Buccaneers Break Silence on Running Back Trade Rumors

Bruce Arians

Getty The Buccaneers face a difficult decision.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have no plans to trade running back Ronald Jones, at least according to head coach Bruce Arians. Jones has been a popular name in hypothetical trade proposals given Leonard Fournette has a stronghold on the starting spot, but Arians is still bullish on Jones. When asked about a potential trade, Arians admitted he expects the team will need the running back during the season.

“No, not at all, I mean, it’s a long season and just that scenario that happened last year,” Arians responded to the trade rumors during his October 20 press conference. “Still with COVID, you can’t have enough good players.”

Jones has had a diminished role with the Bucs so far this season illustrated by his snap count only eclipsing 20% in one game this season. Not only has Fournette’s recent play kept Jones off the field, but Gio Bernard has been utilized in passing down situations leading to fewer snaps for Jones.

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Arians Called out Jones for His Poor Blocking

Both Jones and Bernard have been in Arians’ doghouse for poor pass protection. Arians called out Jones in September, and it does not look like the running back has earned back the team’s trust.

“Yeah, it speaks for itself. ‘Ro’, that’s his guy,” Arians said after the Buccaneers’ September 19 win over the Falcons, per USA Today. “He’s got to get out of those types of situations. I thought he ran hard and protected the ball but, again, you can’t have those mental errors.”

“This is his third year, man. It shouldn’t be a problem and at times it is. It’s just attention to detail, like missing that blitz. He is a great runner. [He] caught the ball well. I would have liked to have seen him run for the first down. His mind is fine, it’s just his play isn’t as good as it should be.”

Brady on Fournette: ‘When He’s Rolling, It’s Tough to Stop Us’

Tom Brady has been a big fan of Fournette’s play in recent weeks. The Buccaneers star quarterback admitted that the offense is nearly unstoppable when Fournette gets going.

“He’s a great back, he’s big, tough catches it, runs, blocks, does everything for us,” Brady explained during his October 15 press conference. “So, great to have him in there. Obviously, when he’s rolling, it’s tough to just tough to stop us.”

It will be interesting to see if the Buccaneers make a move at the trade deadline and improving their secondary is one of the potential options given the rash of recent injuries. Jones may not be traded, but Arians has expressed a lot of confidence in Fournette’s evolution as a complete running back.

“Yeah Lenny’s, you know, he’s he’s playing outstanding,” Arians noted on October 10. “He’s always had great hands. He’s taking it on himself to concentrate better in the passing game and sees how much of a threat he can be in the passing game, pass protection, same thing. So, he’s become an all-around really, really solid back and that was [why] he was drafted that high, and he’s playing to that level.”

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