Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters that running back Ronald Jones II will remain the team’s starter even amidst his struggles, according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com. Jones was benched during Week 13 for missing a blitz pickup and was replaced by Peyton Barber.
A second round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jones spent all of his rookie season buried on the Bucs depth chart behind Barber-who started all 16 games last season. However, in a more prominent backup role this season, Jones clearly outperformed Barber and has been the team’s starter since Week 9. Jones has yet to translate his early season success, when he averaged 4.24 yards per carry, to the starting lineup, averaging just 3.29 yards per carry since. His struggles in pass protection though, seemed to be the final straw.
Barber and Jones have received a nearly identical number of carries this season (125 for Jones and 122 for Barber), but Tampa has remained committed to playing the hot hand regardless of who was in the team’s starting lineup. Still, at least for now, Jones remains the top running back on the Buccaneers depth chart.