Arians says Jones still the starter in Bucs' backfield

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians reiterated Thursday that Ronald Jones is still the starter in the team’s ever-crowded backfield despite the signing of Leonard Fournette. Arians said 32- year-old LeSean McCoy, who has rushed for 11,071 yards in 11 NFL seasons, “is ready for his role” after signing with the team in August. Tampa Bay also drafted two running…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians reiterated Thursday that Ronald Jones

is still the starter in the team’s ever-crowded backfield despite the signing

of Leonard Fournette.

Arians said last month that Jones would “carry the load” for the team thisseason, and that was before the arrival of Fournette, whom the Bucs signedWednesday.

“It’s his job. Nothing’s changed for him,” Arians said of Jones. “We’ve justadded a heck of a piece of insurance and [we’ll] see what kind of role he cancut out,” Arians said. “But RoJo — it’s his job if he wins it or loses it.He’s already got it, so he’s gonna have to screw it up. I don’t see thathappening.”

Arians said 32-year-old LeSean McCoy, who has rushed for 11,071 yards in 11NFL seasons, “is ready for his role” after signing with the team in August.

Tampa Bay also drafted two running backs (Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Raymond Calais)in April. The roster also includes Dare Ogunbowale, who caught 35 passes for286 yards out of the Bucs’ backfield in 2019.

Jones, who turned 23 last month, led the Bucs in carries (172) and rushingyards (724) and tied for the team lead with six rushing touchdowns in 2019. Headded 31 catches for 309 yards in 16 games.

Fournette is expected to practice with the team Tuesday, at the earliest,after completing his physical and COVID-19 testing protocol. Arians saidFournette could possibly play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1.

“If I know him, he’ll be pretty fast-paced,” Arians said. “So we’ll try to gethim up to speed as fast as we can and see if he can have a role for nextweek.”

Fournette was placed on waivers Monday after the Jacksonville Jaguars failedto trade the No. 4 overall pick from the 2017 draft. Fournette, who wasentering the final year of his contract, cleared waivers and became a freeagent Tuesday afternoon.

ESPN reported Fournette, 25, filed a grievance against the Jaguars to recouphis $4.17 million base salary.

He had 2,631 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in three seasons with theJaguars. Last year, Fournette amassed 1,152 rushing yards and three touchdownson 265 carries in 15 games for Jacksonville. He added a career-high 76receptions for 522 yards.

–Field Level Media

ANA NEWS WIRE Disclaimer:
The African News Agency (ANA) is a news wire service and therefore subscribes to the highest standards of journalism as it relates to accuracy, fairness and impartiality.
ANA strives to provide accurate, well sourced and reliable information across Text, Images and Video. Where errors do appear, ANA will seek to correct these timeously and transparently.
The ANA platform also contains news and information from third party sources. ANA has sought to procure reliable content from trusted news sources but cannot be held responsible for the accuracy and opinions provided by such sources on the ANA platform or linked sites.
The content provided for on the ANA News Wire platform, both through the ANA news operation and via its third party sources, are for the sole use of authorised subscribers and partners. Unauthorised access to and usage of ANA content will be subject to legal steps. ANA reserves its rights in this regard.
ANA makes every effort to ensure that the website is up and running smoothly at all times, however ANA does not take responsibility for, and will not be held liable for times when the website is temporarily unavailable due to technical issues that are beyond our control.