Walking The Tightrope

September 3rd, 2020

Yesterday, foot-rubbing Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski did a photo opp walking a tightrope with the daredevil Nik Wallenda in Sarasota.

This morning, Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians was walking a tightrope of his own doing.

Arians began his post-practice presser (via Zoom) with a cat-ate-the-canary smirk on his face. Bucs fans can relate, given how the Bucs landed stud every-down back Leonard Fournette last night.

But about midway through the presser, Arians did a balancing act without a net. For months, Arians has been talking up Ronald Jones as the go-to guy in the Bucs backfield, the team’s No. 1 running back.

Joe gets it; a lot of what Arians said was to boost RoJo’s confidence. Joe fully understands the reasoning behind Arians’ lofty words for a third-year back that hasn’t really demonstrated much in the NFL (yet) outside of a sporadic good play.

Arians was asked today, in so many words, how he can walk back his previous comments lauding RoJo and then luring Fournette to Tampa Bay with a bagful of Team Glazer loot less than two weeks before the first game of the season. Arians was also asked if RoJo is still the Bucs’ “workhorse?”

Arians said RoJo is still the go-to guy in the backfield.

“It’s his job,” Arians said. “It’s his job. Nothing has changed for him. We just added a heck of a piece for insurance and see what kind of role he can cut out.

“RoJo, it is his job. If he wins it or loses it — he’s already got it so he would have to screw it up. So, I don’t see that happening.”

Oh, it is going to happen. The Bucs didn’t just sign a healthy, 25-year-old running back at $3.5 million for this season — who averages 101 yards a game from scrimmage — just to ride the pine and daydream of the day the Bucs had cheerleaders on the sidelines.

Now RoJo may “lose” (ahem) the job but it is Fournette’s job, once he learns the playbook, to lose.

Does Joe think RoJo will get his share of touches? Sure. But the only way he supplants Fournette as the team’s No. 1 back is if Fournette gets hurt or RoJo plays so well the Bucs can’t pull him off the field.

And if that is the case, then Joe suspects the Bucs are leading the NFC South race. So that’s a win-win. A win for RoJo and a win for the Bucs.

As for Arians, it was a nice job of tap dancing. Joe highly, strongly doubts RoJo is the go-to guy in the backfield when October rolls around. But if he is, the Bucs should be clobbering people.

26 Responses to “Walking The Tightrope”

  1. SB Says:

    Only one week before Toe touches Leather!!!!!!

    Here is the link for the JoeBucsFan.com Pickem league for those that aren’t already in.


    Joe……….are you in yet?

  2. Joeypoppems Says:

    This is an incredibly confusing situation now lol. At least he is staying consistant with coach speak… i guess?

    To be fair, Arians said this about Rojo last season and then benched him for missing a block lol.

    Im still of the mindset that Ronald Jones could just be better than Fournette. I do agree that now that Fournette is actually here, the leash for Rojo is probably real short.

  3. bojim Says:

    Run RoJo run. Fournette’s right behind you. Hell he’s already sitting on your shoulders. Still hope RoJo does well.

  4. chris L Says:

    i dont care who the guy is as long as we win. we should utilize them all. fournette will be great in the fourth quarter when we need to pound teams into submission. the guy has a lot of tread on his tires, let’s not wear him out by giving him all the touches. spread it out like new england does. keeps opponents off balance too. similar with what the eagles did in 2017 with their plethora of runners.

  5. Casual Observer Says:

    Running back depth – for sure. Nice problems.

  6. Youngbucs Says:

    Good problems to have

  7. Jay Adams Says:

    Best analysis I have seen on this site in a long time. Arians had no choice but to do a tightrope walk on this new Mega signing.

  8. Ron says Says:

    Everybody competes for a job and to maintain a job if someone does it better than it goes to him. Rojo has a advantage as being the one who has been in the system longest but as Arians said with Shady he will find his niche, his niche could have been lead back now Fournette, Rojo, shady and Vaughn will determine their fate by the way they play, which for the team should set a much higher standard for that position. The player who can relax at that standard is the one who will possess it and the rest will complement with their skill set.

  9. ocala Says:

    I agree Joe, but I think Rojo will start at least the first two games.

    My guess for the breakdown of running the ball for the whole regular season:

    Fournette 55%
    Jones 35%
    McCoy 7%
    Vaughn 3%
    Dare: 0%

  10. Hodad Says:

    Why does signing Fournette make Rojo expendable? Fournette has had his own ups, and downs during his short career. Injured, suspended, ya’ll act like we just signed Walter Payton. He was a nice piece to add, but he isn’t even in camp yet, and sure doesn’t have the play book down. Training camp, and competing is over. They have no choice but to roll with Rojo for now, and as Arains said find out where Fournette fits as the season goes along. One thing for sure, can’t have to many good healthy RB’s.

  11. Stanglassman Says:

    This can’t be cause I read right here on JBF commit section how Fornette was obviously coming in here to be the lead back. I guess we don’t have to try and stash rojo on the practice squad. Next you’ll tell me Dare will still be on the team opening day. *This is sarcasm

  12. BucBrady Says:

    I’m a little confused by people’s need to make this a binary choice. It’s not either Fournette or RoJo. It’s going to be both. They’re both going to get carries. RoJo is going to start to begin the season and Fournette will be the complementary back, and then I fully expect them to switch roles a few games in.

    I think RoJo could turn out to be a really nice complementary back.

  13. Cannon Says:

    My take is that Rojo is the Week 1 starter simply because Fournette doesn’t know our system yet.

    This gives Rojo the chance to provide himself in Week 1. If Rojo has a stellar game, then he get’s the nod in Week 2. If he continues to be all pro, then we will have a grumpy Fournette… but honestly, who cares if we are winning games? Its not like we invested much in Fournette.

    Like another poster said… this is a good problem to have.

  14. Cannon Says:

    provide = prove*

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    Unless, of course, Jones breaks out early on.

  16. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Gronk on a a tight rope – and I’m the first to comment?! That is one massive dude showing great balance! Stud!

  17. diggler Says:

    If my coach said this about me I’d say he was full of bananas. Seems one buc is still a mess. Give TB time to clear out the swamp.

  18. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Nothing could better motivate RoJo…

    You got guys like Joe Mixon, Kamara, Bell All Making or wanting to make $13-15 Mil. Per year. Fournette for 3.5 and no long term commitment? No Brainer.

    This years altered practice squad should make some difference as well. The only person who should be upset, is upset. Ndog is beside himself with grief over how his lover has been scorned.

  19. jimm Says:

    gronk on a tightrope; kicker (conner arth?) @ basketball game, jameis with a golf tee and i’m sure there are more those are just off top of head

    don’t these guys have clauses in their contracts to prevent them from injury-prone behaviors ?

  20. mark2001 Says:

    One thing many of you seem to be overlooking… the Fournette deal is a one year deal. If Rojo does well great. And we get a fine compensatory pick for Fournette. And if Rojo doesn’t prove out…we might be able to sign Fournette for a long term deal next year.

  21. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Exactly… like I said, no commitment (unless you want to attempt one next year).

  22. Buczilla Says:

    We have two good pass rushers and now two good running backs (Leonard and McCoy). Half of the world is also going batsh!t crazy. If someone told me these things would come to pass a year ago, I’d have thought that I was dreaming or in an alternate reality.

  23. Darin Says:

    We’ll see the opinion flip after RoJo busts up the saints for over 100 in the first half. This aint Winston’s land anymore. They wana sit back Brady will hand it off all day

  24. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Watching the two guys run last year, I liked Jones a little better, which is surprising, because I wasn’t really a Jones fan coming out of Southern Cal. Thing is, hearing all the Fournette hype at LSU, I wasn’t that big of a fan of his either when I saw him run.

    Fournette is gonna be massively motivated this year, but also, do we really want to pay him a massive contract next year? Let’s say we hand the job to him, he does ok, we let him go, and now we have a disgruntled Jones on our hands? That was my first thought hearing this news, how sensitive RoJo is, and how he may crumble again. If that’s the case, fine, I’ll take the angry high-first round pick over the sad high-second rounder.

    Thing is, Fournette also catches and blocks better than RoJo. This is all a good problem to have.

  25. Jason Says:

    Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t get any wierder, our Bucs now have too many running backs.

  26. August 1976 Buc Says:

    This offense is going to be a runnaway freight train. “The Brady Bunch” just took it up another notch with this addition to the stable of backs. It will work itself out whoever becomes the lead dog in the RB room. But lol, what do defensive cordinators focus on with offense and try and stop? And now running the ball inside the 10, and 3rd and 1’s just became a whole lot easier, let alone when Fournette breaks one. ROJO had some success last year, definately was far better than the bust that he was looking like. But he is still an unknown quantity with potential. Now they bring Fournette, who was productive for the Jags even though he was the focus of every defense that he played against. That is proof positive this guy is a stud. Did anyone hear the Devin White press conference? That is exactly what White said. White said “If we stop him we win.” The Bucs Redzone success was already going to be a pick your poisin for a defensive cordinator, but now they get a slegde hammer that will get those tough yards inside the 5. Lol Saints DC Dennis Allen was already not able to sleep, and burning the midnight oil hoping while he is pacing back and forth, looking for a way that he can pull a rabbit out of the hat against this offense, and that is just to slow them down. Dennis it aint going to happen. And It is the same for every other team they play. Now if the D can just has to keep up their end of the bargain. Good times in the burgh by the bay. OMG what kind of game is it going to be when the “Ma home boy Express” rolls into town Nov 29th at 4:25 pm against the Chiefs. Oh yeah baby, bring it on, fire them cannons and the start of the season. GO BUCS!!!!!