DNR in hand
The high hopes that came with Ronald Jones out of USC when he arrived in Tampa via the second round of the 2018 draft, were as fleeting as the warm feelings Jon Gruden once had for Keyshawn Johnson (also of USC), and errrrr, Antonio Brown. Sorry, I just couldn’t pass that up, but I digress. Whether it was the former Evil Empire coaching staff, pro game shell shock, inner demons, or some form of fatal elixir derived from the three, we probably will never know. But, his game and career were on life support, with a signed DNR in hand.
A funny thing happened though on the way to the morgue. Bruce Almighty Arians was driving the red and pewter Hearse that day, and smoked the tires doing a U-turn back to One Buc. The reviews of the patient’s status all during camp and preseason have been nothing but encouraging, bordering on impressive. When the smoke cleared, and the bell rang on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Ronald Jones came out swinging for the fences. Piling up 75 yards on 13 carries, for a 5.7 yard average on the ground. He also had one pass reception of 18 yards. Ronald was definitely the one marshmallow charm floating in a bowl of oats Sunday afternoon.
Another skill position hit
Outplaying Peyton Barber, Jones hit the holes harder, and faster. The speed was on display for all to see. It’s pretty easy to imagine Jones having some huge plays for this offense this season. Jones is the kind of player that it doesn’t take much of a mistake by a defender for him to turn it upfield and head it to the house. He declared himself to be everything they thought he would be, and more when he was drafted last year. Bruce Arians had this to say about Jones in his post-game interview.
“I don’t know if it could’ve gotten any hotter unless he would have run through the last one and scored a couple times, but he was very decisive and there were a lot of holes for him to be decisive in. He was running through arm tackles and that’s exactly what I expected out of him.”
Wrapping it up
I don’t know how long it will take for Jones to take Barber’s starting gig, but I know this, It’s going to happen. I’m not playing favorites, just going with the obvious. Jones is just a different player, a more special talent. He’s a threat for a big play every time he touches the ball. With Arians good name on the line in this turnaround bid, you can bet your sweet eye-patch that the players that are the most dangerous are going to be on the field the most. Bravo to the staff, and Ronald himself for seemingly turning his rookie year fortunes into his sophomoric breakout. Hats off to the lone skill-position bright spot on the offense in game one. Let’s hope the Bucs put this loss in the rearview and forge ahead with optimism into week 2. Go Bucs!!