The hits just keep on coming. Ronald Jones was already a long shot to play on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons and now those odds got even longer. The Buccaneers’ lead back - and the fourth leading rusher in the NFL - was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, joining fellow teammates Bradley Pinion, Ryan Succop, and Zach Triner.
The #Bucs have placed RB Ronald Jones, who was already in doubt for Sunday due to finger surgery, on the COVID-19 reserve list.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 16, 2020
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean any of them have the virus but may have come in contact with someone who does.
For the Bucs, that means that they’ll roll with a running back stable of Leonard Fournette - who was a healthy scratch on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings - LeSean McCoy, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Out of those three, Fournette is the leading rusher in 2020 with 271 yards and three touchdowns on 69 rushing attempts.
There has been some frustration among Bucs fans regarding the usage of Fournette throughout the year, often taking valuable snaps away from RoJo who is running extremely well when utilized. Fournette’s 3.9 yards per carry isn’t turning any heads but if he is the feature back on Sunday we may see him return to form rather than being used as part of a time share.
Unfortunately, his pass catching leaves a lot to be desired and that is something Bruce Arians needs out of his backs. Though RoJo hasn’t garnered much opportunity in that category, he’s been far and away better than Fournette this season.
More information is sure to come in the next few days regarding RoJo and the rest of the Bucs on the COVID list, but heading into a divisional match-up without your star running back and special teams specialists - all while fighting for a playoff berth - is not exactly what you would call an ideal situation. Though, there is enough time for the specialists to have the necessary negative tests to be deemed eligible to play on Sunday.
Then again, we may just see “no risk it, no biscuit” in full force when the Bucs have to go for it on every fourth down with no kickers in the game.