TAMPA, Fla. - Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has picked Ronald Jones as his main running back heading into the season. Despite the fact that the Bucs drafted two new running backs this year and Jones was benched by Arians in December against Jacksonville for missing a block.
“It’s definitely motivating,” said Jones. "Obviously, no player wants to come out of the game. I kind of just took it as a coaching moment – learn from it. You can’t keep making the same mistake, so try to correct the old mistake and not make a new one. You’re never going to be perfect on the field, but obviously practice makes perfect so that’s the goal there.”
Jones is entering his third year wiser and thicker. He put on an additional seven to eight pounds and comes to camp with a lot more confidence.
"I feel like I’m ready for the workload and things like that so I most definitely see 1,000 yards in my near future and for years to come,” said Jones.
Jones can't wait for the season to start with a chance to see his production boom under Tom Brady. Over the last couple of years, Brady has shown a propensity of feeding passes to his running backs. He completed 121 last year to the Patriots backfield. Jones’s career-high is 31.
“For me, it’s exciting because you get more touches that way,” Jones continued. "I look forward to the challenge being more of a receiver this year and getting the ball in space, too. As a running back, you can’t ask for much more, so that element, that part of it, is definitely more exciting and is something I worked on all offseason. So, I’ll be ready for that and when the time comes, hopefully, I can double that number."
Ronald Jones carries the ball during the second half of an NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Bucs on December 29, 2019. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The NFL's new face shields and masks are major adjustments Jones and his teammates are having to deal with. The initial tests aren’t receiving glowing endorsements.
“I think it will be [a problem] because most of the guys said that they couldn't really breathe if they had the visor on,” Jones said. “But they said that if you didn’t have the visor on then it wouldn’t really work so they have to find a balance I guess. But yeah, I’d obviously want it off and just go regular visor because there’s still some type of holes in there so air is getting through in and out every play, so it’ll be interesting to see.”
And so will Jones be this season.