For whatever reason, it’s been the Lenny show all season long. Even with games well in hand, it’s been tough for Ronald Jones II to find playing time. For this writer, that is hard to explain. Jones set an all-time franchise record for yards per carry last season. He also tied for the second-longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. Jones also had to prove himself and win the competition for the starting position last season, which he did. Then at the season’s end, Covid-19 protocols and a hand injury kept Jones off the field. Enter: Playoff/Lombardi Lenny, a nickname he earned after the Buccaneers dominated the postseason. Fournette stepped in and performed like a true star during that span and deserved all the praise that was showered upon him.
The Fournette Show.
Fast forward to 2021: This season started like last season never ended, with Fournette as the lead back. Few could argue that Fournette hasn’t risen to the challenge. At the time of his injury this past week, Lenny has led the NFL in receptions by a running back. He also surpassed the century mark in rushing two out of his last four outings. Just a few days ago, on Sunday Night Football against their hated division rival Saints, Fournette went down with a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for a couple of games. He should be ready to go come playoff time. We all wish him a speedy recovery. I truly hated to see Fournette, as well as Godwin and David, go down with injuries like they did in Sunday night’s contest. Especially since the hit Godwin took certainly looked like an intentional cheap shot. Let it never be forgotten that Saints defensive coordinator, at the time, Greg Williams was behind a bounty system to injure certain opposing players. Head coach Sean Payton knew of the scheme and tried to cover it up. It was that same season that the Saints won the Super-Bowl.
Ronald Jones II get’s his shot.
Now is going to be the only shot Jones will have to prove that he should have been the starter all along. I’m not going to lie about it and say he’s a great blocker or a great receiver; I will, however, state that in my opinion Jones is by far the best true runner we have on the roster. He’s explosive and dangerous to opposing defenses. When he’s on his game, he must be accounted for as a runner, or he can hurt you quickly. Being that Jones’s contract is up this season, It will do him good to have some time to show his skills without Fournette stealing touches. You can almost put money on the fact that this is Jones’s last season in Tampa. There are a huge amount of stars contracts expiring after this season for the Bucs, and there will be some that the door gets closed on. Judging from the way they have handled Jones this season, it’s hard to believe he is a player they will want to keep in Tampa. My belief is that if he goes to a team that the running game is important, he will truly shine. In my opinion, he’s the best running back the Bucs have had in a very long time. It’s frustrating that he’s never really gotten the chance here to fully blossom. When Tom Brady is your quarterback, the running game is going to take a hit; that’s just reality. Hang on tight to that football, Mr. Jones; this is your chance to prove to so many doubters that you are the real deal and should have been more involved in the offense this season. So best of Christmas wishes to Ronald Jones and the rest of the Bucs players and fans. I hope it is a great one for all. Go Bucs!!