MJD: Ronald Jones Is Scary

October 22nd, 2020

Won over.

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles isn’t the only guy that has performed a makeover for the ages.

As we know, Bowles took a defense that was one of the worst in the 100-years of the NFL, and in less than two seasons (22 games to be exact) turned that outfit into the best in the NFL.


And so is the caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation of Bucs running back Ronald Jones.

Jones, for two years, was truly awful. He was invisible as a rookie both in practice and games and not much better his second year. Then in his fourth game of his third season — poof! — Jones becomes a stud. Good for RoJo!

(Joe gets a kick out of readers who just knew RoJo was going to be a damn good running back. Absolutely knew it based on … well, not a damn thing outside of hope. Not even the Bucs saw this coming. Know how Joe knows that? The Bucs signed two free-agent running backs and drafted another.)

RoJo became only the fourth Bucs running back to run for 100 yards in three straight games this past Sunday. RoJo is a big reason why the Bucs are 4-2 and Joe is happy for the guy. He clearly didn’t give up, took to coaching and busted his tail.

RoJo has even impressed former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The UCLA grad had RoJo as his No. 32 top-running back in the NFL before the season. Now? MJD is giving his bitter college rival credit for turning around his career.

MJD now has RoJo listed as the No. 4 “scary” running back in the NFL.

Man, I’ve been sleeping on Jones — must be my UCLA bias. Sorry, dude. The third-year back has been ballin’ ever since the Buccaneers signed Leonard Fournette. Whether it’s the threat of another RB taking his job or Tom Brady lighting a fire under him, Jones is finally performing like everyone thought he would coming out of USC. The 5-11, 208-pounder is tough to tackle because he runs over, through and right by defenders, and that spin move in traffic is a nice little cherry on top of his game. Jones is on pace for season highs across the board and sits third in rush yards after contact (340) through Week 6.

A couple of weeks ago Joe remarked he’s so impressed by RoJo’s running in traffic that maybe he’s the new Mike Alstott, a fullback. Joe was trashed by some Bucs fans (not sure why) for suggesting that.

Yet it’s RoJo’s power running between the tackles and his ability to shake would-be tacklers that has been most impressive during his turnaround.

44 Responses to “MJD: Ronald Jones Is Scary”

  1. HeyItsAdam Says:

    I won’t lie… I honestly thought Jones was another Dexter Jackson (of App State fame). I thought he got to the pros, was intimidated by the size and speed and just got PTSD-ed into “bust” status.

    It appears that the coaching staff somehow rehabilitated him and they both deserve ALOT of credit for their patience.

    So, I have to add this to the list of things I was completely wrong about… also on the list, I thought the “Segway” was going to be more popular than it ended up being.

  2. SOEbuc Says:

    That 10 pounds of muscle he put on in the offseason turned him to a straight up bell cow

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Wasn’t Jones 20 when drafted? He reminds me of Ronde where fans gave him flak until year 3 when it all seemed to click for both of them.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here you go again….and must I remind you again….Rojo with just 15 carries per game last year would project to 1008 yards…….a projection you have never put forth….instead, criticizing his 2nd year….
    Furthermore, the acquisition of Fournette, Vaughn & McCoy is more of a statement on the RBs not resigned by the Bucs like Barber & Dare….not Rojo.

  5. Lord Says:

    I always believed

  6. Anonymous Says:

    good player I thought he was more of a homerun back when he came out, seems like he knew he had to get bigger paid off

  7. 813bucboi Says:

    Yet it’s RoJo’s power running between the tackles and his ability to shake would-be tacklers that has been most impressive during his turnaround.

    LOL…and some clueless fans scream, “stop running up the gut on 1st down”….

    gotta wear down the defense from start to finish…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  8. TheBradyBunch Says:

    Joe once you get something in your head you can’t let it go. Rojo had a dismal rookie year. Year two who showed massive improvement. He had a strong YPC average and a number of long runs that were brought back because of stupid penalties. You have this false narrative that years one and two were basically horrible. The two seasons were markedly different and in year three he is just continuing with his growth as an NFL RB.

  9. Bucamania Says:

    Rojo was a run to daylight kinda back out of college. He’s ttally transformed himself into an every down back. Still want to see him break off more long runs.

  10. Bobby M. Says:

    Some of it, whether folks want to recognize it or not, is teams aren’t daring us to throw anymore. Brady doesn’t give out turnovers like its candy AND he will slice a defense up with every possible receiver on the field. Defenses have to play honest and that makes running the ball a bit easier. When you can run the ball, you can control the clock a bit better, which helps the defense stay a tad more fresh late in the game. That’s the impact the QB has on the game that go far beyond “stats”.

  11. Allbuccedup Says:

    Hes good I would not call him scary, Derrick Henry is scary.

  12. Bucshot Says:

    Joe needs to eat some crow. You guys have been ripping on Jones for years, when the guy just needed a chance.

  13. Gofortheface30 Says:

    I love the Alstott comparison, he’s a tough mfer to bring down. Squats pays off people. He’s much bigger, thicker now than when he first got in to league. And for as fast as he is – he still, to this day, has not popped off for a 60 yard run, ever. It’s mind bottling…There is still a place for Fournette who does have more an innate ability for the big play. Loving this ground and pound, Tom Brady in play action with a clean pocket is the most beautiful thing to watch

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Two fascinating lines Joe …

    “Jones, for two years, was truly awful.”
    “He (RoJo) clearly didn’t give up, took to coaching and busted his tail.”

    Don’t think anyone could disagree with either. But IMO it says a LOT about not just RoJo (for working his tail off to improve), but also for (1) our OLine improvements this year; (2) Todd McNair, our RBs coach; and (3) how RoJo is finally being used.

    A lot’s been written already about the first 2, but the 3rd (how RoJo is now being used) should be focused on more I think. Looks like he’s being used quite a bit differently than he was in years 1 & 2, not to mention a LOT more recently. Got a hunch that’s McNair’s influence also, because BA & BL still seem to think that ‘Run the ball’ and ‘On 1st down’ mean the same thing. Makes me wonder how awesome RoJo could do in an offense like Tennessee’s.

  15. rrsrq Says:

    I can say I believed in Rojo, who I did not believe in was Coach K to develop him or give him the opportunity. He had to mature as a player, but also thought DK never gave him an opportunity. Joe, the guy had over a 1000 yards from scrimmage last year without even starting half of the year. (Anyone can say, look at the runs that were called back due to penalties, including some invisible ones on Demar Dotson, but he had some legit long runs called back). Is he Dalvin Cook or Derrick Henry, nope, but if used properly last year, that is less picks for JW and a respectable running game – to not give him more carries during the last ATL game which was his first 100 yard game (though it should not have been) was ridiculous.

  16. Steven007 Says:

    TBBF and Brady bunch, exactly correct. Year one was obviously a complete and utter bust. Year two was much improved. Not great but certainly at least average. And yes, multiple long runs called back due to penalties.for some reason Joe needs to qualify nearly every Jones article with how no one could have ever known this was coming. Well of course. We’re not Nostradamus we’re just hopeful and we knew the kid had talent. Not so difficult to figure that one out. The team was obviously hedging their bets adding backs as they should have. No one loses in this scenario.

  17. PTWalk Says:

    Joe you think because you couldn’t see it, no one else could’ve. Its was obvious looking at his production from last yr, which you clearly ignore.

  18. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Stop with the long runs garbage called back due to penalties. A pretty loser mentality since every running back in the league experiences that. Your definition of long runs are not mine. Fournette TAKES IT TO THE HOUSE. You literally cannot formulate an argument that 27 has had a legit breakaway run because he has not. I’m sure that will be interpreted as some sort of “disrespect” like I groped your mother or something but it’s an undisputed fact, everything else about Rojo has been nothing short of amazing (also except for catching). I don’t believe it’s too much to ask ROJO to develop a few other components to his game. The way some of you defend him, it’s almost as if he’s a combination of Jim Brown and Barry Sanders

  19. AwShbucs Says:



    Frank Gore is one of the best running backs of all time but you’re gonna tell me differently because he doesn’t take runs to the house?

    Ronald jones is the #5 Running back in the NFL right now from a production standpoint. You can’t argue with that.

  20. David Says:

    He added 10 pounds and is now hitting the holes decisively before bouncing outside. Last year he immediately try to get to the edge almost every time and you can’t do that in the NFL no matter how fast you are.
    Add the other running backs as motivation and the threat of Tom Brady back there passing, it’s all coming together. And let’s not forget the o line. They are playing fantastic, especially if they can continue to improve on penalties, talking to you Donovan Smith

  21. AwShbucs Says:

    Still don’t understand how Rojo was “awful” in 2019 when he averaged 4.2 yards per carry and produced 1,000 yards from scrimmage.

    Also Joe, you didn’t come right out and say Jones was the next Alstott. The name of your article was “Rojo the fullback?” Which smacked of disrespect and just another way to discredit him. This was also the same week that you said outright on the podcast that you didn’t care about his 100 yard game because he didn’t take one to the house…

    Face it, whether you like it or not, Rojo made a tremendous turnaround in 2019 and you were either unwilling, or too incompetent to notice.

  22. Beeej Says:

    It’s amazing what a running back can do when defenders don’t get their hands on him in the backfield

  23. Hodad Says:

    Glad you’re impressed Joe. You couldn’t wait for Fournette to take his job. Now that Fournette has missed time due to an injury, which he always seems to have, you can’t stop singing Rojo praises.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    PTWalk … I agree with you about 2019 being when RoJo’s turnaround started, but he was used very sparingly IMO by the Bucs’ coaching staff. Ended up with 415 snaps in 16 games, just a tad over 25 snaps per game, barely more than Barber (339) or Ogunbowale (361) who are no longer on the team.

    But RoJo made his count far as I’m concerned, whereas the other 2 didn’t. Ended up with 172 rushes for 724 yds (4.2 YPC as you said), plus 40 targets with 31 receptions for another 309 yds receiving (10.0 YPR). Still that’s only 11 runs per game and only about 2 receptions per game. So I’d say that he made the most of his opportunities last year. And now that he’s in the lead dog role, he’s getting more touches and performing even better. Even old dogs like BA learn new tricks it seems.

  25. Brandon Says:

    4.2 yards per carry in his second season and he was awful? Were we watching the same games, Joe? When was the last time the leading rusher for the Bucs had 4.2 yards per carry? It was 2015…. Jones wasn’t awful last season, he was underutillized and underrated. If you didn’t see that 22 year old RB last season was full of potential, that’s on you. He’s the same age now as Cadillac was when he ran for three straight 100 yard games (out of his eight career 100 yard games) and was dropping passes all over the field.

  26. bojim Says:

    I was one of them who knew it and I’m not a dumbazz. However, I didn’t think he was going to be a power runner.

  27. AwshBucs Says:

    whoops… spoke too soon on that one. my b. just something wrong with the link i guess.

  28. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Lindy’s Sports Pro Football Draft magazine (2018) had only Saquon Barkley and Derrious Guice rated higher than him that year.  They had him rated higher than Kerryon Johnson, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny and Nick Chubb.  He was listed as 6-0, 205 with a 40 time of 4.49.  He turned 21 in August in the year he was drafted.

    For his weaknesses they said “Tall and lean-muscled, lacking an ideal build for the position. Lacks move-the-pile power. Not a consistent tackle-breaker, unless his speed is shifted in high gear.  Must improve his tempo and patience to better set up blocks. Needs to further his development as a receiver …”.  You get the idea.

    His biggest asset has proven to be his character which is an intangible.  He appeared headed for the “bust bin” after his rookie season was such a disaster.  He has done nothing but work his butt off for the past two off seasons according to reports elsewhere.  He has bulked up and now weighs about 225.  He has learned how to catch passes.  He has new moves.  He has undergone a chrysalis as you’ve said.

    Go Bucs!

  29. Armando Ruiz Says:

    1. He had no O-line when he was drafted.
    2. He had Jamis as his QB.
    3. The maturation of Cappa and the addition of the R-tackle did wonders for him.
    4. All those receiving weapons and TB at quarter back.

    You’ve trashed he guy for the last two years, and every time there was a r-back out there you wanted to give up the house. Give me a good offensive line and I’ll give you a good to great RB. Control the line if scrimmage and you win games.
    You need to lay off the storm beer, those incredibly long and stupid nicknames and focus on that makes a winning football team. I’ve been a Buc since 1974.

  30. Rod Munch Says:

    Ronnie was doing this at the end of last year, it’s like people just blocked out those games for some unknown reason. I guess if you just pretend those last few games don’t exist you’d be surprised by this, but if you paid attention you would have known that Rojo could handle the load if he was given the chance.

    Just don’t throw him the ball.

  31. hammerhead Says:

    Rojo wasn’t garbage last year, despite Joe’s continued insistence. He had a decent average per carry and over 700 yards. He also averaged over 10 yards per reception.

    I thought he just needed more opportunities. And he’s gotten them. He’s had to become more mature physically and mentally, but the talent was always there.

  32. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Rumble Young Man Rumble

  33. The Coroner Says:

    “A couple of weeks ago Joe remarked he’s so impressed by RoJo’s running in traffic that maybe he’s the new Mike Alstott, a fullback.”

    Joe. Oh. You just pulled Buc fans’ collective legs so hard we’re all gonna have to go and see if a chiropractor can pop our hips back in place. That was a belly slapping laugh so hard I split my britches.

    Keep it up Joe. Maybe you can end up on Saturday Night Live.

  34. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    He was invisible as a rookie both in practice and games and not much better his second year.

    Ronald Jones: 2018
    • Games Started: 0
    • Rushing Attempts: 23
    • Rushing Yards: 44
    • Touch Downs: 1
    • Rushing Yards Per Attempt: 1.9
    • Rushing Yards Per Game: 2.6
    • Rushing Yards After Contact: 28
    • Targets: 9
    • Receptions: 7
    • Reception Yards: 33
    • Catch%: 77.8%

    Ronald Jones: 2019
    • Games Started: 9
    • Rushing Attempts: 172
    • Rushing Yards: 724
    • Touch Downs: 6
    • Rushing Yards Per Attempt: 4.2
    • Rushing Yards Per Game: 45.3
    • Rushing Yards After Contact: 415
    • Targets: 40
    • Receptions: 31
    • Reception Yards: 309
    • Catch%: 77.5%


  35. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    From 0 Starts in 2018
    To 9 starts in 2019

    From 72 total yards from scrimmage in 2018
    To 1033 yards from scrimmage in 2019

  36. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Ronald Jones II || 2019-2020 Season Highlights || Tampa Bay Buccaneershttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VYisk4B4iE

  37. LUVMYBUCS Says:


  38. Cobraboy Says:

    Isn’t Jones like 220lbs. or so? Not 208?

  39. BucsFanFromSaintsLand Says:

    Why don’t we run any toss plays?

  40. AtlBuc Says:

    (Joe gets a kick out of readers who just knew RoJo was going to be a damn good running back. Absolutely knew it based on … well, not a damn thing outside of hope.
    JOE!!! I could see by Jones running style that he would be great. He was always one block away… or, one shoe string tackle away from breaking it.

  41. adam from ny Says:

    as i said before:

    rojo is the “little earl campbell”

    dude is beasting like a mofo !

  42. Rob Says:

    I guess it was fair that a lot of people were unsure about Rojo, but he was a young rookie on an average team with a QB that started most games with a pick, putting the team behind and throwing out the game plan. What a difference a year makes with a QB that understands balance and pushes his teammates to be accountable. Puts Rojo in a great position which is why I think we’re seeing his success. Confidence builds on confidence.

  43. unbelievable Says:

    As usual, Joe misrepresents what people have said about RoJo.

    He was very bad his rookie last year.

    Last year he showed much more ability, but was not given enough chances. We kept rotating backs, he averaged less than 11 carries a game.


    Bump that up to 15 and he was a 1,000 back last season.

    That’s all. We saw him getting better, and felt he needed more touches like any good running back who gets better as the game goes on.

  44. unbelievable Says:

    *his rookie year