After two weeks of being the primary option in the backfield, Ronald Jones II is proving he can be the lead running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the absence of Leonard Fournette, Jones has improved in many of the rushing statistical categories.
Many professional athletes maintain the aspect that they must get into a rhythm in order to perform at their best. The running back position seems to be one position in particular that really requires a player to get into a grove to excel. Over the last two weeks, Jones has been given the opportunity to establish a rhythm, get into a grove, and execute. He’s taken this opportunity and is proving himself as a viable number one running back.
Against the Chargers and Bears, Jones has been involved in no less than 64% of the offensive plays. Very telling considering that the Buccaneers have been running the ball 30% of offensive snaps. This lends itself to his ability to run and block. He is also getting involved in the passing game.
Hand It Off
With his increase in snaps, Jones has increased his yards per rush. This evolution started during the game against the Broncos in week three. When Leonard Fournette went down with an injury, Jones was the back to take the bulk of the carries. His average rush jumped from the mid-three-yard range to an impressive 4.08 yards per rush.
When weeks four and five arrived Jones must have entered the games knowing he did not need to look over his shoulder. Against the Chargers, Jones carried the ball 20 times and had an average yards per carrying of 5.55 yards. An amazing average for any running back. Not to be outdone he averaged 6.24 yards per carry. Additionally, he showed some home run potential with long runs of 37 and 23 yards during the last two weeks. Furthermore, Jones has improved his rushing yards after contact per rush. He currently is averaging three yards after contact, an amount that is very similar to Fournette’s.
When Fournette Returns
When healthy Fournette is a force to be reckoned with. The question will then be, who will the coaching staff use as a primary running back? Jones is currently making the case that it should be him. He is also showcasing the need to be involved more and in rhythm to be effective. Soon we will see if the coaching staff has seen enough of Jones to let him be the main attraction in the backfield.
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