“We Have A Lot Of Faith In Ronald”

April 9th, 2020

General manager Jason Licht was talking running backs today during his online video chat with Joe and other local media types.

Third-year running back Ronald Jones came up in the conversation, and we know how happy RoJo is.

Licht is happy, too, very happy, with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“We do think Ronald hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he can be,” Licht said. “He made a huge jump from Year 1 to Year 2. He didn’t have to do much to do that because Year 1 wasn’t very good for him. But Year 2, we felt very good about where he came and we think he still has a tremendous amount of upside.

“It doesn’t stop us from wanting to add to that [running backs] group … but we have a lot of faith in Ronald, and in fact, we have more faith in him now that we ever have. But that’s another position, as you can tell [when] you look across the league, some of the better teams they have one, two or three guys that they can rely on in different roles in their offense.”

Last offseason seemed like Operation Build RoJo’s Confidence. Everyone at One Buc Palace was pumping the guy up publicly. And then the season came and RoJo couldn’t win the bellcow job or the third-down back gig, and he had just 80 carries in the final 8 games.

(Joe’s still pissed RoJoe didn’t get the rock more when the season was out of reach. Valuable reps were lost!)

Regardless, the Bucs like what they have in RoJo, who ended the season on a high and is still just 22 years old.

It’ll be interesting to see how RoJo rises to the challenge (or doesn’t) if the Bucs draft a running back in the first two days of the draft this month. Especially considering RoJo was vocal about wanting more work.

30 Responses to ““We Have A Lot Of Faith In Ronald””

  1. ncbucsfan Says:

    Rojo put some runs on tape that very few RBs in the league can pull off so clearly the talent is there. Last year, his timing and vision improved drastically. This offseason je has to improve pass blocking and keep improving his ball skills. I’m with Licht on tbis one. The kid still has lots of upside, but we still need to prioritize the position in the draft, preferably the first 2 days of the draft. I’m a Clyde Edwards Helaire guy myself!! His vision, patience, balance, and hands are ready right now. Jury still out on his blocking ability. Didn’t Darren Sproles make the All-decade team? CEH is his player comp!

  2. Swampbuc Says:

    Rojo gained 100 yards in his last game. Not shabby. He ended on an up note, so maybe he’s better than we think.

  3. 941bucsfan Says:

    Rojo trash

  4. BucsFIRE Says:

    941bucsfan = peyton barber, lol

  5. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Less touches in the run game when the QB gives the ball away like candy, putting us in perpetual catch-up mode.

    Is there an echo in here?

    Just can’t seem to get this across some pretty dense brain matter.

  6. 541BucsFan Says:

    That was a “We’ll keep you until we can find someone better,” compliment by Licht.

    RoJo needs to be working diligently on improving his pass protection, catching the ball, and (my #1) making the first defender miss.

    It’s logical to see the Bucs getting Taylor, Akers, Edwards-Helaire, or Dobbins in R2-3. Anyone of those guys has the talent to take over as lead back.

  7. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    I have more faith in Rojo than Barber

  8. Hodad Says:

    You know what’s better then one good back? Two good backs. What’s better then two good backs? Three good backs. Rojo, with Clyde Edwards, or Akers, or whoever, and another late round back, or fullback. Can’t have enough good backs.

  9. doolnutts Says:

    He looked good both running the ball and in the screen game.. He had a several huge plays called back due to OL holding etc. I think he is a little underrated by some right now. I think we will see a huge jump from him if we get a dominant RT and sure up some other areas around the OL. Having a great RB2 is always a good move as well.

  10. Buc4evr Says:

    We still need a fullback that can make third and short yardage without much help from our O-line. No not a TE, a real short yardage power runner. Oh and the Bucs need to sign Gostkowski ASAP. He still wants to play.

  11. gotbbucs Says:

    No matter what, I dont want to see them build the offense around one running back. The days of the bell cow back are done. Smart teams have a barn full of running backs that can fill multiple holes. RoJo will have his role, Logan will have his role, whoever they draft will have a role, and whoever else they bring in will have a role.
    Build your offense as a “insert name here” system for running backs. Build it to occupy a style of running back, not a certain running back.

    ….and of course, the thing that can help the running game the most is not having a buffoon at QB.

  12. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. I think the Bucs sign a vet pass catcher (and pass protecting!) RB and/or possibly draft a RB on day 3 of the draft (or even maybe wait and sign a few undrafted ones to compete in camp?). The Bucs didn’t draft one last year when RoJo was entering year two (after a dismal rookie outing), so they have shown that they truly believe RoJo can be “the guy” they thought they were getting that early in the second round.

  13. doctor_berto Says:

    I thought Rojo looked good last season on runs but his pass catching just looks so unnatural. Also, Brady won’t be able to trust him in passing downs if he doesn’t get his blocking in order. Crazy stat of the day: Godwin had more broken tackles than Barber and Rojo combined last season.

  14. TheBradyBunch Says:

    Have you guys even watched tape of CEH? He is slow, small and his tape isn’t that impressive. If he didn’t play for LSU he wouldn’t even be considered until the 4th round or later.

  15. Buczilla Says:

    I think that Rojo’s ceiling is top 15 3rd string running back. We need two new running backs that can consistently threaten defenses, not show a flash here and there. Draft a guy for sure and maybe kick the tires on Devonta Freeman?

  16. Bobby M. Says:

    I just don’t see him being “the” guy. RB is one of the easier positions to transition into at the pro level yet he’s two years in and we still don’t know what he’s capable of. This is like listening to the Winston brigade all over again…..First it was Koetter, then he needed confidence from Arians….all the while the consistent execution has yet to show up. He’s not a weapon in the passing game….although he’s improved. He’s just another cheap body on a rookie deal that knows the coaches/system.

  17. Cobraboy Says:

    Maybe it’s true that the staff and front office has confidence in Jones. I do, not as a mega-Pro Bowl kick-asser, but as a very solid RB who is coming into his own.

    Some of the runs he made in 2019 were beautiful.

    I expect another RB to be added.

  18. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    Yeah I love the way RoJo played this season. He was a hot commodity in fantasy football for a few weeks as well. I still feel they need to draft CEH out of LSU for special teams and backup running back purposes. That’s the only position on offense that lacks depth. They need two running back out this draft and the position is taking care of. Drafting’CEH would kill two birds with one stone because he is needed for kickoff return as well. This team desperately needs to draft for Returner and 3rd down/ Red zone offense in the first four picks. They have a set team maybe draft a guard later in the draft and another CB. Sign Eric Reid sooon to avoid the pressure of drafting a high end Safety. I feel Reid back in a full-time 3-4 will blossom under Arians and Bowles. AJ Dillion sounds like a good plan for the red zone as a blocker or rusher. They need 3 offensive players and need to draft on all 3 levels of the defense as well to complete the team.

  19. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    If we can pick up AJ Dillon and Antonio Gibson in the 3rd and 4th rounds, we will half a terrifying three headed monster of a backfield.

  20. Will Says:

    The reason Rojo is taking longer than most running backs is because he comes from USC. They’re not running back U like they were YEARS ago and the coaching has been a train wreak add that to the fact that The Pac 12 is just a weak conference and you’ve got your answer as to why Rojo is taking a long time to blossom. I wasn’t sold on CEH either the guy had a dominant line but you can’t deny how he played in the Alabama game. That game had NFL talent everywhere and he BALLED.If we could get him or Akers early and end up with AJ Dillon I’d be stoked about our RB room.

  21. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I like ROJO, I’ve been hard on him but that’s just because I don’t see him being a top back like others seem to.

    I don’t think he’s going to be a “Brady Style” back. I’ll keep him as a #2 but the Bucs still have to find a new workhorse.

  22. Craig Says:

    RoJo needs someone to open a hole for him. When Cappa got up to speed it helped RoJo tremendously. That is why I think a fullback would be a good thing, also a run blocking RT.

    That would give the Bucs three run blockers, with Marpet and Cappa. A running back that can makes holes out of college is a rare thing and most of the backs out there this year will have a lot of bad runs. The NFL is not college and a dominating O-line.

    I would also like to see Adrian Killins brought in, either as a late rounder or undrafted FA. He would scare a few people and is so small he can get through the line.

  23. Bucemup Says:

    Running back is usually a smoother transition from College to pros so even though Rojo has improved, it’s still a little strange that his vision still needs to be improved, pass blocking, and pass catching. Not screen catches but actual route running ability. Draft a back with those skill sets and now you have a one two punch. Rojo can do damage in space because of his speed and home run ability. Asking him to do things he can’t do is crazy. Get him in open space as a change of pace guy. Screens and check downs. Our new back should be able to run routes and hammer the rock if we need to eat some clock.

  24. BucEmUp Says:

    He had some big gains called bacl on flags, he caught every pass thrown to him although it was few he hasnt shown that e cannot catch.I wouldnt take a back any earlier than the 4th round.Tell Leftwich to stop putting crap guys out there just to reduce a snap count.Give Rojo 20 touches and leave him on the field.its the only way he will learn

  25. Jsmalls Says:

    Pour guy had nearly 100 yard called back on two plays against Rams. I think 1 catch 1 run. Actually he had some significant plays called back. Refs don’t call those on Brady led offenses.

  26. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I would like to see ROJO with a good RT. I think the anemic running game the past few years was due to our poor run blocking, mainly on the right side. Hopefully this gets fixed this year.

  27. stpetebucsfan Says:

    “one, two or three guys that they can rely on in different roles in their offense.”

    Amen Brother Licht!!!

    We get BPA RB in the 2nd…Dobbins..Taylor..Cam or CEH and then pick up the guy who represents something totally different in Dillon.

    6′ 250 lbs with soft hands and very decent 4.5 speed. He’s a beast who is hard to bring down and while I’ve seen video of his pass catching skills I have not seen him as a blocker…perhaps I haven’t looked closely enough.

    But that is generally area where rookie RB’s struggle Pass Pro. The “star” we take in the second will probably not be a great blocker…especially if it’s another little guy like CEH.

    At least Dillon is a beast at 250 and edge rushers won’t push him around.

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    Ronnie finished the year strong last year and he should be the lead back, there is no reason watching him that anyone should think he isn’t a lead back. The Bucs need to compliment him with a 3rd down receiving back – and no, that CFL talent (at best) Dare isn’t the answer.

    Post draft you’d expect some more cuts to take place, plus with the veterans on the market you should be able to get someone at a vet minimum.

    Other names…

    Devonta Freeman. Not sure what is up with him, if he’s more injured than I think, but he seems like someone that should still be a starter in the league, plus can catch the ball. He’d be a no brainer if healthy and cheap.

    Lamar Miller. Most boring RB in the NFL, completely average, but as a backup would be a good option, plus he can catch. Not sure if he’s healthy or not, that’s the only question.

    Theo Riddick. Another guy where I wonder about injuries, but he is a fantastic pass catching back. If healthy he’d be an awesome fit.

    Bilal Powell. He’s 31 already, had no idea. But again, if healthy, he can catch the ball, would be a great fit.

    Isaiah Crowell. Not a pass catcher, but a solid RB. Would be a good veteran backup.

    Ty Montgomery. Another pass catcher. Nothing exciting, but would be a solid 3rd down vet I think.

    Chris Thompson. The guy is always injured, but again, a 3rd down specialist. Would be an excellent fit.

    Wow, go look up the list of FA RBs – it goes on and on, there are a ton of them out there.

    Meanwhile Robbie Andersen is getting $12m/year from Carolina and Sanu got the Falcons a 2nd round pick.

    This all shows why you don’t waste another high pick on a RB, they’re a dime a dozen.

  29. Isaac haggins Says:

    Ya, it’s a shame ole RoJo doesn’t possess natural hands !! Watching him catch is kinda like take a deep breath time !!

  30. TOM Says:

    I bet loser Licht would say the same about lazy ass D. Smith. He has to save face. Liar liar pants on fire.