Michael Clayton: Ronald Jones Doesn’t Understand Bucs’ Culture

September 21st, 2021

If there’s one former Buccaneer who knows a lot about the psychology and mentality of a football player, it’s blocking icon Michael Clayton.

He explored plenty of that in his book, Chasing My Rookie Year.

So Joe was eager to hear the retired wide receiver’s comments today about 24-year-old Ronald Jones, who has struggled mentally to start his fourth season.

Clayton told WDAE radio that this might just be who Jones is after highs and lows in the past. And Clayton had a firm opinion about RoJo catching a pass against the Falcons and seemingly walking out of bounds just shy of a first down rather than taking on a defender and fighting for yardage.

“I wouldn’t say mental mistakes, honestly, that’s just the player I believe he is. We’ve all heard Bruce at times call him immature or that he has to grow up a little bit. Those are just signs of a young player not understanding everything that entails being a great football player,” Clayton began.

“I believe Ronald Jones has tremendous upside, tremendous potential, but he’s just a young player right now. When you have an opportunity to finish on the sideline, that’s just not for the culture of the team, that’s for the team that you’re playing next week — to let them know that every time you touch the rock that you’re trying to dominate the play. And when you miss out on opportunities like that, I just don’t feel like you understand the culture of a championship-winning team. And it hurts him at times. But will he have an opportunity to grow? Yes. Because Bruce Arians believes in him. Bruce Arians has given him opportunity after opportunity, even though he’s been the same player.”

Clayton suggested RoJo just has to run hard and everything will fall into place.

The wacky thing about RoJo is that NFL Films microphones caught Tyrann Matthieu lauding RoJo on the Chiefs’ sidelines last season for running with incredible fire and passion.

Bucs fans have seen RoJo get the job done. Heck the guy averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season as the Bucs’ full-time running back, the best-ever finish in that category for a Tampa Bay starter.

Joe has no idea how Arians will re-ignite a fire under RoJo. Perhaps Arians’ public comments yesterday were the next step.

Enjoy Tuesday’s Ira Kaufman Podcast

43 Responses to “Michael Clayton: Ronald Jones Doesn’t Understand Bucs’ Culture”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    “Those are just signs of a young player”

    People will scoff that line, mainly because they’re dishonest idiots who won’t actually reflect on their behavior at 24-years old… but as a reminder, Rojo is YOUNGER than Keyshawn Vaughn. He was 23-years old going into camp, he only turned 24 last year. When I think back to all the idiot things I did at 24, I’m shocked I’m even alive.

    In that regard I’d cut the guy some slack. But I still just want to know what the hell was Rojo thinking on that 1st down play. Did he somehow, despite having the marker right in front of him, lose track of it? But even so, why would he step out of bounds and avoid contact when he’s always been a guy who takes on contact? The concerning part is that it was just such wildly different behavior than what he normally shows.

    What I also wonder is if he’s having some issues in his personal life that is messing with him. Again, at that age, when you’re still an idiot, stupid little things can become big things. Whatever is going on, I don’t think Arians helped the matter when he called him nuts after game 1. Hopefully they can build him back up quickly — if they can’t, then say he’s all better, looks better than ever and then trade him (again, I saw to Indy for Marlo Mack, a proven runner, #3 on their depth chart, they’d take the trade).

  2. SOEbuc Says:

    TRADE NOW!!! I don’t understand when a running team will take him when the Bucs don’t use him and he will not be resigned. Am I wrong or crazy? I don’t get it.

  3. Roy T. Buford Says:

    RoJo came into his rookie year saying he didn’t know he was supposed to bust his hump in pre-season–which was odd. Then he couldn’t catch. Then he had a bit of a fumble problem. His head doesn’t seem to be right on football, although I know what Arians said (I’d expect Arians to say nothing else but what he did). So, when RoJo ran out of bounds short of the marker Sunday, I assumed he just thought he got the 1st. But then he missed a key block..very ugly. I wonder if RoJo is our Jameis Winston of running backs. That is, he does some great things to impress, and then leaves you with “wtf was that?”

    He’s gotta beat it. Don’t think he starts Sunday. Could be to Bucs benefit to sideline him and then ask third quarter-ish….”you good?” and send him in.

  4. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Disagree Rod…he can have stuff get in his head at any age (anyone can). But at 24 and in his 3rd year he needs to be more mature and seasoned. Any job, inside being an athlete or out in the real world, when you are called on in your 3rd year of getting paid to do the same thing, you better be good. You need to perform. So think something else is going on…not just being young.

  5. Coburn Says:

    Wish he’d mature some, but agree he has potential. Every now and then you see that extra gear mixed in with a hurdle and it sort of wows you. Remember seeing something like that early in the game

  6. Buczilla Says:

    On his best days, Rojo is above average, but unless he makes another huge leap, he’s not worth another contract unless it’s for league minimum. No more excuses for this dude, at 24 you should have a decent grasp of who you are as a person and he appears to be a serious head case. Maybe he should live with Brady for the rest of the year since he seems like a good kid and I’d love for him to play well for us, but this immature nonsense is getting old man.

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Hard to get in a rhythm when you’re taken out after every possession.
    That said, I think RoJo is just a little goofy…but his talent is undeniable.
    Expect a big game vs Rams.

  8. Casual Observer Says:

    RoJo has never been a good pass blocker. Hurts his potential – especially with the Bucs.

  9. Robert Says:

    great insurance policy for LF.

    trade him???? and have the RB’s look like the secondary. no thanks.

  10. adam from ny Says:

    this oh so young ronald jones is sporting a gray beard tho…

    what’s up with that…



  11. Anonymous Says:

    Bye Rojo! I can only hope we trade him before the deadline.

  12. Wesley Says:

    Give Vaughn a chance RoJo ain’t the answer.

  13. Taampabaybucfan Says:

    Everyone has to admit that running out of bounds to avoid contact is totally out of character for Rojo……he hits the (non-hole) with the total knowledge that there will be nothing but contact.
    I’d like to hear from Rojo……perhaps he though he made the first down…..just wasn’t thinking…..but trying to avoid contact just doesn’t make sense.
    As for missing the block….who hasn’t.

  14. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Patrick Mahomes was only 24 2 years ago too.

  15. SOEbuc Says:


    “trade him???? and have the RB’s look like the secondary. no thanks“

    Did you seriously just compare Arians use of the running game to Bowles secondary scheme?

  16. Winny Testaverde Says:

    If it’s possible for a player from a winning Super Bowl team to have a hangover…perhaps it’s Jones. Stuffed twice at the goal line and turned away on 4th…from then on it was The Lombardi Lenny Show. In a contract year…Lenny is re-signed AND the Bucs added Bernard. Jones may get another shot to shine as the season is long…but this could be his last season in Tampa regardless. RBs careers are typically short and Jones likely won’t get a big deal moving forward. A lot for a young fella to think about.

  17. D-Rome Says:

    People will scoff that line, mainly because they’re dishonest idiots who won’t actually reflect on their behavior at 24-years old

    Speak for yourself. At 24 I was well on my way in my chosen career. Had my own place and was responsible. Many 24 year olds are the same.

  18. Miller5252 Says:

    Rod, I get what you’re saying when you look back at where you were at 24 and compare it to Rojo, a lot of people were that way. Big difference is, you weren’t on a professional football team making millions. Rojo does deserve a little break at 24, but there’s a lot of 24 year olds in the NFL that don’t need personal cheerleader all year every year to get by. He choose the career he’s in and if he can’t handle it, no ones stopping him from calling it a career. Could you imagine what it would be like for him if he was doing this in a place like NY. Since day one he has been given every chance to succeed with continuous help. If he can’t get er going here soon it may be time to let Vaughn try and carry the load with Lenny.

  19. GrafikDetail.com Says:

    right on D-Rome!! I was the same way at 24! working a 9 to 5 at 24 is way tougher than dealing with the pressures of playing a professional sports

  20. geno711 Says:

    It is his 4th year in this system. Why give him an excuse for bad plays?

    Also was shaking his head no to the coaching of Todd McNair on the sideline.

    As a football player, he is still on the team because he is more skilled than any other running back rushing.

    But just because of who he is, I do not see him being on the field late in the 4th quarter of a tie playoff game. I gotta think that would be one of the other two guys. Can’t take a chance on him being young or whatever is going through that head of his.

  21. Infomeplease Says:

    This is Rojo’s forth season, third with BA. He has gotten better every year! He can be a great rb! That’s up to him. He needs more focus during the games and all will be good!! Nobody can make him prepare for the game and mentally focus on the game. He needs to do that!! Himself!!

    Make some plays Rojo, we will cheer for you!! Make some plays!! Be all that you can be!! If not you’ll be somewhere else next year.

  22. Cainishere Says:

    RoJo does well when he hits his obstacles strait on. If a tackler is coming at him if he squares up he can push through. The problem arises when he tries to finesse his way avoiding tacklers. Have Kyle pass him tons of passes see how many he completes to Rojo.

  23. Goodbuc'nlife Says:

    Anyone who thinks that purposefully alternating series does not play on a players psyche while also affecting their rhythm and overall feel for the game is sadly mistaken. RoJo is leaps and bounds a better runner. How can you get hot after just two carries, threes carries, or maybe four for a series because we pass so much then welp, Lenny you’re it. For Gods sake, we can run on anyone. It’s nuts. This is not freaking College ball. They are totally mishandling the RB situation this season. Last season…handled to perfection. WTH is going on this year!?!?! No one almost breaks 1,000 yards by accident. That was done with missing two games. Breaking a 98 yarder is not like cooking pancakes folks. This screams validating Lenny’s contract. This splitting series crap is for highschool and college. It’s getting old and quite honesty hard to watch. If I’m Rojo I’m pissed. This is his problem. I get it. He just needs to ball out to remove the obligatory loyalty to Lenny. Leave nothing to chance or interpretation. Period!!!!! Just hard to do that on a pitch count.

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    I like Jones, buy get the impression Stanford was not in the cards for him.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Nearly everyone on this board always want to throw away every single player at the first sign of them not being perfect. It’s your typical internet lynch mob mentality. It’s just boring. It’s boring sports-talk hot-take garbage radio.

    Rojo might be a flake, but people were rooting for him bigly last year, and the vast majority of people thought he was posed for a big year, this year. But one fumble and 90% of the people here suddenly went from big year, to complete bust, then one week later, we need to cut him.

    Want to talk about your nutjobs, it’s not just Rojo.

  26. Eddie Marz Says:

    Never want to give up on such a talented young man. Let’s hope he realizes what a great opportunity he’s in. Go Bucs!

  27. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Didn’t you dog out Mike Glennon for stepping out before he got a first down years ago?
    How is this any different?
    I don’t dislike Rojo, but this is hardly his first big mistake.

  28. Architek Says:

    I guess that’s why he gets paid the big bucks. But I am running out of patience with him sabotaging the team with foolishness.

  29. JA Says:

    I like Jones and also empathize with his frustration.
    Lenny is famous. Everybody likes Lenny. You know, the guy who sulked last year and caused an interception and fumbled this year in two games.
    Jones is quiet. Mum isn’t the word amongst athletes these days, so Jones suffers from that as well.
    Jones usually outperforms Lenny and then is removed for the slightest error when Lenny’s errors are excused.
    I think it wears on him.
    Jones’s YPC last year was a team record, the best by any Bucs ball carrier in their 46 year history.
    Yeah, let’s dump that output!
    When I listen to Michael Clayton speak I sometimes wonder if he played professional football. Guess his coaches mirrored my thinking judging by his abbreviated career.
    What would you rather have? Second and one from the opponents 11 yard line or first and goal from the ten?
    Think about it …

  30. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I did see Rojo motion as if he got the first down after he ran out of bounds. Not making excuses for him, he should be aware of where the marker is. I have a feeling Rojo will have a good game against L.A., his college stomping grounds.

  31. Kgh4life Says:

    “Doesn’t understand bucs culture”, really? Ronald Jones doesn’t understand football! He has made numerous mental errors during his tenure with the Bucs, just cut him already , we have seen enough.

  32. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Derrick Henry had 35 yards on 14 carries in 1st half vs Seahawks.
    He finished with 182 yds rushing, 55 receiving and 3 td’s.
    Just start one of the backs and let them play the whole game – get a feel for the opponents’ D, and stop the lining up at WR B.S. … With our receivers, are you kidding??

  33. Crunch Buc Says:

    All of that is well and good but FOUR YEARS into his Bucs career he still MISSES BLITZ PICK UPS and doesn’t protect the football. At this point his downside outweighs his upside.

  34. The Deflator Says:


    If he wants to be in a position where he’s not taken out every other possession, then he needs to play in such a way that they can’t take him

    I understand the importance of keeping RB’s fresh, but this is not that.

  35. Ash Says:

    Trade him? For what a sack of potatoes he has no trade value he is in the last year of his rookie contract just gonna have to deal with what he is for the season and move on after

  36. lambchop Says:

    I don’t see that fire to be the best on a week in, week out basis. It’s like this guy needs a personal pep talk and reminder to play hard sometimes.

    The guy has home run potential. But like Bill Parcells once said, “You lose with potential, you win with performance.”

    In the last year of his rookie contract, there is NO EXCUSES to not fight for that 1st down. He can be 20 for all anyone cares. You want that bag, you go get it.

  37. gotbbucs Says:

    Jones is playing in a time and age where 3rd down scat backs are more coveted than bruiser. Thirty years ago they would have given him 25-30 carries a game.
    Today’s NFL doesn’t care about guys that can average 5 yards per carry, they want guys that can line up in multiple positions and create mismatches in the passing game.
    Ronald Jones is a traditional running back on a team that has Tom Brady at QB and given these recieving weapons you’d have to be an idiot to run the football 30 times a game.
    I said it yesterday, Jones and Fournette should only be brought in the game in obvious running downs early in the game, other than that let Bernard run the linebackers ragged on pass routes. Once they have the lead and look like they can use the run to burn clock bring Jones and Fournette in the game and run…….play action passes. Honestly, at this point why run the ball more than once or twice a series? Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin should have just as many carries as the backs.

  38. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Deflator Says-
    I think they’re both good backs- but it is not good football to rotate them in and out every series. RoJo has made mistakes, so has Fournette. They both have talent. Just let them both play a complete game and if one starts distinguishing himself, then make him the starter. This rotating series will not work in the NFL.
    A RB needs to get a rhythm going and coaches can make better play calling/blocking adjustments when they see a Defensive strategy in play.
    Fournette is being taken out, too. The strategy doesn’t work for either of them or the team. Some of this is on the coaching staff.

  39. SOEbuc Says:

    My RoJo 2020 stat that pisses me off about BA every time:

    -5 games 17+ attempts
    -5 games 17+ were all 100+ yards
    -5 games with 17+ attempts 4/5 W

    My head be messed up if I wasn’t getting anywhere close to #1 RB attempts with those stats. Trying to get his dollars up and Bucs won’t let him. Trade before deadline.

  40. JessieMoneybaf Says:

    [The headline is 100 percent correct! May want to re-read the headline and Michael Clayton’s full quote. –Joe] Lamar Jackson threw 2 INTs the other night. Then Aaron Rogers the reigning MVP got beat by 30 week 1. Tom Brady didn’t play that well on Sunday. AND Mahomes had a costly turnover. It’s ball! We know Jones runs hard so he prob did think he got the 1st down. Dude played with broken thumb the end of last season right after Covid. Y’all fans think these dudes are robots. Most of you couldn’t do half what they do.

  41. Crickett Baker Says:

    Well, I now feel something IS really wrong with Rojo and I think Arians is treating him wrong by pointing out his failures. I think he should tell him how good he is, tell him he is a Super Bowl Champ and IF he wants a career in football the sky is the limit. But he has to work and execute. He either sees himself as a failure, now, or he is not in love with football, period, imo.

  42. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Jessie says: “Tom Brady didn’t play that well on Sunday.”

    24/36, 276 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT, 129.2 passer rating

    Yeah, he really stunk it up (smdh)

  43. Brandon Says:

    People that want our best running running back ever gone (yards per carry, finishing runs) are clueless. The dude is fantastic as a runner when he is tuned in. See nearly every game last year as a runner. He was powerful and explosive. You don’t give away one of your top weapons EVER… unless you’re trying to rebuild. That’s just dumb.