Overall, the Bucs had to be pretty happy with a season-opening win, but there’s plenty to clean up. Tampa Bay turned the ball over four times and had only 46 yards rushing combined by Jones and Leonard Fournette. Jones in particular carried the ball only four times. There’s a reason why.
On his sixth offensive snap of the game, Jones coughed the ball up and the Cowboys defense recovered. He didn’t see another snap all game. Was that Bruce Arians‘ decision or did Jones keep himself out of the game?
Arians told reporters on Thursday night that Jones couldn’t move on from his costly fumble. It proved to be a major mental hurdle for the fifth-year running back.
“He struggled mentally to get over it,” Arians said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
"He struggled mentally to get over it,'' Bruce Arians said of Ronald Jones, who did not get any reps after his fumble.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) September 10, 2021
Ronald Jones is immensely talented and provides a significant boost to the Buccaneers offense. But if he can’t stay on the field after a fumble, Tampa Bay may just have to turn to Leonard Fournette.
Jones is on the final year of his rookie contract. The Bucs like what they have in both Fournette and Giovanni Bernard. If Jones continues his poor play in coming weeks, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bucs move forward.
Jones and the Buccaneers get back to work a week from this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.