With a new quarterback and tight-end in the building, Ronald Jones II has seen the cast around him improve dramatically. He’s also seen some of his touches potentially taken away by both Gronk, and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn. So what does 2020 look like for last year’s number back?
2019 saw a more consistent, mature, and confident performance for RoJo as he thrived in year one of Bruce Arians system. Now he has a future hall-of-fame passer, and tight-end to take some of the defensive schemes away from him can he thrive more in 2020.
Ronald Jones II in 2019
Last season Ronald Jones II was a much-improved back, with PFF giving him a massive 17.5 points higher rushing grade at 69.9 than his 2018 grade of 52.4. In fact, he had just one game in 2019 where he graded less than his overall 2018 grade. He consistently played better in 2019 and saw his snap count raise accordingly from 182 to 421 in 2019.
With a 1.9 yards-per-carry and just 1 rushing touchdown, it was almost a merciful feeling when RoJo was sidelined at the end of the season with a hamstring injury. With a game-high of 10 carries for 29 yards in week one, his rookie season was best-called horrific.
Credit to Jones he never stopped working, and his preseason work in 2019 clearly paid dividends. Coupled with new Head Coach Bruce Arians having more belief in him, and scheming better for him Jones rushed for more yards in his first game of 2019 than he managed in the whole of 2018.
Finishing 2019 with 172 carries for 724 yards and 6 touchdowns, Ronald Jones II sophomore NFL season was much more fitting of the second-round pick. However, there’s still more to be done, particularly in the receiving game. Running backs in Tom Brady’s offense have always been key components, and the ability to be an outlet receiver is massive.
Time for a big step in 2020?
For his part, Ronald Jones II is putting in work this offseason. Recognizing the importance of the secondary threat he can possess in the passing game, he has taken to twitter to post some of his progress and the signs are encouraging.
On top of that RoJo will need to improve his pass blocking. Much like new draftee Ke’Shawn Vaughn, his ability, or lack of in pass protection could be a huge issue in 2019. It is important to not only keep your aging quarterback from taking heavy hits but also to buy him time to hit one of his myriad weapons.
RoJo is one of those kids you just love to watch play. He plays with his heart and constantly seems to be overcoming artificial hurdles that are put in his way by people underestimating him.
2020 is a pivotal year for the young back, and all signs point to it being a very promising one.