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Buccaneers Top Storylines In 2019 Training Camp: Running Back Battle

What to make of the Buccaneers’ backfield heading into training camp

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians has been vocal, to say the least, in his support and admiration of Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber. Ronald Jones has amassed an extra fifteen pounds of muscle. Andre Ellington has come in as a veteran presence. Bruce Anderson is an undrafted free agent being compared to David Johnson.

What does it all mean?

What it means is we are in for some epic battles in training camp. Don’t get it confused - this is Peyton Barber’s job to lose. However, Jones has a lot to prove after a massively disappointing rookie season.

In 2018, Jacquizz Rodgers accounted for 33 carries and 38 receptions on 367 snaps. That means Quizz was in on 32.91% of the offensive snaps. Those snaps, those carries and receptions have to go to someone.

Jones will be on a mission to prove he isn’t a “bust” while a veteran like Ellington will be out to prove his worth and Anderson will be fighting like hell to earn a roster spot. At this point, Arians, Byron Leftwich, and Tim Spencer will be looking for someone to assert themselves as the player worth utilizing on a third of the offensive plays.

Odds are, Jones will win out the competition if he shows he’s still even remotely close to what he was at USC. If he can recapture that explosiveness and two step burst once he gets some room to run, Jones can escalate the offense to another level. But don’t count out Ellington.

Ellington was signed for a reason. His familiarity with Arians’ offense will give him a slight advantage over the other running backs in camp. They’ll have to play catch-up on the scheme, terminology, as well as out-perform Ellington to assert themselves as more valuable come the regular season.

This is likely going to be one of the toughest, tightest battles in all of camp and one that will garner the attention of the Bucs fanbase.