TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones played just six snaps in Thursday’s 31-29 season-opener win against the Dallas Cowboys.
After he fumbled away a second-quarter turnover, Jones was in Bruce Arians’ doghouse and never saw the field again. However, the coaching staff has not lost faith in the fourth-year running back.
“RoJo was ready,” Arians said. “We started throwing the ball a bunch more. He’s starting this week. He is ready to roll.”
“We’ll continue getting Ro the ball and let Ro be Ro,” offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich added. “Ro is real special running the ball and unique. We understand that, we understand the talent that he has.”
Turnovers became a theme for Tampa Bay against Dallas. Turning the ball over four times and committing 11 penalties for 106 yards — that’s pretty much a death sentence in the NFL. But the Bucs found a way to overcome their mistakes.
“We went out there and didn’t do what we wanted to do from a penalty and turnover standpoint,” Leftwich said. “It’s something for us to work on, get better. The good thing I do like though it to be in those situations and find ways to win football games.”
The Bucs now have to find a way to win games without cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who dislocated his elbow Thursday and was placed on short-term injured reserve.
“Right now it could be anywhere from four [weeks] to the end of the season,” Arians said. “We’re still looking at some MRI stuff and a second opinion on what has to be done if anything.”
The Bucs could get some help. Strong safety Jordan Whitehead, who missed the opener, is expected to practice Wednesday and could play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.