Being a fan of the Buccaneers, I know it’s going to be hard, but try to imagine having a running back who was able to amass more than 7,500 rushing yards with over 60 rushing touchdowns. Now take it even further, and imagine that same quarterback being named to 3 Pro Bowls, being named 3 times as a 1st team All-Pro, twice being named the Offensive Player of the Year, beating out all other players to be named the NFL MVP, and then go on to be named the Super Bowl MVP, all on their way to getting inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. While it may seem a little difficult to imagine, it became reality for the Denver Broncos, as they had that very player in their backfield, Terrell Davis.
No, I’m not advocating that Terrell Davis come out of retirement and sign with the Buccaneers, but I am highlighting that the man knows how to run the ball, and he knows what it takes to be successful as a running back in this league. It’s easy for some, to dismiss someone like Mel Kiper Jr., when he critiques a player since he never played in the NFL, but when someone with the accomplishments of Terrell Davis gives their opinion or take on a player, it’s not so easy to dismiss what they’re saying. They’ve been there and done that, and they know what it’ll take for someone else to do it, which is why it might come as a shock to some, but when it comes to Ronald Jones II, Terrell expects to see big things from him.
It’s the same song I’ve been singing since the kid was drafted, and it’s the same song that Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has been singing since he saw first hand what RoJo can do, but now we can add Terrell Davis to the chorus of those singing the praises of this talented player from Fort Stewart, Georgia, as he had the following to say about RoJo via NFL.com.
“Jones’ rookie campaign was a disappointing one, as he was a healthy scratch for the first three games of last season and then was sidelined with a hamstring injury later on. Thankfully, it’s a new season. Bucs running backs coach Todd McNair said during minicamp earlier this month that Jones looks more like the player the Bucs took in the second round than the one on the field last fall. This is an encouraging report heading into next month’s training camp. He’s talented, explosive and is going to get his opportunities to win the starting job over Peyton Barber. If he performs to his ability, Jones could lock up the RB1 gig before too long. Jones and the ground game should also benefit from Jameis Winston’s development under first-year Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. And let’s not forget what David Johnson did under Arians’ direction as well.”
If those who have scouted him, coached him, followed him, analyzed him, and already been where he’s heading are all saying the same thing, then surely it’s not just wishful thinking or a mere coincidence. People are quick to dismiss what he did last year and call him a bust, but in reality, his season was simply a disappointment. It wasn’t even that his performance was disappointing, but rather the coaching staff was so inept and unprepared, that they didn’t have the ability to use him. They weren’t able to teach him, they weren’t able to get the line to open holes for him, they weren’t able to create a game plan that would utilize his talent, and they weren’t even able to figure out a way to run in the red zone.
When someone with the accolades of Terrell Davis is telling you to look for him to lock up the starting spot over Peyton Barber, then perhaps you should be looking for that very thing to happen. If it does, the only people that will be surprised, are those that haven’t been paying attention to what Jones is capable of. The rest of us already know how good he is, and we already know how important a running game will be to not only helping the Buccaneers win, but in taking away some of the pressure from Jameis.
Reconciling what we know he’s capable of and actually doing it on the field are two different things, but being a betting man, I’m betting on RoJo and Terrell Davis, and looking for that Vegas book that doubts his breaking 1,000 yards this season.