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  • NFL Team
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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    Orlando Magic
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    UCF Knights, Miami Hurricanes
  1. The HYPE Thread

    We had a hundred things that went wrong last night and should have lead to us being blown out and give up and not fight back but somehow we did - we made it a game with a chance to win It might be cliche to say, but we were one play away from winning that game If Godwin holds onto one of the TD passes he dropped, its a different game If Dotson picks up the free rusher in the redzone and Fitz doesnt throw that INT, its a different game If DeSean's punt return isn't called back, thats more time on the clock and its a different game If Beau or Vea are playing, those lanes in the middle aren't open on that final drive and we have another chance If Whitehead was starting over Conte as he should for the rest of the season, we don't make Vance McDonald look like Gronk on a roid rage You could go on and on but 'ifs' are worthless the next day We saw Fitzpatrick fight back after maybe the worst half of football in his life We saw his team rally around him and never give up We saw our defensive line fight like we haven't seen them fight in years, despite the holding calls Jason Pierre-Paul was the MVP of the game for me. He looked about as good as I've ever seen him play.. 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 4 QB hits, a handful of pressures and some run stops. That performance was something we haven't seen for a long long time from the edge spot. Jordan Whitehead looked good. He's going to be a player and an immediate upgrade over Conte if the coaches will just give up on him already. Justin Evans and that interception.. thats the type of playmaking we need. After that FR for a TD in the Saints' game, this seems more like a trend then a fluke with him being around the ball. Godwin, Evans and DeSean all with 3 TDs on the season now through 3 games.. there's only 12 players in the league right now with 3 TDs so far and we have 1/4 of them - pretty amazing It's a hard loss to accept because we could have easily been 3-0.. but if you think about it we could've easily lost 51-13 too if this team didn't fight back We'll take the first loss and bounce back strong and angry against Chicago next week.. THE HYPE IS STILL ALIVE
  2. The HYPE Thread

    Patrick Mahomes set the record for most TDs in the first three games of the season with 13 Congrats on having the record for one day before Fitzmagic shatters the record along with Steeler's nations hearts tonight
  3. Who to Start/Sit Thread: Help Us, Help You

    Have to choose between these options for two flex spots Full PPR Lamar Miller vs the Giants Jordan Howard vs the Cardinals Keenan Allen vs the Rams Phillip Lindsay vs the Ravens Kenny Golladay vs the Patriots Scared of the Rams D, so skittish on Keenan.. Lindsay and Golladay are the smaller names but have been coming up big the first two weeks
  4. Much of the offseason was focused on improving our defensive line on all fronts.. we brought in new starters at 3 of the 4 positions, we signed vets to improve depth, we invested our first pick in Vea, and we hired one of the most respected defensive line coaches in the league. All for good reason too. Last year, our defense was torched and one of the main reasons was we couldn't generate pressure. We ranked 29th with only 74 QB hits all year (Eagles lead the league with 115 for comparison). We ranked dead last with only 22 sacks (Steelers lead the league with 56 for comparison). We ranked dead last with only 71 tackles for loss all year. It's a bit early to make any conclusions so far, but after the first couple of games going up against two of the top offensive lines in football, I am encouraged. Our 17 QB Hits is third in the league and would put us on pace to eclipse the Eagles total from last year. To add to this to put in perspective the talent added around McCoy.. after the first two games this year, we've had 3 players (excluding Gerald) with multiple QB hits in a single game. It wasn't until Week 10 last year that we had 3 players not named McCoy with multiple QB hits in a game. Our 4 sacks is not eye popping, but as mentioned earlier this was going up against two of the top offensive lines. It wouldn't surprise me if we nearly doubled last years total by the end of the year. In case you forgot how historically bad we were last year.. we only had ONE SACK going into week 5. Kwon seems revitalized and is benefiting from the improved line too. He already has 4 TFL, compared to 7.5 TFL all of last year over 12 games. He's already eclipsed his sack and FF totals (0 sacks and 1 FF vs 1 sack and 2 FF). Look for this trend to continue - his fast and aggressive play style works so much better when the dline occupies blockers and gives him room to roam free. All in all, it is early in the season and our defense has still given up plenty of yards/points.. but in my opinion we are trending in the right direction. Give this group some time to get key pieces healthy (Grimes, Beckwith, Vea, Unrein) and get some chemistry, and we could be looking at a completely different team.
  5. The HYPE Thread

    Brent Grimes AND Vita Vea back at practice today! Both are going to be huge additions to our starting lineup.. get Grimes back on team's #1s and our other CBs wont feel as much pressure. Get Vea in the middle of our new d-line and see how this group plays together at full strength. Every guy down there is going to command attention and we should keep building on all those QB hits we put on Foles last week.
  6. The HYPE Thread

    A little defensive HYPE PFF (I know, I know) had two players from our SECONDARY on their team of the week.. Ryan Smith with a grade of 88.6 and Justin Evans with a grade of 88.9! Once Grimes gets back and we have Carlton, MJ, and a new and improved Smith covering teams 2s and 3s we should be looking a lot better. That Evans and Whitehead combo was looking nice too..
  7. 🏈 Week 3: Steelers (0-1-1) @ Bucs (2-0)

    Precedence would say this is going to be a shootout with the way these offenses and defenses have been playing, and right now I like our chances at winning in a shootout The Steelers had a hell of a time covering perhaps the only receiving core that's on par with our unit.. Kelce (109 yards, 2 TDs), Watkins (100 yards), and Tyreek (90 yards, 1 TD) last week and it doesn't get any easier this week for them.. I can see OJ having his best game of the season while Pittsburgh focuses on covering DeSean deep. Mike Evans should feast, and if they want to double him I could see Godwin breaking out with some more targets. The difference I think is going to be who wins the turnover battle and gets more possessions in result.. that Justin Evans TD really made the difference in the Saints game and we need another big play like that this week. Their o-line struggled the first game but did better against the Chiefs.. the results were night and day, with Ben getting sacked 4 times the first game and throwing 3 picks vs him only getting sacked once and throwing no interceptions last week. Big test for our new look line to see if we can get consistent pressure and change the game. I'd love for this game to be RoJo's debut.. with the focus on our passing game he should see some lanes and have a chance to prove himself finally. I'm still waiting to see him fly down the field on a wheel route like he did in preseason too.
  8. The HYPE Thread

    DID YOU GUYS SEE THAT? Grimes out, VHIII out, screw it we'll go with the rooks. A couple flukey TOs that'd normally kill us? Even MORE injuries to the secondary? We STILL came out with the title belt. Have we talked about DeSean Jackson? The NFL's leading in receiving yards? Or Jason Pierre-Paul, the man who racked up a sack, 4 QB hits, TFL, run stops, emotional wreckage of Nick Foles? How many times did we see Foles in the grass today? I don't think we've got to a QB like that since Jameis had to pay for crab legs. Was that Kwon Alexander living in the backfield with three tackles for loss and the sack+forced fumble combo? Did you see our guys swarming in for group tackles, never letting up? Fitzmagic with 9 TDs on the season, and who's he going up against next? A team that is the only team that couldn't beat the Browns since 2015.. a team that just gave up 6 TDs to a 22 year old kid. Whats that mean for us next week?! I can't do the math but I'm sure Fitz can.
  9. The HYPE Thread

    I know we have the game thread for real discussion and all, but I don't know about yall but sometimes I let my homerism get the best of me and think a little less than rational.. sometimes those thoughts come true (see: last weekend) so maybe we can talk some more greatness into reality. Let's start out with the NFL's OPOY, the leader in the MVP race, YOUR current NFL leader in passer rating.. the one and only Fitzmagic Now, I know the Eagles have this great defensive line that could pressure him, and that might be an issue for some teams, but we got the mf'ing stick carriers leading the way for Fitz. Cox and Bennett don't want anything with that Marpet + Jensen combo. Donovan is trying to get paid, he's not letting anyone get close enough to even smells Fitz' beard oil. Don't even have to talk on Dotson you know what he's about.. Let's get to our weapons. The most lethal group in the league.. you got Mike Evans not only towering over every DB in the league, but you got him leaving last year's best rookie CB face planted in the grass trying to keep up with him. You got Chris Godwin breaking out, with team's 3rd and 4th CBs trying to cover him.. pleaaase your #1 can't touch him. You got OJ Howard taking the top off the defense as a damn TE, hell he's faster than some of our WRs. Then you got DE-SEAN JACK-SON, Mr. 100% catch rate, Mr. 30 yards per catch, Mr. Who's Gonna Catch Me? Who's supposed to be assigned to him? Jalen Mills aka Mr. 4.61 40 yard dash Oh I forgot to mention, he's going up against the team that drafted him, then CUT him. DeSean doesn't seem like the type that forgets. Then we have our Peyton Barber, the easiest player to cheer for in the NFL, ready to break out following Marpet and Jensen's blocks. Rumor has it that Ronald Jones is going to make his debut this week too.. give him a crease to slip through and he's going to join the 50+ yard TD club with DeSean and Mike. What about our defense though? The one that gave up a few yards and points to one of the best QBs off all time, one of the best receivers in the league, and maybe the most dangerous RB in the league? Yeah we don't have to worry about all that this week. We have Nick Foles, who only managed 117 yards on 34 attempts (!) last week. His top WR is Nelson Agholor, who managed 33 yards on 8 catches last week. Just wait until Fitz and Co. put up a quick 14 points and Foles has to go into catch up mode.. we'll be seeing TO's forced by all of our rookie CBs. Carlton has the height and wingspan to catch that overthown ball going over Mike Wallace's head. MJ Stewart will be looking like Ronde blitzing off the corner. Maybe even Mike Smith smartens up and puts Justin Evans in coverage on Ertz and we see him pick off an underthrown attempt. Did we talk about our DLINE yet? JPP against his old and familiar division rival. Vinny Curry up against the team that JUST cut him. Beau Allen up against the team that didn't want to pay him. You think these guys have some motivation this week? Gerald McCoy is going to be surrounded by the most talented and the hungriest group he's ever played with this week. So who's with me? Who's ready to wake the league up and take down the champs?
  10. Vernon Hargreaves placed on IR

    I'm not as concerned about this week honestly.. Foles can look very pedestrian if he doesn't have the weapons surrounding him. The losses of Alshon and Torrey are bigger than you'd think and puts less stress on the defense. Still holding out hope for Grimes to return this week.. but either way I think Carlton can be solid against Mike Wallace on the outside, and MJ Stewart can hopefully hold his own against Agholor out of the slot. My biggest worry is covering Ertz and Sproles/Clement out of the backfield.. Conte couldn't cover a 38 year old Ben Watson last week and Kamara tore us up receiving.
  11. 🏈 Week One: Bucs (0-0) @ Saints (0-0)

    Some ramblings from week 1.. A lot of encouraging takeaways from week 1, but still some concerns with the defense after giving up 40 points and the game coming down to a 'last person with the ball wins' contest. There are some silver linings still with the defense though.. The defensive line did put some more pressure on Brees even if the stats don't show it. The Saints do have an elite offensive line with Ramczyk and Armstead as bookends and Warford and Unger on the inside so it was a tough first matchup to begin with. We're talking about a line that only gave up 20 sacks all of last year, good for 2nd in the league while also leading a top 5 running game. To hold them to under 50 yards total rushing, even in a shootout with limited carries, is a positive sign for our line. Vea will be a huge addition for the line going forward and helping to generate more pressure. Right now, the offensive line can focus on JPP/Curry/McCoy and not have to worry about that 4th defender on the inside.. Vea will command attention when he returns. The defensive line is much like the offensive line, it takes time together to build chemistry and work off one another. That said.. Alvin Kamara destroyed us. I see him as an elite talent though and it makes it a bit easier to swallow, especially with how the Saints play in the dome. Same with Michael Thomas. He beat Carlton Davis quite a bit but going up against a top 5 WR, with a top 5 QB, who have one of the biggest home field advantages, your first game as a pro.. if anyone ever deserved a pass on the stats he gave up it's Davis this week. I believe the return of Beckwith will be big for this defense too. The first drive when Kamara beat Alexander to the whole on 3rd & 2 and then trucked him.. a better LB could shoot that gap for a stop and force a FG. The way Beckwith was playing last year I believe he could be that type of LB to make that play. Getting Grimes back in the game too will be big. Ryan Smith continues to show he's one of our worst rotational players on D and the downgrade to him getting major playtime when our top CB is out is huge. Those three key defensive starters we had out could have made the difference for a couple TDs. The offense.. not enough can be said of how they played. The offensive line looked much improved and didn't allow a single sack on Fitzpatrick. They were huge in giving him time and letting the big plays develop down the field. Opened up some nice lanes for Barber too. There's going to be some big runs to the left with Donovan/Marpet/Jensen clearing the way. Ryan Jensen's demeanor out there jumped out, he's a tough SOB that doesn't take **** and backs up his teammates. I like to compare the addition of Jensen to the addition of Alex Mack to the Falcon's line a couple years back.. that addition, along with Shannan's offense, led the Falcons to explode to a record-setting offense. I think we showed that same kind of potential yesterday with our new look line & play caller. The preseason hype with Chris Godwin and OJ Howard seems warranted. Godwin had that spectacular one handed catch and a big TD grab against TIGHT coverage on a 3rd down. OJ made a couple of big catches and his blocking seems improved. The amount of weapons on offense is outstanding so they're limited in targets, but I have full confidence we're going to see some big games from those two this year. Their presence will be huge for the offense as it's going to be tough to dedicate two guys to Mike/DeSean having to worry about the young guys too. Also shootout to Adam Humphries and that catch and run before the end of the half. The penalty was warranted and did help spring him, but impressive play nonetheless. Good to see Big Play Hump carry over to the regular season. A bit nit-picky since we did have a record-setting offensive day for the franchise.. but I think we'd all like to see what RoJo and Watson could do out there. It's disappointing that Jones can't even get on the gameday roster, especially after hyping him up so much with a post-draft analysis, but I get it with Jacquizz being a safer bet as a #2 back and Shaun Wilson adding more special teams value. Maybe it was intended as a wakeup call for him for motivation so we'll see how he responds. Eventually we need to just throw him into the fire in a real game with the first team and see how he performs. He's too explosive of a player and showed way too much on film in college for me to be down on him until then. Justin Watson also looked nice in preseason and I would've liked to see him out there over Martino, but either way we wouldn't have seen much of him. All in all, to walk into the dome and beat the Saint's on their home opener is huge, particularly for our confidence level going forward. Three elite talents got the best of our defense but they did just enough to get the W. There's a long season ahead of us but it's hard not to be excited for it after that showing.
  12. A Deeper Dive : A Ronald Jones II Report

    Speaking of his 2016 UCLA tape, one run just gave a great indicator of his speed. On 3rd and 1 from the opponents 41 yard line, Jones II finds the hole to the right and is off to the races. What's cool for Bucs fans is that this run was pretty much a straight dash from the end zone from the 50 yard line with none other than Fabian Moreau (4.35 40-yard at the combine with a 1.51 10-yard split) starting pretty much dead even with him. We didn't get a good 40-yard dash from him after he pulled his hammy so I guess this is as good as its going to get... The race starts here After 10 yards, RoJo has a yard on him, probably due to having more initial momentum with the run After 30 yards, RoJo has barely given up any ground, if any After 40 yards, Moreau finally decides to make the lounge but he's just not close enough, gets his hands on RoJo but he walks into the end zone Full run here for reference I know this is not a perfect way to test timed speed and there's a **** ton of other factors in play here, but its some good reassurance on his athleticism after not getting all the combine numbers
  13. A Deeper Dive : A Ronald Jones II Report

    Hah thanks I tried to make it count, to be fair I’m always lurking and been around long before the forum change Agreed, and I was probably too passive in my criticism here, but I did highlight it a couple times here where I thought he didn’t make the best decisions. Part of me wants to say it was because of poor line play and him wanting to get to holes before they closed, but that may be just making excuses for him. Was more of an issue in 2017 then 2016 when he had a better line, watching his 2016 UCLA tape now and the first couple runs I already saw him showing more patience than usual. I don’t think it’s a killer issue either way if the line plays well, we just can’t expect him to be Bell or Hunt. Guys like Gurley and DeMarco Murray had similar issues coming out and have still found success.
  14. After every Bucs draft, I like to take a deeper look at our newest players to get a better idea of who we got. I'm a complete amateur at this, and this is my first time attempting a write up on a prospect, but I wanted to share what I saw with my fellow Bucs fans. Sorry for the low quality images, didn't have time to go through and make gifs/highlight the plays I wanted to. I've been a casual fan of Ronald Jones II game at the college level just because of the crazy production he put out vs. NFL talent. Taking a closer look at RoJo through some tape and it's easy to see why he was drafted so high as he truly is a special talent. The Jamaal Charles/LeSean McCoy comparisons are not as lofty as expectations as you would think. The concerns I read on scouting reports said they worry about his vision as he seems to just run full speed after taking the handoff so I wanted to focus on that throughout the process. I also wanted to start off with a couple of his ‘worst’ games last year from a statistical standpoint. I like doing this with prospects for a couple of reasons - to see if it’s actually a bad performance from them or the sum of other factors around them and to see what else they add to a game besides what you see in the boxscore. vs Texas 2017 (18 attempts, 47 yards, 2.6 ypc | 1 reception, 56 yards, 1 TD) 2nd play of the game we see RoJo blocking Holton Hill downfield on a WR screen, locks him up and holds the block throughout the play. Next play he's sent out to block again, gets a pop on the LB (Wheeler) on the WR screen and keeps him out of the play Next play on 1st & 10, run to the left as the line does a good job of blocking and RoJo uses his burst to get through the crowd untouched. I feel like the average back would be taken down in the crowd here for a gain of a few yards.. instead RoJo emerges here and is able to pick up the 1st down. On the next run to the right, when RoJo receives the handoff there's penetration from a couple d-lineman already. With the corner crashing in from the opposite side, there's no where to go but dive forward for a short gain. First run of the next series, a CB comes blitzing off the edge unblocked but with RoJo’s burst the CB doesn't even get a hand on him. RoJo cuts into the only lane in the middle, and Malik Jefferson makes a nice read and stops him on the inside run for a 4 yard gain. 2nd & 4 inside the 20 later in the series, RoJo gets the handoff for a run to the left and appears to have a chance to make it around the edge, but the LT is pushed back into his running lane. RoJo redirects inside for a 2 yard gain. H Next play on 3rd & 2, a strong burst on an inside run gets him about 2 yards before the defenders gets an ankle. He's able to twist and pick up a few extra yards to get inside the 5. 1st & Goal, we see a similar situation as earlier with immediate penetration and the inside being stuffed. It appears he might have a lane to the outside, but he keeps the run inside for no gain. 3rd & Goal, he takes an inside handoff down to about the half yard line, tough to see from the angle but appears first contact is made around the 3 yard line and he falls forward to near the goal line. 4th & Goal, another obvious inside run trying to get that last foot for the touchdown. RoJo lowers his head and tries to follow his line in but they don't get any push. At this point, I’m starting to think play-calling is a bit of an issue.. I think there’s got to be a better option than 3 inside hand offs inside the 5 yard line. Again, maybe he could have bounced outside here, but in goal line formation I can see how he would trust his line to get at least half a yard push somewhere. Next drive.. RoJo gets the handoff for another run to the left but the side is sealed up. He cuts back but is slowed down by having to hurdle his own lineman who's on the ground, still saves face with a few yards gained. Next drive.. RoJo gets a hand off to the right, dline gets penetration and he’s met a yard in the backfield, never had a chance. Slips under the first tackle attempt from the DE and falls forward for no gain. Later in the drive - here’s another example of USC’s run blocking just not being very good as when he receives the handoff 5 yards deep all of Texas’ lineman have already beaten their blocks. After his first step this is what he sees, he’s actually able to avoid the first group and cuts to the inside, but gets taken down immediately by the CB crashing down from the opposite side. Next play, RoJo splits out wide and is once again sent to block on a WR screen… he engages the CB (Kris Boyd, who will be drafted next year) and holds the block till the WR gets by. RoJo then finishes the block by throwing Boyd to the ground. Another impressive block by the ’skinny’ RB. On 3rd and 2 on the next play.. if I was to show you this what would your expected outcome be? Three yards behind the line with a DE dropped around him and a DB in front of him just to get back to the line, RoJo is still able to break the tackle from #90 (who is 6’5 280lbs) and bounces off the tackle attempt from the DB to free himself up as he approaches the line of scrimmage. RoJo heads straight for daylight and picks up the first down. Without his block on the previous WR screen and him breaking two tackles behind the line, this drive is over. Instead, it’s 1st down inside the 20. The very next play Darnold takes a shot to the end zone for a touchdown. The next drive - first play RoJo takes a handoff and finds the gap to the right, spinning of the first tackle attempt and picking up about 6 yards. Next play, there's 5 seconds left in the half… it looks like RoJo is going to stay back and block for the hail mary, but releases down the field when there’s no rush. Darnold scrambles and finds RoJo who catches (?!) it around the 35 yard line and immediately turns up field. With five defenders in front of him on the right sideline at about the 20, he takes off in a race to the left pylon that he wins. Next half, he takes the handoff on 2nd & 1 and is met 5 yards in the backfield by Poona Ford. He’s able to shake the ankle tackle attempt, break another tackle attempt by the LB behind the line, and push forward for a gain of about 4 yards and a first down. Next play, he gets the handoff and once again there’s nothing on the inside. It looks like he can gain some yards sprinting to the edge, but instead he’s determined to run inside and meets a LB at the line of scrimmage. Next play, RoJo is once again sent out wide to block on a WR screen. He engages with Boyd again and drives him back a few yards and out of the play enough for the WR to get about a 20 yard gain. Later in the drive, RoJo is left in pass pro on 2nd & 9. Malik Jefferson blows by the RG but RoJo is there to pick up the LB blitz. He gets a good pop on Malik and keeps reroutes him away from Darnold, but the rest of the line collapsed anyways and he’s sacked by a DE. Next drive, Malik Jefferson tries his luck again with a blitz. This time he fakes inside before running clean around the LT who is engaged with the DE, but Malik once again meets RoJo who’s waiting for him. RoJo gives up barely any ground, if any at all, and Darnold is able to take a clean shot down field with his goofy *** wind up. A couple plays later on 3rd & 10, RoJo is sent out to the flats and is open with no one around him for a good 10 yards. Up by 4 points in the 4th, I’d say a good QB would send it out to his RB and give him a chance to make something happen.. instead he forces it down the middle for an interception. This is where I’m starting to think RoJo’s lack of receptions is more to do with the offense/QB than a lack of talent… He does make a nice tackle on the defender who got the interception though. The rest of the remaining ~8 mins or so in the game is more of the same.. a run up the middle for about 4 yards, good pass protection off of a play-action pass, and another sack where the line doesnt even give Darnold a chance. TLDR summary from the game: Way too may inside runs in my opinion, especially when it was obvious the difference in talent level from USC’s OL and Texas’ run defense (top 5 in the nation). Still, Ronald Jones II created a lot of yards after contact and took what he could get. I’m not sure if it’s coaching or wanting to run the play as drawn up or what, but it seems like a couple of times this game now that he has left yards on the table by not trusting his speed to get to the edge. Maybe it’s him opting to take the safer route and instead of getting negative yards, at least turn up field and get back to the line? I’m not sure, but I’ll have to trust our coaching staff to sit down with him and look at this, and hopefully they can figure it out. What I found impressive was that I didn’t see one play in the game where he hurt his team. Sure, maybe there was a couple of times he could have tried to bounce to the outside and pick up more yards, but he didn’t do any dancing in the backfield that lost yardage for them. He was also outstanding blocking, whether it be downfield or in pass pro, and I never saw him miss an assignment or let up any ground. Between his catch and run at the end of the half, and his plays on key TD drives - I feel pretty confident in saying USC doesn’t win this game without him. vs. Notre Dame (12 attempts, 32 yards, 2.7 ypc) First play of the game, more of the same as the Texas game.. run straight up the middle. He’s able to power through for about 3 yards. Next drive, his second carry of the game is a run to the outside this time, by the time he receives the ball he sees two Notre Dame defenders in front of him.. Te’Von Coney gets a clean shot on him for no gain. 1st & 10 later that drive, it actually took me a minute to find RoJo on the play… I had to rewind a few times because I thought he was the left tackle. Turns out, he came to double team the defensive end with the LT, but after the LT was beat RoJo took on the block vs #93 (6’3 290-lb DE). RoJo didn’t let up any ground and kept the pressure out of Darnold’s face as he took a shot down field. Next drive, RoJo gets the predictable inside dive on 2nd & 1, and falls forward through the crowd for about 4 yards. Next play on 1st & 10.. run to the right, and there's three ND defenders in the backfield as soon as RoJo takes his first step. He tries to change directions but the line is already collapsed and there’s defenders surrounding him before he gets any momentum. Later that drive, 1 & 10 in the redzone.. quick run up the middle for 4 yards Same drive, 1st & Goal, run up the middle is met with a wall with no where to go - no gain Next drive, 2nd & 1.. the play is blown up again by the time RoJo receives the hand off. He’s able to avoid the first defender but there’s two more waiting for him, loss of a couple. Next drive, 1st & 10.. RoJo stays back in pass pro, picks up the LB blitz coming untouched up the middle at full speed. The LB pushes him back a couple yards on the initial pop but Jones II stays on his feet and in front of the defender. First play of the 2nd half, finally gets a small crease up the middle and takes advantage, bursts up the middle for about a 20 yard gain. Next play, the line creates a lane but a LB is blitzing right in the gap they created. RoJo is able to juke the LB, but the RG cant hold his block and the DE takes him down as he falls forward for a few yards on the gain. After a couple more short runs in the 3rd, USC abandons the run for the rest of the game as they are down 4 TDs As the stats would indicate, not much going on at all from this game. Ronald Jones II still made every block he's was called upon to, but USC's offense line was just too overmatched to get anything going on the ground. The game was essentially over by the half and the running game was aborted early. Overall, the ND line combined for 9.5 TFL with 5 sacks for the game. It's a bit surprising given in 2016 the results vs Notre Dame were completely the opposite. I wanted to look at the 2016 tape vs Notre Dame, when USC had 3 NFL prospects on the offensive line, to see a comparison of sorts of what RoJo can do with some better blocking. vs Notre Dame (16 attempts, 134 yards, 8.4 ypc, 1 TD) First run about a minute into the game, we see a much cleaner pocket formed by the line. RoJo shoots through the gap to the right for a gain of 8. Next play on 2nd & 2.. run up the middle, RoJo works his way through traffic for about 4 yards and a first down. A couple plays later, the line again shows how much better it was in 2016, just from the fact they all get an initial block on the defensive lineman. Nothing much up the middle but RoJo picks up 4 yards on first down. Later in the first - RoJo gets the inside handoff once again and there appears to be more room to the left but RoJo stays on course for a run up the middle, slips through some defenders for a gain of 7 yards. Later that series on 2nd &10.. Finally a run towards the outside with a counter. The line does a good job of giving RoJo the edge and he does the rest. He has a clean path for about 5 yards to the 45 yard line until he sees a wall of 3 defenders vs 2 blockers. Rojo bounces to the sideline and past the crowd, and is off to the races for a 51-yard touchdown. It’s not a coincidence that this is one of the first runs i’ve seen on top with good blocking all around from USC, and RoJo is able to navigate through traffic then use his athleticism to easily walk away from the defense. 2nd Quarter, another counter this time to the left. Just as he’s heading to the edge, a defender beats his man and is waiting for RoJo. He’s able to change directions and cut back inside to gain a few yards. Next play, another handoff to the right but there’s a wall - RoJo makes a quick cut inside, bounces off a tackle from the safety as a CB is draped around his ankles, and fights his way for a gain of 8 yards and a first down. Little plays like this that show his relentlessness and toughness are the difference between 3rd & 1 and a new set of downs. Later in the drive, counter to the left and there’s room to run for a second before a lineman breaks off his block and dives at RoJo’s ankles. Rojo is able to avoid the tackle, slip past a couple defenders, and juke the safety out of his shoes for a gain of about 15 yards. Same drive.. RoJo receives the handoff and immediately the DT is in his face 4 yards into the backfield. Never had a chance. Next drive.. handoff to the right, some penetration but RoJo runs right past it, waits for his blockers, and bounces the run to the outside as he sheds a LBs tackle attempt to make it to the sideline. Gain of 15 yards. Next play, again as soon as RoJo receives the handoff there’s a DT in his face 5 yards in the backfield. No chance. Start of the 2nd half, a little pitch to the left that gains 4 yards. I’d like to see him try to use his speed to get to the sideline here but he turns up field and takes the safe route. 4th quarter.. hand off to the left and the line does a good job of blocking, opening a couple of lanes to choose from. RoJo cuts inside to the inside lane for a gain of 10 yards, may have had a chance for more going outside though. Another handoff up the middle as USC is just trying to run the clock down now. The line creates a small lane and RoJo fits through, plants his foot and runs upfield past a couple of defenders at the 2nd level. Safety takes him down after a gain of about 15 yards. Darnold goes on to throw a TD pass to seal the game up with 10 min remaining in the 4th. What a difference we saw when Ronald Jones II got some running room.. Finally saw his explosion with several big plays. 8 out of his 16 attempts went for 7+ yards, with a few 15+ yard runs including the big 51 yard touchdown. Would have been 10+ ypc if you take away the two runs where a DT met him 5 yards in the backfield when he got the handoff. Positives (with specifics to the Bucs) Quick, decisive moves. No wasted movements in his running style. When he sees a lane he doesn’t waste any time hitting the hole while it’s open. Strong blocker in pass pro and down the field on screens. USC realized this his junior year and they split him out wide often to block for WRs, with good success. Saw him take on DEs, DTs, LBs, and CBs and never get knocked down. Only person who straight up beat him on film was Nick Bosa, who I think might be good? Won’t have any issues coming in as a rookie and playing on 3rd down. Slippery in between the tackles. Has a knack for getting skinny and fitting through small creases. Not easy to bring down, often bounces off of bigger defenders and accelerates again unfazed. Always seems to finish runs by falling forward for an extra yard or two. Dangerous in open space and it leads to big plays. TDs of 44 & 74 yards in 2015 - 51, 60, & 66 yards in 2016 - 56, 64, 67 & 86 yards in 2017. For reference, the Bucs longest run was 36 yards in 2017 and was 45 yards in 2016. The longest play in 2016 was also 45 yards, but in 2017 the rookies (OJ Howard - 58 yards and Chris Godwin - 70 yards) beat that. In fact, the rooks are the only players with a 50+ yard play over the last two seasons. There’s a theme here with the recent offensive picks, and I like it. Negatives I think he trusts his blockers more than he trusts his speed, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily when the blockers do their job. Often times though he takes the run inside where it’s intended to go, instead of trying to bounce outside and use his athleticism to get to the edge. He's never going to be a back that has those 'Barry Sanders runs' where he dances around out of trouble and finishes with a TD somehow. Jones II would rather take the positive few yards and move on to the next play than to risk a 'no gain' by doing too much. Seems to have great vision in the open field, but when there's penetration in the backfield before he gets going it seems like he lacks the elite vision/patience trait that guys like Le'Veon Bell or Kareem Hunt have. Pro Comparison - Clinton Portis While I do see the similarities to Jamaal Charles, I don’t think he has quite the patience that Charles has shown. Instead, I think he’s similar to Portis, who also came into the league at 5’11, 205-lbs with track speed. Like Portis, Jones II plays bigger than his size and can take a hit. Both RBs excel as one-cut runners who find running lanes quickly and accelerate through them. Clinton was a TD machine throughout his career and Jones II showed the same nose for the end zone in college. Overall Opinion Ronald Jones II gives the Bucs offense something they haven’t had in a long time out of the backfield - a TD threat every time he touches the ball. Calling him just a home run threat is cutting him way short though. Jones II is a tough inside runner that will run wild if you open up the smallest lanes for him to fit through. I believe his discipline with sticking to running lanes and not dancing around/improving much comes from his upbringing in a military family, but that's pure speculation and me just trying to connect dots. He is a north-south runner by nature, which may surprise some given his size & athleticism. He always opts for lanes & creases inside before trying the longer route of bouncing it to the outside. No dancing in the backfield, as he likes to pick his lane early in the run and attacks. Minimizes negative yardage by this approach and finishes runs strong always falling forward. Regarding concerns over his size, from what I’ve seen I am confident he is a complete 3-down back that can handle 20+ carries a game. There’s no situation where you don’t want him on the field. Watching film, he looks like he has the strength of a 220-lb back the way he sheds safeties tackles and blocks blitzing LBs. Concerns on his lack of targets and receiving ability are over blown too. Sometimes college systems just don't target RBs in the passing game. Guys like Jamaal Charles and Melvin Gordon also never cracked 20 receptions in a season in college but have done more than ok in the pros. In Clay Helton's offense since he took over in 2015, the most he’s receptions for any RB is 18 in a season. In the games I saw, I never saw Jones II drop a pass and he seemed natural catching passes in stride when they came his way. USCs line is simply not very good. Arguably their best offensive lineman last year was just picked up by the Titans as a UDFA. It was obvious when they were severely overmatched, i.e. the OSU game when RoJo was often met at the line of scrimmage or his offensive lineman were being pushed back 3-4 yards deep seconds after the snap. In 2016 you can see a difference in what he's able to do when he's running behind a line with 3 future NFL players. In 2017, he still shines most games because most colleges teams aren't littered with NFL talent - it's games like vs Texas and Ohio State, who have defenses littered with future NFL players, that he has a tougher time getting anything going on the ground. He'll feel spoiled running behind our line this year. Our run blocking improved as the year went along as Donovan actually had a couple good games, and I expect it to be strong all year with Marpet back at guard + adding Jensen next to him + Dotson continuing to be one of the leagues best RTs. If that holds true, Jones II is going to be a legit candidate for OROY, and will be one of the most important players on our team as teams will be forced to respect the run.