TAMPA – If a running back has more rush attempts than yards, there is cause for concern. When Ronald Jones, the second round of Southern Cal's Bucs, runs back, that's confusing.
Jones had his longest-running game in the Bucs preseason from January 25 to 10 against the Jaguars. But he had little more than a few new welts to show for it.
Two of his first three loads against the Jaguars each went for a loss of five yards. Jones finished the race with four yards in 10 rushing attempts. In the preseason, he crashed only 28 yards to 28 yards, a 0.8-yard average, with a touchdown.
Jones was the longest known in the preseason for his explosive runs and was five yards.
The lack of production has raised some flags. Then you watch the video of the games and realize that Jones had no chance to do anything with football because the defenders were released by missed tasks.
"Ronald Jones had three straight runs in the first half, and we had a mental error from the blockers in front," said coach Dirk Koetter, "then the fourth is the one we hit on our 1
By contrast, Peyton had Barber an excellent preseason, racing 15 times for 87 yards and two touchdowns. But Barber has two seasons in his pocket and a better understanding of Koetter's attack. Jones, 21, was the fifth runningback in the 2018 draft behind the Saquon Barkley of the Giants (2nd overall), the Seahawks Rashaad Penny (27), the Patriots Sony Michel (31) and the Browns Nick Chubb, the Se's third choice was Cond Round (35).
Only Barkley has flashed, but 39 of his 43 yards came wearing on his first NFL. He injured his Achilles tendon and finished with only five rushing attempts. Penny had eight trages for 16 yards, with a long of seven. Michel injured his knee and was in no hurry. And Chubb wore 45 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns (average 3.11).
The Bucs had a number of injuries on the offensive line, and Jones rarely could run behind this first unit. When he came into play, not many NFL caliber players were in front of him.
"Again, if you have bad running games, it's rarely the fault of one," Koetter said. "I know From Ronald's point of view, it's not the lack of effort or not knowing what he's doing."
The other thing about the running back position is that good runners get better with reps. The preseason does not allow a large workload during a game.
"All the big ones want the ball," said Koetter.
That's not to say that Jones did not fight. Passport protection is the biggest hurdle for young running backs. Jones has also just caught 32 passes in three seasons at USC. While his hands are sufficient, he has a lot to do in this area and on his running tracks.
"Ronald does good things in practice," Koetter said. "We are happy where he is, I am not happy to do nothing with him, but as we blocked him for him and, coaching wise, we did not do a good job to get him into space. "
BUCS CUTS: The team released RB Devine Redding, WR Donteea Dye, S Josh Liddell, QB Austin Allen, TE Matt Weiser and DT Adam Reth.