Arians: RoJo Is The Man

August 5th, 2020

Strong support.

Since entering the league two years ago, Bucs running back Ronald Jones has barely made a blip on the NFL radar screen.

In fact, RoJo was downright invisible his rookie year (often a death knell for running backs) and was very pedestrian last season.

RoJo did just enough to be rated anywhere from No. 32 among running backs by a former Pro Bowler to not even in the top-40 by a fantasy football guy.

Only recently have people started to take the Bucs’ seriously as Super Bowl contenders, not so much because of RoJo but for adding recent signing of future Hall of Fame running back Shady McCoy.

Doing research this summer, Joe started to have an epiphany about RoJo, seeing his YAC was nearly 10 yards a catch. That’s pretty good.

Today in a Zoom conference call, Arians threw cold water on any hype about Shady being the Bucs’ top back. Arians made it clear RoJo is his No. 1. Why? Because, Arians said, RoJo has earned it.

“He improved dramatically from last April to December,” Arians said of RoJo. “He has shown that he is the guy. He has shown that he is a guy with talent. He is excellent in the screen game. His run-after-the-catch is good.

So, for him, it is how much can he expand it? I have all the confidence in the world.”

So how did RoJo go from a guy who was fighting for his career and scoffed at by his coach as not being a third-down back, to his coach raving about him so quickly?

Well, part of it has been offseason work. We all know RoJo was spotted often at the Tom Brady-led practices at Berkeley Prep. Per Arians, that has paid off handsomely for RoJo.

“He put a lot of time in working out and catching balls to improve his hands in the offseason,” Arians said. “It is showing up already.”

If RoJo can actually produce the way the Bucs hoped when he was chosen in the second round of the 2018 draft, it will give the Bucs a dimension to the offense that has been lacking for years.

37 Responses to “Arians: RoJo Is The Man”

  1. JimmyJack Says:

    Romo is the man and should be. But there’s no guarantee that lasts more then a short while. He has to back it up with production. If he cant this guy Vaughn will get his chance and might just take RoJos “the man” status. Looking forward to the battle.

  2. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Awesome to hear Rojo is showing up with good hands. I watched a couple of videos of him catching the ball from Brady. I was impressed. Hopefully he develops into a complete back.

  3. Buczilla Says:

    I really want this guy to succeed and he looked amazing in college. Nothing that I have seen of him in the NFL has impressed me outside of a few damn good plays. I will happily sing his praises, but he has got to produce first.

  4. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    Joe says, ” very pedestrian last season “. Gotta disagree sir – look at the leap he made from year one to year two. If he does that again he’s easily a 1000+ yards guy. I read on a different site he has been focusing on lower body strength.

  5. james west Says:

    this coming from coach who swore they were set at running back about a week before they signed shady, and drafted vaughn and calais, coach going to try and stoke rojo’s ego to get what he can out of him, i expect keshawn vaughn, to end up as the man before it’s over with a healthy helping of the shady one, followed by rojo and ray calais

  6. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    I’m as big a Ronald Jones fan as any, but if it’s so clear cut that RoJo was “the guy” based off his improvement from April-December, why was soon-to-be-FA Peyton Barber still getting meaningful carries in the waning weeks of the season while we were already eliminated. That, ladies and gentlemen, makes absolutely no sense, and is one of my only gripes from Arians’ coaching last year.

  7. AtlBuc Says:

    BRUH!!!! Look a RoJo’s film from last year. That dude’s got some wiggle. His shake and bake, in traffic, is amazing and, after a move, he hits hyperspace immediately. Too many of his long runs got called back for holding. 1200 rushing and 800 receiving.

  8. Sarasota Garey Says:

    Rojo has all of the natural gifts, has it all been between the ears thus far?

  9. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    james west Says: “this coming from coach who swore they were set at running back about a week before they signed shady, and drafted vaughn and calais”

    Coaches are always looking for improvement. Shady McCoy was signed for a league minimum and only counted $750,000 towards the salary cap. He was signed as a backup and possibly for 3rd down duties.

    With the Covid-19, every teams wants insurance if the starters go on covid\injury reserve list. McCoy was the best pass catching RB out there for the deep discount bargain prices.

  10. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    It took Derrick Henry awhile to put it all together too (after he became “the guy” and no longer was a change of pace guy to Murray in Tennessee). Once everything clicked for him he became a premier RB. I just get that vibe from RoJo too, it is starting to click for him. Optimism? Homerism? Perhaps? Hopefully there’s a season and we get to see.

  11. JimmyJack Says:

    Jaymiss…..I hate to rain on your parade but a thousand yards arent really much of a big deal. You could argue its pedestrian……Now to your point that if he can make another big leap like he did in year 2 then now your talkin…..on that I agree.

  12. PSL Bob Says:

    Arians always talks up players in preseason – probably to give them confidence. So, I don’t put much stock in what the coach says this time of year. But, I do agree with others about Rojo’s potential and his demonstrated improvement last year as the season wore on. The third ingredient of an-every-down back is blocking. Arians placed a lot of emphasis on that and Barber was an excellent blocker. That’s probably why he got the snaps he did toward the end of the year. If Rojo can master that, he’ll be good to go!

  13. Al da pewter King Says:

    It’s all about complete body of work. It is a fact that it takes some me running backs and receivers a while to hit there stride. Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram are two of several examples where it took between 3 to 5 years before they became more featured backs. Play calling, blocking, and quarterback play all play important roles in a running backs success. Can’t just have a short sighted view of every running back.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    First Down Tampa Bay……I heard that a lot and I wonder if it was ever asked of Bruce(it should have been). My opinion on it is that it came down to blitz pickup. I seem to recall RoJo missing a early block in a game and never getting back in.

    Say what you will about the QB position but there’s a good chance they were still evaluating. Which means you dont wanna get you QB hurt. Even if they were done evaluating and pretty much gave up on Winston I still dont think you put in a RB who you dont trust to do the job.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    Dude is a 2nd round bust. Second rounders are expected to produce at a high level immediately (much like LeSean McCoy did as a 2nd rounder). He doesn’t need more time. What we have seen is who he is.

  16. BucEmUp Says:

    I think his biggest downside would be his pass blocking. I never doubted his hands for a second. Hopefully he is given every opportunity because he didn’t get enough of them let season.

  17. Eric Says:

    How about will they give the chance to produce!

  18. First Down Tampa Bay Says:


    Yeah that’s a fair reason to assume. And while it makes sense with what you said, wouldn’t it have helped Jameis to have the superior RB on the field carrying the ball? I dont think it’s disputable that Ronald Jones was better than Peyton Barber rushing last year. And another thing, while I totally get a little results-consequences with RoJo’s pass blocking and then playing time, he needed game experience with pass blocking to improve it.

    If we were in the thick of the playoff hunt, I totally get putting Barber in to pass block, but we had been eliminated for quite some time so it’s just puzzling to me why Ronald wasn’t getting the bulk of the snaps for development if nothing else.

  19. BucEmUp Says:

    First Down Tampa Bay Says:
    August 5th, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    another thing, while I totally get a little results-consequences with RoJo’s pass blocking and then playing time, he needed game experience with pass blocking to improve it.

    If we were in the thick of the playoff hunt, I totally get putting Barber in to pass block, but we had been eliminated for quite some time so it’s just puzzling to me why Ronald wasn’t getting the bulk of the snaps for development if nothing else.

    EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!! I thought mindlesss mistakes like this would be a thing of the past when Arians was hired. I guess it’s just a Tampa Bay Buccaneer thing. Makes me that much more certain that we will hire Aaron Rodgers in 2022 because coaches come here and choke….or mail it in one or the other. I love the Bruce Arians of old back in the day for Pitt, Indy, Arizona but he is a delegator. He is due credit though for certain players coming to town. I don’t see ANY of these big name free agents ( Tom Brady, LeSean McCoy, Gronk, JPP coming here for Schiano, Lovie or Dirk, Despite Bruce taking a semi retired approach this go around I still have to tip my hat for the way this team looks heading into his second year.

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Pedestrian? I guess so but with only 15 carries per game Rojo could have had 1008 yards…..not pedestrian at all

  21. First Down Tampa Bay Says:


    Is Arians a perfect coach?
    Is Arians one of the best coaches and offensive minds in the NFL? Arguably.
    Is Arians better than any coach we’ve had since Gruden?

  22. JimmyJack Says:

    First Down Tampa Bay……Yeah I think that’s a personal choice thing. I’m sure some coaches favor blocking more then others. I might change my mind if RoJo was truely special running the ball but I like a guy who can block…….But I can see it both ways.

    If I had to argue why I want a back who can block I would defer to the play where Scotty Miller got his first(I believe only) TD in the NFL. Barber made a great chip on that play. If RoJo is in my guess is it ends in a sack or maybe throwaway……….Taking a play from potential sack to TD is a big difference IMO……..I think blocking is very undervalued by many fans.

  23. JimmyJack Says:

    But again I can see it both ways.

  24. JimmyJack Says:

    And I can totally get the development question. I guess you could make a case that Arians was using playing time as motivation. Either learn to block or you lose snaps. Of course I have no idea what the true reasoning was.

    I do understand the need of snaps for development but if that development comes at the cost of risking an injury I really cant fault the Coach for making that decision.

    Ideally if RoJo wasnt used to motivate him to block better then he has placed more emphasis on that area of his game this offseason. If it pays off he will be a much more complete player in 2021………Now could you get the same results letting him figure it out on the fly last year? Fair wuestion.

  25. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    AtlBuc is spot on.

    Rojo’s film from last year shows Elite-level elusiveness, vision, speed, heart and yes even elite-level power at the point of attack.

    This dude is a Top-5 RB in the NFL every season for the rest of his career from this point on… Watch.

  26. Jason Says:

    We usually don’t have the patience for it, but there are still “late bloomers” in the game. I think it just took a little longer for ROJO to mature both mentally and physically. Now that he has his grown-man body and the right work ethic and attitude, he is my pick for Break Out Player of the Year.

  27. TheBradyBunch Says:

    BucEmUp – JPP was brought to Tampa via trade.

  28. Stonedbuc Says:

    Rojo is a less developed dalvin cook. This year he turns it on.

  29. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    Jason is exactly right. Rojo is a late-bloomer. He’s a true Thoroughbred at this point. He will Explode this year, trust that.

  30. adam from new york Says:

    arians had to say this after signing shady…

    rojo’s sweating bullets…

    this is rojo’s “show out” year…

    but arians is being cool about rojo…

    for now

  31. adam from new york Says:

    it very well could become:

    “the brady and shady show”

  32. OneBuc55 Says:

    I honestly thought Rojo could have went off last year if Arians & Co. had given him enough touches…The game against the Rams proved it for me…we finally gave him the ball consistently
    in a game and he went off… Even with the Shady signing I think the sky is the limit for RoJo and this offense…

    I’m just praying to the football God’s that we #1 actually have a seasoncan avoid significant injuries this year…If so, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a Superbowl caliber team…

  33. Clean House Says:

    Joe ter is a rookie RB destroyer- he’s got a weird power trip going

  34. Clean House Says:


  35. Buc50 Says:

    He needed more touches last year but it’s pretty hard when you are playing from behind.

  36. Cobraboy Says:

    I suspect edible crow will be in high demand by many this season when Jones explodes…

  37. m0j0 Says:

    It’s great that he’s showing up ready and working hard in the offseason to develop further! That’s what we want! However, with both Vaugh and Shady on the roster, he’s going to have to really produce if he doesn’t want to be taken off the field.