For everyone wanting to see more of running back Ronald Jones, Head Coach Bruce Arians is here to tell you he’s improving, and an increased role could be coming. So far this season, Jones is used primarily on first and second downs, splitting the work with starter Peyton Barber. Both Arians and Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich have said – and proved – they go with the hot hand between the two. For instance, Jones got his most offensive snaps of the season with 36 in his old collegiate stadium when the Bucs visited the Los Angeles Rams. It was a comfortable environment for him and so he got hot. Simple.
It’s the benefit of employing a ‘running-back-by-committee’ approach, mixing in Barber with Jones and Dare Ogunbowale. In Tennessee, their offensive snaps were pretty evenly split with Barber getting 29, Ogunbowale with 27 and Jones with 22.
Ogunbowale, in particular, is used primarily on third-down and his influx of snaps are likely the result of the Bucs facing 15 third-down situations during the game. Third-down backs are usually the best blockers of the bunch, often used in pass protection, especially in third-and-long. They also are usually great pass catchers, in case they’re needed in the pass game in those situations, too. Ogunbowale fits the bill there, but both of those traits are areas in which Jones has improved according to his coach. And getting in the mix on third down would mean seeing Jones on the field more.
"He’s gotten much better at blitz pick-up,” Arians said. “We’ve talked about it – he’s improved each week, which should get him more snaps. But as far as two-minute, Dare [Ogunbowale] is one of the best ones that we have as far as knowing who to block and how to block them. But I think Ronald’s going to have a hell of a future.”