Mr. Inside, Ronald Jones

July 18th, 2021

Power-runner data

As many of you likely heard in an edition of the “Ira Kaufman Podcast” earlier this summer, there was great debate about who should be the Bucs’ No. 1 running back.

Ira is adamant Ronald Jones is the man and damn last year’s playoff numbers.

(This should not surprise regular listeners of Ira’s pod. Ira loves backup quarterbacks, short passes and backup running backs. The desired offense for Ira would be Mike Glennon throwing 20 screen passes a game to Charles Sims, never mind that you have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Cam Brate and a 5,000-yard passer on the same roster. Joe’s exaggerating, of course, but not as much as you think.)

Joe is not suggesting Jones is a bad running back. However, Jones isn’t a home run hitter and is more of an inside runner. Please let Joe offer the evidence.

Only one NFL running back hit the line of scrimmage on inside runs faster than RoJo (9.69 mph) and that was Alvin Kamara of the slimy Saints (9.79 mph). Kamara was only an eyeblink faster — if that.

This may be why RoJo was so damn good at running between the tackles. In 2020, RoJo led the NFL running between the tackles facing seven-or-fewer box defenders. When called on inside, RoJo averaged 7.2 yards a carry.

Last year, Joe once referred to Jones as the Bucs’ new fullback, and Joe got roasted on Twitter for that. But his prowess inside is obvious.

One reason Joe believes Playoff Lenny should be the No. 1 running back is that RoJo simply isn’t a home run hitter like Playoff Lenny. But wait Joe, RoJo had a 98-yard touchdown last year. He did. And it was awesome. Sadly, that run was very much an outlier.

In just one season playing part-time for the Bucs, Playoff Lenny has nine touchdowns rushing. Three of those were 10- or more yards, including two in the postseason. So a third (33 percent) of Playoff Lenny’s rushing touchdowns came from 10 or more yards out. In RoJo’s three-year career, he has 14 touchdown runs — only one was more than 10 yards (that 98-yarder).

Advantage: Playoff Lenny.

Joe is a big believer in scoring touchdowns. And if Playoff Lenny represents that much better of a chance to score from beyond 10 yards, then Joe will side with Playoff Lenny — with RoJo getting plenty of carries up the middle.

41 Responses to “Mr. Inside, Ronald Jones”

  1. Mike Says:

    Rojo will start just because the Bucs stubbornly wants to run most of the first play. But Lenny will be counted in critical play.

  2. Stanglassman Says:

    It might of helped that playoff Lenny was bench Lenny most of the season and came in with fresh legs.

    ROJO is the better Rb and should be 1a.

  3. Marine Buc Says:

    Honestly Joe – who cares?

    All of our running backs are a little different. It’s a toolbox with each tool being utilized when needed.

    At the end of the day it really is meaningless who the “starter” is they will all be utilized properly and hopefully they all stay healthy…

  4. gp Says:

    I’m with Marine Buc on this one.
    We have the “swiss army knife” of running back corps.
    And Tommy boy knows how and when to use the tools at his discretion.

  5. Bucnut2 Says:

    This is the same Joe who told us how awesome Winston was and that interceptions don’t matter. Guess what, they do. Enough said. This Joe just doesn’t get it

  6. Jerry R Jones Says:

    Fournette wasn’t running like Rojo all year, and then he turned it on and Rojo had his quad injury. There’s vital context you’re leaving out Joe that paints a different picture.

  7. Hodad Says:

    We’re simply not a running football team. Like others have said doesn’t matter whi starts, we’ll need everybody during a 17 game season. Lenny ran good during the playoffs, but our O line hit a groove also. It wasn’t all Lenny.

  8. gotbbucs Says:

    This post finally proves once and for all that this Joe knows absolute jack poop about the game of football.
    You’ve got one hell of alot of nerve blasting any other NFL analyst for their takes when this is the conclusion you come to based on the speed at which a RB hits the line of scrimmage.

    The list that includes Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, and Aaron Jones, and somehow you surmise that this stat means Jones isn’t a starting running back in the NFL? Wow, just wow.

  9. Miller5252 Says:

    I really don’t think it matters who the starter is, last year Rojo earned the right to be the starter week after week, but after the injury Lenny carried the load and then some. Even if Bernard goes wild and earns the every down RB position it isn’t a bad thing. Just as long as all 3 produce and work in the system it’s great for the Bucs. And I really don’t think Ira wants Glennon over Brady and screens and swing passes is all he wants.

  10. ModHairKen Says:

    Who is number 1 means nothing.

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    Ronnie is the #1 back, but, because he can’t catch the ball any better than your average grandmother, it limits his snaps, so Fournette will basically be splitting 1st and 2nd down around 50/50 with Bernard getting nearly all passing downs.

    So I don’t think anyone’s stats are going to look all that good, but I think Ronnie will lead the team in rushing.

    With all that said, I agree Ronnie is an insider runner – and that is not a bad thing at all, that’s where most runs go. As for him not being able to catch anything, AD couldn’t catch the ball either. Jones isn’t Peterson, but the point is the same, some RB’s just run the ball, and there’s still spots in the NFL for that if you’re good.

  12. Rod Munch Says:

    Also, something I always mean to bring up, Ronald Jones is still just 23 years old (about to be 24 next month). He is still going to get better and even after 3-years in the NFL doesn’t have a ton of mileage. The best thing, for the Bucs, that could happen is for the Bucs to keep winning but for Ronnie to post some garbage stats because of all the split carriers, then the Bucs can resign him on the cheap. If you just had Jones and a 3rd down back like Bernard, Jones would easily be a 1300-1500 yard RB in my opinion (17 games remember) — I he was nearly at 1000 yards last year with injuries and splitting carriers.

  13. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe your conclusion that Leonard is a homerun hitter and Ronald isnt doesnt hold too much water for me.

    If you compare their gamestats last year and look at their long runs for each game Ronald Jones is clearly the homerun hitter…..If we are just going based on that stat……….So you are basing this off of 2 ten plus yard TDs Lenny had in the playoffs. OK fair. If Lenny keeps running the way he did in the playoffs Im buying in. But if the results during the season match last years season RoJo is the closest thing we have to a homerun hitter.

  14. Slugglife Says:

    Home runs are great.

    But I prefer methodical drives that demoralize defenses and punish tacklers. Let’s not sh!t on any of our Super Bowl Champion Bucs- they all did their job when needed and will do so again this season.

    Everybody can’t have the hot hand at the same time.

  15. Slugglife Says:

    Right on Ken. Too much emphasis placed on the starter.

    Who will be the finisher is way more important.

  16. Eric Says:

    Lol man stop it Lenny got hot, Rojo is a better runner and I’m betting he is faster also when Lenny get punched in the mouth he runs soft!!

  17. Slugglife Says:

    There’s nothing song about Leonard Fournette.

  18. Slugglife Says:


  19. Buckaroo Boozie Says:

    Running back by committee is a HUGE BONUS…
    With Gio catching balls out of backfield the TAMPA BRADY BUCCANEERS
    Will be quite the JUGGERNAUT 💥🍻

    20-0 HISTORIC SEASON!!! just keep politics out of sports🤔

  20. SB~LV Says:

    For a top NFL RB… it has certainly taken a long and path, all the while show just enough something to keep watching him.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Isn’t it great to have a debate over who is our best RB instead of why don’t we have a good RB?

    The fact of the matter is that we need both of them….actually, we will probably need all 4.

    If Rojo is given the carries…I think he will prove to be the best.

  22. Slugglife Says:

    This debate is a great problem to have. Agreed.

  23. SOEbuc Says:

    With the deep RB room they need to chew up yardage on the ground to create

  24. SOEbuc Says:

    create PA

  25. SOEbuc Says:

    Excited to see what Ke’ can do in preseason.

  26. Ne+ bucs fan Says:

    I like rojo ,and yes different tools to work with,let’s remember a certain RB couldn’t score from the 1 yard line.gatta use the right tools for the job

  27. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Unbelievable about this Joe, probably the same one who said the line wasn’t the reason for all the sacks given up before Brady got here. Let’s see last year this o line opened up holes for our ground game to the tune of 3.1 ypc, wow so impressive yet ROJO AVERAGED 5.1 and Lenny 3.8 you tell me who was the real runner. He averaged 7.2 ypg up the middle and you wonder how he didn’t score longer tds. Hmm you ever hear of not enough down field blocking??? He had plenty of runs 15+ yards last year but was getting gang tackled at the end of them. What was Lenny’s ypc up the middle? Last year Lenny ran into blockers and tacklers without any authority and only turned it on when Jones was injured. Even Key Vaughn ran better than he did and this Joe says he’s a better runner than Jones. Please how can you call a man with no back bone who only plays well when there’s no competition a home run hitter????

  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    JBF poll needed alert!!! ROJO VS LENNY Straight up……

  29. Greg Says:

    We all loved Playoff Lenny and he was fantastic but regular season Lenny ran like he didn’t want to get hit! We’ll see which we get this season.

  30. Buckaroo Boozie Says:

    Rodger GoToHell says Tom Brady has to play 2021 season blindfolded with a 5 lbs. Wrist weight on his throwing arm…

    Prediction: Bucs 20-0🥳🍻

  31. mg Says:

    Great debate – Great Issue for the o coordinator to master.

  32. BucEmUp Says:

    rojo is a betyer one cut downhill runner with break away speed

    Fournette has better change of direction

    I think by the seasons end, Gio Bernard will be the best all around back on the team, but ai also think overall its a three headed monster and choosing a best will be splitting hairs

  33. Mike Says:

    It is hard to accept the fact if you are a homer. I agree with Joe, Rojo is a better pure runner. But winning is based on the fact and efficiency. If you need 2 yards on third, you cannot put Rojo because the defense knows that Ro cannot catch and they will load the box. I hope Joe will dig the data on these situations last year.

  34. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Why do people keep saying ROJO CAN’T catch??? In the last 2 seasons he was only targeted 82 times and made 59 receptions for 474 yards, for a healthy 8.08 ypc. Though he doesn’t have many career receptions he has a 7.7 ypc. If they’d give him more opportunities I believe he’d do even better than people believe. People should remember his 37 yd td against the Chiefs.

  35. Buczilla Says:

    We have three above average, but nothing special running backs and an unproven dude in Vaughn. My hope is that Vaughn blows up in camp and becomes our number one option.

  36. Wild Bill Says:

    RJ hits the hole way quicker than playoff Lenny during the regular season. His yards per carry were much higher because of that. Lenny too often hesitated looking for an opening and got stuffed. But in the playoffs Lenny seemed a different player hitting the line much faster creating his own opening, breaking tackles, etc. If playoff Lenny is the real deal for the long haul then he deserves to start. Where RJ’s quick burst gets him that 5 yard gain, playoff Lenny was breaking off longer runs and shedding tacklers. Whoever produces the most in the first couple games will likely be the starter. I lean towards RJ and his much higher average per carry. But if playoff Lenny continues to produce the way he did in the playoffs the Bucs have good problem! Keep them both fresh by rotating and pound the rock and knife the defenses with the pass. A consistent ground game will make Brady even more dangerous and opposing defenses in big trouble.

  37. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Review the tape of ROJOs 98 yarder against Carolina , Number 21 Jeremy Chinn is giving full chase and cannot gain enough ground to even take a swipe at him. Chinn had 4.45 40 at combine and Jones ran a 4.65 , but there is time without equipment in the 40 and also real game speed. Jones is clearly the bigger Home Run threat.

  38. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I think Bernard is going to end up being the cow bell back. When he’s in the game the defense can’t guess run vs pass.

  39. gotbbucs Says:

    Ronald Jones is not a starting caliber NFL running back because he runs too hard between the tackles.
    Leonard Fournette is a worthy starter because all season long he layed down at the line of scrimmage on contact, and then in the playoffs he bounced two runs to the outside.

    I still can’t get over this asinine argument.

  40. Brandon Says:

    Joe and Rojo bashers are delusional. How many of Rojo’s runs went for 10 yards or more. What was the percentage? Much higher than the average RB and far greater than Lenny, who was below average. It’s stuff like this that really makes me question the football IQ on this site. BTW, inside runners, not home run threats, are the key to winning games. Keeping the chains moving. This is why Emmitt was 100x better than Barry. Clueless people like highlight reel runs, winners want positive yardage on every play.

  41. Brandon Says:

    And then dummies wanna tout Bernard as anything other than over the hill. The dude is done. Think Shady but with half the talent.