anybody!
Going up against guys in practice that I watched growing up like Gerald McCoy, JPP and others – I love it. They make me better every day. I have to set up my blocks, things like that, because you can’t just hit a hole or they’re going to two-gap it and come off and nail you. I’m just working on patience as a running back, too. That is something I am learning every day in camp.
Ronald Jones – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Our quarterback, Jameis Winston, has been handling the quarterback rotations well. Most definitely. Just knowing his background from college, being a national champion at Florida State, he’s been on teams and sees what it takes. I’m just trying to get on his level and the other guys’ level. You can see the level of leadership he has.
Earning the trust of the coaches is really important. They trusted me and picked me to be the player that I want to be, so I’m just trying to execute for them. There’s a difference between not knowing and not executing, so as long as you know what you’re doing, you should be able to execute it when the play is called. I’m looking forward to doing that in Miami.
Follow Bucs rookie running back Ronald Jones on Twitter at @RoJo
The next RoJo Bucs Training Camp Diary will be posted in a few days as well as regular Beau Allen Bucs Training Camp Diaries. Be sure to visit PewterReport.com multiple times throughout the day during training camp for new stories and updates from practice live from One Buccaneer Place, and follow us on Twitter at @PewterReport.