In 2018, Ronald Jones II had one of the worst rookie seasons in recent memory for any position. 23 rushes for 44 yards and 1.9 yards per attempt were staggering for a second-round pick. Fans around the league were ready to call him a bust after year one.
In 2019, things improved under Bruce Arians. 724 yards and 4.2 yards per attempt highlighted some flashes and potential, but still, something was missing.
Fast forward to 2020 and Jones has proved the haters wrong. His 472 yards are third in the league after week six. For the first time since 2015, a Buccaneers running back has rushed for over 100 yards for three straight games. It’s been a long journey for Jones, but he seems to have found his groove.
Still, Jones continues to struggle in the passing game. He is efficient in the screen game, but when asked to run other routes, he just doesn’t get it done.
But that’s okay!
The Buccaneers don’t need Jones to be an Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliot, or Christian McCaffrey. He is a vicious North and South runner who can burn a defense at the end of the game. In his role, Jones has been a stud in 2020, don’t fit a round peg into a square hole. Let LeSean McCoy, Leonard Fournette, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn handle the bulk of the pass-catching work.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have three games on primetime in a row, facing the Las Vegas Raiders, the New York Giants, and the New Orleans Saints. The Raiders have one of the worst rushing defense in the league, ranking 30th in DVOA.
Jones should be able to go over 100 for the fourth time in a row in front of a national crowd. The last player to do that in a Buccaneers uniform? James Wilder in 1985.
Jones has the opportunity to bring a powerful running game back to a Buccaneers offense that has been one dimensional for half a decade. Fans wrote him off too early, myself included, but he’s forcing us to eat our words.