Every skill position player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster has a tremendous opportunity to put up big numbers this season with Tom Brady running the offense, and running back Ronald Jones is apparently one player who is poised to take advantage of the situation.
Jones, whom the Buccaneers selected with the 38th overall pick in the draft two years ago, has drawn rave reviews for the work he has put in with Brady this summer. He’s focused on improving as a pass catcher, and head coach Bruce Arians told reporters this week that Jones has already seized the top spot in the backfield.
“RoJo is the main guy,” Arians said of Jones. “He’ll carry the load. All of those other guys are fighting for roles, (for) who goes in second when he gets tired, maybe who is the third-down guy.” https://t.co/jxuIEl9PCZ
Jones caught 32 passes total in three seasons at USC, but he showed improvement in that department last year. He led the Bucs in rushing with 724 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 31 passes. Jones could double that number in 2020 if he earns Brady’s trust, and he recently spoke about how he is trying to do just that.
In addition to getting pointers from Brady, Jones has also worked with a trainer during the offseason to improve his catching fundamentals. He said he fell into a bad habit of letting the ball hit his body instead of extending his arms, which is something he has worked on.
Tampa Bay is probably going to play a lot faster on offense this season than some of their key players are accustomed to. Judging by some recent comments Arians made, it sounds like Brady has adjusted to the new system more quickly than expected. Jones could be in for a breakout year if he continues to work hard enough.
Seeing a team go from worst-to-first has become the norm in the NFL, and 2020 is not likely to see that change. There will be many top teams that sink to the bottom while others rise up and surprise the football world.
We’re not here to predict which team will go from worst-to-first, but we are here to examine five teams that could surprise in one form or fashion here in 2020.
Let’s take a look:
5. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons started off 1-7 in 2019 and things looked grim. However, they rebounded to close out the season by winning six of their final eight games to give them a 7-9 record for the second consecutive season. The turnaround was enough to save some jobs and give the current regime one more chance in 2020. They’ve since added running back Todd Gurley via free agency and selected Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell in the 2020 NFL Draft, essentially improving on both sides of the ball. With quarterback Matt Ryan still under center and some young building blocks spread out across the roster, we’re more likely to see the Falcons team that went 6-2 to close out last season than we are to see the Falcons team that went 1-7 to open last season.
The 29-year-old Miller hasn’t played since 2018, when he tore his ACL late in the season while playing for the Houston Texans. He’s twice eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in a season during his career, once with the Texans and once with the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots’ top running back is Sony Michel, who underwent foot surgery in May and could miss the start of the season. Miller is a nice insurance policy to have in case that does happen.
Colquitt’s father, Craig Colquitt, was a former NFL punter. His brother Dustin is also a punter and currently a free agent, but you may remember him from his infamous blunder in the Super Bowl earlier this year. Given his family tree, you can understand why Britton is so passionate about his craft.
Alvin Kamara remained productive for the New Orleans Saints last year despite not erupting the way many expected him to in his third NFL season, and the star running back had a pretty good reason for not shattering any records.
While speaking with the media on Monday, Kamara revealed that he played through a significant knee injury for the majority of last season. The 25-year-old said he “tore up my knee” in Week 6.
#Saints RB Alvin Kamara told reporters that he suffered a knee injury last season in Week 6 and had to deal with it the whole year. "I tore up my knee basically," Kamara said. The injury didn't require offseason surgery, just a lot of rehab. He says he's fully healthy now.
It’s possible Kamara had a torn meniscus, which is an injury players have played through in the past. Fortunately, he did have to undergo surgery and says he is back to full strength.
Kamara still managed to amass more than 1,300 yards from scrimmage in 2019 and make his third straight Pro Bowl, but that was actually a down year for the standards he has established. He made reference earlier this offseason to how he played on “one leg” last year and issued a warning to the rest of the NFL. If Kamara stays healthy this season, expect big things.
Derrius Guice was released by the Washington Football Team on Friday following a domestic violence arrest, and we now know some of the disturbing details from the alleged incident.
Guice’s girlfriend told police that the running back choked her until she was unconscious, according to court documents obtained by TMZ. The victim says Guice was next to her crying and tapping her when she regained consciousness. That was one of three alleged incidents that took place between Feb. 14 and April 17.
In the Feb. 14 incident, Guice’s girlfriend says she popped a blood vessel after Guice “pushed her to the ground in his bedroom bathroom, causing injury to her left thumbnail where she caught her fall.” The woman says the choking took place on March 13 and that Guice physically assaulted her multiple times that day. Then, on April 17, the woman says Guice pushed her to the ground outside his home in Virginia and she took photographs of her injuries. She also said Guice threw her cell phone in the street and caused it to shatter.
Guice is facing five charges in total, including assault and battery, felony strangulation and destruction of property. The felony strangulation charge alone carries a penalty of up to five years in prison if Guice is convicted.
The 23-year-old entered the league as a second-round draft pick in 2018, but he only appeared in five games for Washington. Guice suffered a torn ACL in his first preseason game, costing him the entire 2018 season. His 2019 was shortened by both the MCL sprain and a torn meniscus that cost him most of the first half of the year.
Even if there is no college football this fall, it sounds likely that viewers will still have the opportunity to hear the voices of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit in some capacity.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN’s plan is to use Fowler and Herbstreit as the broadcast team if the NFL moves some games to Saturday following college football’s cancellation. The network is already planning to use the pair to call the first game of the season-opening “Monday Night Football” telecast between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Marchand notes that ESPN has no plans to change course on its new primary “MNF” team consisting of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick, even though that team has not yet been publicly confirmed.
By all accounts, the Fowler-Herbstreit pairing received serious consideration to be moved to the Monday night NFL job before ESPN opted to go in a different direction. If there is no college football and the NFL opts to move some games to Saturdays as a result, using Fowler and Herbstreit for those NFL games just makes sense since they’d have no other commentary responsibilities this year.