All eyes on are Ronald Jones this offseason. From how he put on 15 pounds to how everyone in the Buccaneers facility is high on the improvements that he has made. Whether you believe them or not, nothing can take away from the lack of production out of Jones last year. I think Jones is in the best position that he can be in. Entering his second year, there are not nearly as many expectations as his rookie year. And there’s now a strategy-oriented coach who puts together a game plan based on his players’ strengths.
Everyone knows Bruce Arians; his record speaks for itself. One of the reasons he has been very successful at this level is all of the prep work he puts in before the players even arrive at training camp. Bucs fans have absolutely no reason NOT to believe Arians when he says he is going to put his players “in the best position to win.”
Success for Jones
Getting back to Jones. What is it that will make him successful? A great offensive line to get out to the second level blocking for him? Is it an offensive coordinator that’s going to move him around and across the field just to get the ball in his hands as much as possible? I think the answer is more simple than we all would like to believe; all that Jones needs to succeed is trust.
When the running back was drafted last year, he was stepping into a locker room that…well, let’s be honest… was not very stable. Nobody knew who the starting quarterback was going to be as of week 5. The defensive coordinator was let go mid-season. The head coach was on the chopping block. And let’s not forget about the icing on the cake — the long injury list. Jones was welcomed, as a rookie, to a team that was all about feeding the hot hand.
Before the Bucs
When Jones was in college at USC, he was fit into somewhat of a spread system, Tee Martin’s offense. Jones had 3,619 yards on 591 carries, hitting “pay dirt” 42 times (three of those were receptions). Some will make the case that Sam Darnold took a lot of the pressure off of Jones with his ability to extend plays, but is that really any different than what the Bucs already have with Jameis Winston?
When all is said and done, I strongly believe that the center of Jones’ success at the collegiate level was due to everyone knowing (himself included) that he was THE guy. He has all of the things you look for in a premiere back, especially considering he put on 15 pounds of pure muscle in the offseason.
The Buccaneers finally have a coach who knows how to put Jones in action, so fans should trust him like Arians trusts Jones. Bucs fans, trust is the final piece he needs to succeed.