The fog from Sunday’s heartbreaking loss should be clearing up soon and as of right now, the Los Angeles Rams are public enemy number one. The good and the bad can be picked apart from the game, but there’s one thing I believe the Buccaneers are making a huge mistake on. Not starting Ronald Jones.
A Necessary Change
I’ll admit it right off the bat that Bruce Arians is in a really tough position regarding the running back position. The two-time AP Coach of the Year gave Peyton Barber the nod of approval all throughout OTAs, training camp and during the preseason. Even going as far as ignoring the position completely in free agency and the draft. But Arians also wasn’t expecting one thing. He wasn’t expecting Jones to be this much better than Barber this early in the season. And truthfully speaking, he’s not alone.
The Ronald Jones Show
Even after showing out all offseason and a noticeable “juice” added to his running game, the majority of Tampa Bay still held their breath until the regular season. Is it just a facade, can he really be a between-the-tackle runner? Jones silently answered the masses within three weeks of regular season football.
Known as a slashing, to-the-house kind of back while at USC, Jones has completely elevated his game. Through three weeks, he is running with power, breaking tackles with legitimate ease, shifts as if he never put on the weight, and by all means, is out to prove the starting job is his.
For The Better of The Bucs
Looking at both running backs and it becomes very clear which of the two are more productive. For the season, Peyton Barber has 163 rushing yards on 44 carries and a 3.7 yards-per-carry average. Jones has rushed 164 yards on 31 carries for a 5.3 yards-per-carry average. I consider myself pretty intelligent, but not smart enough to disagree with math. My math is telling me to start Jones. It’ll be hard on Barber with his reduced role. It will be hard on Arians who defended the guy tooth and nail. But at the end of the day, it’s the best move for the Buccaneers moving forward.
Source: buccaneers.com, NFL.com
Photo credit: buccaneers.com