The Buccaneers took running back Ronald Jones with their second-round pick in this year’s draft, and to say he was a major disappointment would be a major understatement. Jones managed just 22 yards on 28 carries, a shockingly bad average of 0.8 yards per carry.
Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said after the Bucs’ preseason finale, in which Jones had 10 carries for four yards, that he’s not really sure why Jones isn’t able to get anything going on the ground.
“I can’t give you a good answer for it,” Koetter said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I saw it in practice. But we weren’t able to get it going during the game for whatever reason. When his runs came up, we didn’t block them very well, number one, and he wasn’t able to do much with it on his own. I don’t have a good answer for you. Of course, I haven’t seen the tape from [Thursday] but it didn’t look pretty from where I saw it. Again, when you have bad running plays, rarely is it one guy’s fault. Sometimes it is, but rarely. It’s a combination of things. I know from Ronald’s standpoint, it’s not at all from lack of effort, or from him not knowing what he’s doing. Okay? So I know there’s been a little undercurrent out there about him not knowing the playbook and I want to make sure I’m real clear on that. That is not an issue.”
Jones did pick up 37 yards on his only catch of the preseason, so he managed to flash his big-play ability once. But running the ball, he never gained more than five yards on any carry. Given what the Bucs were expecting from Jones coming out of USC, that’s a major concern. With Jameis Winston suspended and the Bucs hoping to rely on their running game, they need to figure out how to get him some running room when the football starts for real.