Will Jones start?
According to Coach Bruce Almighty Arians, that’s a No. During his press conference Monday, a day after the big win, he had this to say about the running back situation.
“I like where we’re at. Peyton had a big game, and when RoJo gets going, he’ll stay in there.”
“When you get the hot hand – and he had the hot hand. He was making people miss. Peyto had it in Carolina, so it’s a good problem to have two guys, and both did a great job of scoring in the red zone.”
Jones has far better tools to work with
Expect it to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Barber will come in and start, play while he is effective, and then give way to Jones. I like both backs, I think they both serve a purpose and have a role. I do believe that eventually, Jones will be the main guy, as Jones is going to be having the hot hand quite often. To me, there is no doubting that Jones is the more effective back. He’s a lot faster, a lot shiftier, a guy that it’s hard to get a good grip on, and even though Barber is the bigger guy, more of a deliberate, plodding type runner compared to Jones. Jones has looked pretty good when being banged on in close quarters, so to me it’s not an issue. Throughout the season, you are going to see a noticeable separation in their rushing/receiving yardage numbers. I’m not predicting when, but I feel that eventually, Jones will be the main guy, and Barber the change of pace guy. Most may not realize that both backs are listed at 5’11”, and only about 15-17 pounds separate them. So it’s not as if Barber is really much bigger.
Barber, the steady, durable back
Arians was also not pleased with the ref’s job in Jones’ two long runs that were called back on penalty Sunday. If you add that yardage onto what Jones finished with, I think you will begin to see the separation in stats that I’m speaking of. If he stays healthy, fans are in line to be highly impressed again, and again by Jones. You just don’t get that from Barber. While Peyton is effective and durable, he’s not even close to being on the same level as Jones is as a difference-maker. Just the two runs that were called back are probably longer or close to the longest runs Barber has ever had in Tampa. That will eventually lead to him being the #1 guy at some point. I just don’t see it ending up any other way. But, for now, it’s working out just fine, and I’m glad we have both guys. Go Bucs!!