In the week one matchup versus the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones will shoulder most of the pressure.
After an offseason filled with speculation and intrigue, Ronald Jones is still the starting running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones put together a successful camp and continues to show lead-back potential, but the pressure is on starting today.
The Bucs didn’t go out and draft a running back to replace Jones, and in fact, the one they selected is currently last on the depth chart. The main area that Tampa Bay added depth to running back was through free agency, and they added a mountain of depth.
The first significant signing that Tampa Bay brought in was LeSean McCoy. McCoy will likely shoulder third-down duties, but he has proven that he still has gas left in the tank if the Bucs needed a new lead back.
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And if LeSean McCoy was already extra, then Leonard Fournette was total overkill. The Buccaneers now have an embarrassment of riches in their backfield. Three players could earn the starting job every week, but the role is currently RoJo’s to lose.
Bringing in two established, starting-caliber running backs could have one of two impacts on Jones: 1. he uses the competition as motivation, and it pushes his production levels to new heights, or 2. he cracks under pressure and McCoy or Fournette takes over the job.
The most likely scenario here is that Jones uses this as motivation and finally emerges as the back that fans believe he can become. Jones is no stranger to competition, and he was clearly the best back on the roster last season despite any snap count stats.
Expect for RoJo to have a huge day today with the new-look Buccaneers. Yes, he may have some talented players lined up in reserve, but the Buccaneers saw moments of greatness from Jones last season, and today the improvements should continue.