Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ex-Gator Matt Jones makes a splash in NFL

Former Armwood and Gators running back Matt Jones has already packed a season's worth of ups and downs into his first six weeks in the NFL.

As the rookie prepares for his Redskins to play host to his hometown Bucs, Jones looks to have recovered from a toe injury that sidelined him last week. He'll also have to show he can hold onto the football after losing two of the team's three fumbles this season.

"He's put a couple balls on the ground, but he runs hard, and he's a physical runner," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of the 6-foot-1, 231-pound back. "He's a great complement to (starter) Alfred (Morris). When we're at our best, those two guys are getting their touches."

Jones, a seventh-round draft pick, made a big splash in a Week 2 win against the Rams, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns. In three games since, he has mustered only 69 yards on 29 carries, good for an average of 2.4 yards per carry.

Morris, too, has struggled, rushing for just 36 yards on 19 carries in the last two weeks, but getting tackle Trent Williams back from a concussion should help the Redskins' ground game. The Bucs already have a respect for Jones and the challenge of stopping him once he gets momentum.

"He's coming downhill, so you better bring it when he's got the ball in his hands," Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.

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