The Buccaneers drafted RB Ronald Jones in the second round last year expecting big things. However, Jones rushed for only 77 yards and averaged less than two yards per carry in his rookie season.
“Last year was a disappointment for me,” Jones said via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “I’m putting in the work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Jones has something of a fresh start with new Tampa Bay HC Bruce Arians in town now, and he’s motivated to make the most of it.
“Personally, for me, I just want to lead the team in rushing and be that player who can ignite the offense and things like that, because that’s who I am. I’m a playmaker,” Jones said. “I just want that opportunity.”
“I’ve put on a lot of pounds of muscle,” Jones said. “I’ve been training with my guy, eating four or five meals a day, protein shakes right after workouts. I’m bigger.”
The Lions have made remaking the linebacking corps a priority under HC Matt Patricia, focusing on size and versatility rather than some of the smaller speed types they had in the previous scheme. The team feels like the makeover is almost complete.
“I think we’re getting there. I think we did a good job last offseason with free agency with guys like (Devon) Kennard and Christian (Jones),” Lions GM Bob Quinn said via Tim Twentyman of the official team website. “It’s really unique that, fortunate I’d say, that we were able to get Jarrad Davis a couple drafts ago. He can really play in any defense, which is great. We drafted him for the previous defense but he’s a really good fit in what we do now. We’re there. I think we’re pretty much to the point where we have good players.”
- According to Twentyman, the Lions tend to keep six linebackers on the final roster. Four of those spots should be secure between Davis, Christian Jones, Devon Kennard and rookie Jahlani Tavai.
- Twentyman says Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa should have the edge for the final two spots because of their experience, but UDFA LBs Malik Carney and Tre Lamar could push one of them out with a strong camp.
Early reports from Green Bay have Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling setting himself apart from the pack as the No. 2 receiver. Part of the reason might be his training with future Hall of Famer Randy Moss.
“I’m still training with him now. We train Monday through Thursdays,” Valdes-Scantling said during an appearance on NFL Network. “He’s teaching me the game. He’s a 14-year [veteran], Hall of Famer. Couldn’t ask for a better mentor to go out and teach you how to be a great wide receiver.”