Too Early To Panic?

August 19th, 2018

Here is a stat that you don’t need the PFF tribe to dig up, but it may be equally alarming.

Running back and second-round pick Ronald Jones has a grand total of 11 yards on 12 carries in two preseason games.

Somewhere in northern California, Muscle Hamster Doug Martin is snickering.

Now Joe is not going to bury a guy who is a rookie after only August games. But dang, this is not a good sign. And it is not as if Jones is lighting up the Bucs defense in practices either. Sure, he flashes once in a while, but not that much. And to be blunt, his practices haven’t been that much better than what he’s doing this preseason.

“It’s not for a lack of effort,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said of Jones’ slow start after last night’s game.

It really got Joe’s antennae up when Bucs TV color analyst Ronde Barber suggested Jones is an open field runner and that is where he can show off his talents and not a power runner. Too often, Jones appears to be fighting through gang tacklers to try to get an opening.

Welcome to the NFL!

And oddly enough, just after Barber mentioned Jones might be a better slot receiver, guess who lined up at slot? Yup. That would be Ronald Jones. And this is a guy who isn’t exactly Fred Biletnikoff catching the ball.

Joe isn’t ready to hit the panic button yet, but let’s just say Jones’ struggles in preseason running the ball have Joe’s attention.

51 Responses to “Too Early To Panic?”

  1. Evo2706 Says:

    Dont panick yet. I dont think they are using him in the run game like they will during the season. He seems to like those 1 cut type of runs. He hasn’t had a chance at those yet. I think hes working on seeing the hole and getting used to the speed of the game. Hes not hitting the hole like he did in college. Once he does…you’ll see that rocket our GM spoke of.

  2. AlteredEgo Says:

    If Jones ever hits a hole like Barber did early in the game running right…it would have been a TD…that said he has not looked good running into the back of his OL pushed back on there heels…absolutely need to focus on running the ball game 3…I’d only give Barber 4 runs and a pass then sit him down…simply can’t take a chance of injury with him…I may not even treat game 3 as it has been traditionally treated “dress rehearsal”

  3. Durango 95 Says:

    I agree it’s a bit worrisome. Keeping fingers crossed he can work throughit.

  4. Buc believer Says:

    Looks like it could be another Jason Licht bust. Time will tell.

  5. Dooshlarue Says:

    Try pitching it out a few times and see what happens.
    He’s small and fast.
    Let Barber work the middle.

  6. tnew Says:

    For all that has been written about this staff’s inability to develop a CB, I contend they are way worse in developing an RB. Koetter requires them to do so many things, the young RB forgets they are there to run the ball. Ronde sees how to use RoJo. Why can’t this staff?

    And no, its not too early to panic. He looks like a confused runner to me. Lets just hope Barber will produce and that it doesn’t take three years to develop Jones.

    Don’t look now but McNichols is looking like he’s going to make the team for San Francisco. Thats a stacked RB room. He flashed way more in camp and preseason than Jones has this year by my recollection.

  7. SteveK Says:

    Too early to close the book on the kid, but definitely a need for concern. I hope the game will continue to slow down for him and he can relax and be patient. He’s obviously talented, just needs to have the speed of the game come to him.

    With max effort and additional practice I think he will be fine. I think his recieving skills are far from refined once he stops thinking so much out there I think he will do better.

  8. ShutTheBucUp Says:

    I’ll tell you what it’s not too early to panic about….. the DEFENSE. The tackling was atrocious. Kwon looked mediocre at best and that’s putting out mildly.

  9. tnew Says:

    BTW, Ronald Jones is a classic one-cut runner. He needs to work between the tackles. He’s a slasher.

  10. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I agree with Joe – he seems like an open field runner, not an in-between type of running back. Too bad his hands suck. Maybe we can trade him for McNichols.

  11. johnnybuc Says:

    kerryon johnson should’ve been the pick, him and barber reunited again . would be a good 1 , 2 punch

  12. AlteredEgo Says:

    “Maybe we can trade him for McNichols.”…Muscle Hamster and McNiclos got ZERO carries yesterday

  13. Godeep66 Says:

    Jones looked timid and slow. I also noticed that he looked to run the ball towrds the sidelines way too much. He needs to out his head down and fight for the extra yard. Barber looked like he picked up a step.

  14. Realbucfan941 Says:

    I liked Johnson also. It’s def too early to tell. Chubb looked terrible game 1 too. Slightly better game 2. Barkley had 1 nice run then nothing. Give it time.

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Somewhere in northern California, Muscle Hamster Doug Martin is snickering.”

    Why so. It wasn’t Jones who replaced him. It was Barber.

    And I would love to see a RB who can’t get yards when he gets in the ‘open field’.

  16. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    licht has zero clue he passed on 8 rbs last year & missed on guice & freeman this year, 5-11 gm picks 5-11 players

  17. Dooshlarue Says:


    McNichols has 10 carries for 28 yards.

  18. D-Rome Says:

    This team needs Ronald Jones to be the next Alvin Kamara or Kareem Hunt. RBs picked in the 2nd round are supposed to be dependable starters. You can’t miss on 2nd round players.

  19. Bucsfaninchina Says:

    Don’t ever think to blame the world beating o line

  20. Wausa Says:

    Rojo has not showed much at this point, but Jason Licht has got to be extremely pleased how well so many of his other draft picks are playing(Stewart, Whitehead, Davis and Watson have all looked really good so far).

  21. Buc believer Says:

    @Drome, I agree you are not supposed to miss on second round players but Licht has a way of doing that.

  22. Gobucs Says:

    This o line is pathetic at run blocking.

  23. Pryda... sec147 Says:

    He’ll figure it out not worried plus Barber looks good enough

  24. Ed Kerber Says:

    I expect they will reveal he has an ”injury” and put him on IR to save roster spot. Severe Fumblitus is official diagnosis.

  25. stpetebucsfan Says:


    That’s a point I was going to make. Don’t know if the OL sucks but they played poorly in the run game last night.

    OK guys let’s pick our biggest reason to panic. Both QB’s played as we expected.
    Defense had some moments and some bad run defense at times.

    But overall it was a preseason game and so that means we give guys a little more leeway….but if you want to panic……PENALTIES!!!!

    Again allowing for preseason…but not THAT much.

    So the coaches wear tshirts all week at camp saying “Discipline Driven”. Can our guys even read or is it just impossible for our OL to stop killing us.

    Take ROJO…people keep kvetching and I understand that but he had a nice run of 8 yards wiped out because of….wait for it…ANOTHER PENALTY!

    Given this team’s horrid history with penalties last night was just Deja Vu.

    Can anybody here talk me down from the ledge. Do we believe the Bucs will EVER stop with all the penalties in time for the season?

  26. Destinjohnny Says:

    Man did I take heat on this site for saying we should have taken other backs

  27. TOM Says:

    Bad OL doesn’t help. No depth.

  28. Guzzie Says:

    It’s week freaking 2 in preseason, 1 big run and all will be forgiven/forgotten

  29. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    You all remember how many games it took Martin before he blew up in his rookie season? It wasn’t until the Vikings game when the pro game slowed down for him and then he blew up. I would say have patience but know even if he becomes great many will turn their backs on him even if he has one down year such are Buc fans.

  30. Cobraboy Says:

    Jones strength is not between the tackles. He did have a nifty run where he made the corner but the play got called back.

    It’s interesting that folks thought RB was deep going into training camp, and now that position looks thin. Imagine what the running game would look like of Barber goes down.

  31. Sumo Says:

    Ronald Jones is what he is. He is a very quick and fast small running back which is just koetter’s type of runner. He needs a crease to get going because he is too small to break tackles in the NFL. They knew who he was when they drafted him. Now it is a coaching job to get him that open space he needs to be good.

  32. Bucsfanman Says:

    It was mentioned in the broadcast and deserves mention here. The Bucs passed the ball an awful lot last night. TOO MUCH SO!
    Anyone here who believes that we can win week in and week out without a sound rushing attack hasn’t been watching Buc football lately. Not enough attention or effort has been placed on establishing the run so far this pre-season outside of Barber’s brief outings. This is what should concern Buc fans.
    We NEED Jones to be that guy. We need the explosive plays. The fact that he has looked less than pedestrian against future UPS drivers should concern ALL Buc fans.
    I’m not panicking, it is pre-season! BUT, if what we are seeing is a preview of play-calling in the regular season, predominantly passing, this will not end well IMO. We absolutely HAVE to have balance.

  33. Destinjohnny Says:

    We need a right tackle and guard
    Also Donovan is pedestrian
    It blows my mind how Jason doesn’t see these things

  34. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I think we would have been better off with more of a power type running back, with our O Line. So far, Jones has looked like a complete and total bust, our worst running back, by far.

  35. Tony LA Says:

    No smart football analyst / scout had Jones ranked as high as the Bucs picked him / passing on several Guys who were ranked higher.

    We all knew this.
    Not ideal in size.
    Suspect hands.
    What could go wrong?

  36. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Not a good sign when an undrafted RB is far superior to a guy they spent an early 2nd round pick on. Jones definitely has the look of what may eventually be a complete bust. If he hadn’t been taken in the 2nd round I would assume he was simply camp meat. He should count his lucky starts that he was taken in the 2nd because if not, he probably wouldn’t make it to opening day.

  37. martinii Says:

    Unless a rookie RB comes running out of the tunnel after two pre-season games with his helmet on backwards, no shoulder pads and wearing only one shoe I don’t think you can call him a bust, I agree with the assertion that the transition from college, the speed of the game, pro style defenses and the incredible complex play book he has to deal with can take more than one offseason to digest. Way to many fans are ready to give up on rookie players after just a few plays.

  38. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I find our front office’s ability to evaluate talent to be more “alarming”. This involves more than just draft prospects but also seeing if veterans should stay with the team. How many chances did Doug Martin get to prove that he was a #1 back? Let’s give the kid more time (he was a 2nd rounder; what choice do we have?!).

  39. Chris in WA Says:

    I wonder how high Jones was on the draft board and if Licht would have rather had Rashaad Penny, Sony Michele, or Nick Chubb but they all went higher than expected.

    I will give Jones until game 8 to prove his worth before I hit the panic button. All he has to show is that he can get better. Start catching a couple more balls here and there, show that you can actually be coached and improve. At the end of the day he is still a rookie.

  40. T REX Says:

    The issue is high RBs are supposed to be plug and play not developed. Developed? Dumbest thing I have ever heard for a top ranked RB.

  41. Bucamania Says:

    Other than the two TD runs last week, the run blocking has been horrid. I am starting to get concerned about Rojo though. He looks very tentative. Shaun Wilson had a couple nice, shifty runs. Better keep him over Sims.

  42. Trench War Says:

    Ok that’s it, RoJo should be hanged, drawn and quartered.

  43. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Trench all you have to do is watch him on the field. He is small and seems to get zero push. It is way too early to know for sure but he just doesn’t seem to be the guy that will cure our running woes.

  44. Kobe Faker Says:

    “The problem is our 199lber is a confused bipolar runningback”

    He is a straightup 1 cut between the tackles runner without NFL size and strength to break initial arm tackles

    With his size/physicality limitations, He should swing/break outside but he doesnt possess the shiftiness, elusiveness and change of speed acceleration to break to daylight

    “RoJo is the Sheldon Cooper of the NFL”

    Kobe Faker

  45. Season Is Over Says:

    Licht needs to bring in an actual NFL RB. I have been saying this for a while. Jones is going to hurt the offense until he is ready. This season is too important to screw up. The window is closing. Peterson is out there now. No-brainer!

  46. firethecannons Says:

    wish we could get a big back like d. Henry or Fournette a back that could bust tackles and wear out the opposing team

  47. Tnew Says:

    T Rex… when the most important thing to the head coach is blocking and blitz pick up they HAVE to be developed. If they are allowed to just go play and run instinctive then ok. Jones is being asked to do things he’s never really had to do. This takes time.

  48. ArmyBucsFan Says:

    Why not sign Adrian Peterson to a one year prove it deal. He and Barber would be the compliment we need to keep defenses honest. The one thing I noticed in these last pre season games was the LACK of running yardage. Becoming a one dimensional team is extremely dangerous especially with the difficulty of our schedule this year. I’m not saying Peterson is a long term answer but he would give our offense the boost we desperately need. WHAT DO YOU THINK JOE?!?!

  49. Owlykat Says:

    The Bucs need to make sure they keep Ogunbowale who can break tackles and has the speed to backup Barber if he gets injured. Jones first needs to get into the weight room and build up his arm and leg muscles. As far as building up the OL and stopping the rediculous penalties the Bucs need to get a real OL Coach as good as Buckner is on defense. As to the poor tackling Koetter doesn’t allow any tackling in practice, what do you expect? The Preseason should help them get back up to speed on tackling.

  50. Dapostman Says:

    Call the Bills. You have a relationship with them via the Allen trade. Trade for Shady McCoy. The Bills will be rebuilding with Peterson, McCarren or Allen at QB. McCoy should be cheap since he has 1 or 2 good years left in the tank. Want to see this offense take off? Get Shady!

    #Get After It!

  51. FairMinded Says:

    Was so excited for RoJo but huge letdown so far. Huge. At least by now we would have seen SOME flash