7Both Ronald Jones and Vita Vea debuted against the Chicago Bears, how did they fare in their first NFL action as Buccaneers?
For the first time all season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ top two draft selections took the field.
For Vea, this would be his first snaps as a Buccaneer in general. He missed the entire preseason with the same injury.
Jones, was a healthy scratch for the first three games. He got off to a slow start in the preseason, and the coaching staff wasn’t comfortable with his pass catching. Plus, injuries at other positions made it hard to dress four running backs on gameday.
Expectations are high for both players in the long-term, but this week was merely their first taste. All the fan base wanted to see was for both of them to avoid disaster.
Vea and Jones were likely going to take a complementary role for the coming weeks. The hope was that they would provide hints at progress in limited snaps.
Unfortunately, the Bears demolished the Bucs, and neither player had a real chance to make an impact.
Vea made little noise in particular. The Bears were content to spread the field and throw the ball, making Vea an afterthought.
Most of the time, Vea will be on the field on early downs and short yardage situations, he’s never going to be a pass rusher so when opposing teams are dropping back, his value plummets.
While he didn’t register a tackle, Vea handled his matchup well on a few snaps, getting some nice push off the snap. Vea might be able to do more damage against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6.
Jones got a much longer look against Chicago. The second-round pick led the team in carries and rushing yards. He toted the ball 10 times for 29 yards.
After a solid run on his first NFL touch, Jones dropped a wide-open swing pass. He didn’t look the ball in as his struggles catching passes continued.
On the ground, Jones fought hard for his yards, but Chicago overwhelmed the Tampa Bay offensive line. Even Ali Marpet whiffed on a block that sent a Bears defensive tackle into the backfield to blow up Jones behind the line.
The blowout probably helped Jones regarding touches. With no pressure on him, head coach Dirk Koetter could see what Jones was capable of for an extended period. It may not have raised any eyebrows, but he should get another chance come Week 6.
Overall, it was a quiet day for both Buccaneers rookies. Neither of them shined, mostly because of the embarrassing loss, but they didn’t make any massive mistakes either. Jones’ didn’t cough up a fumble and Vea didn’t have any boneheaded penalties.
As the season rolls along, hopefully, the duo can make a more significant impact and live up to their Draft status.