TAMPA — Despite the addition of Leonard Fournette to their growing stable of running backs, Bruce Arians said that third-year back Ronald Jones still remained the team’s starter.
“We’ll see what role happens and how fast it can happen but RoJo is our guy,” Arians said Thursday.
Fournette is expected to officially join the Bucs over the next few days as he completed COVID-19 protocols, joining a running back room that includes Jones, veteran LeSean McCoy, third-down back Dare Ogunbowale and rookies Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Raymond Calais.
“That’s one position where I don’t think you can have enough good guys,” Arians said. “That’s the one area where nicks and bruises really add up and when you can get a player of that caliber. And I got great reviews from people that know him and have coached him. He’ll fit right in.”
Last season, Jones earned the starting role from Peyton Barber in Week 8. Coaches and teammates praise his growth as a runner and pass catcher, but Arians has been quick to bench Jones when he has struggled with pass protection.
He entered the preseason as the team’s projected starter, but since then the team has signed two veterans in McCoy and Fournette.
Arians said he was open to carrying five running backs if one is a key special teams player. Ogunbowale is a major contributor on special teams, and was even the special teams captain last season. Both Vaughn and Calais have been practicing on special teams as well.
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