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Bruce Arians: Ronald Jones II ‘struggled mentally’ to get over fumble

Fantasy football sleeper: Ronald Jones
Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) runs the ball against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (30) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II did not return to Thursday’s season-opening game against the Dallas Cowboys after losing a fumble in the second quarter.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians on Friday explained why Jones was glued to the bench after losing the ball following a 1-yard gain.

“‘Ro’ was running really, really well until the fumble, and then he struggled mentally to get over it,” Arians said of the 24-year-old Jones. “That was too big of a game and go out there and not be focused, so (Leonard Fournette) got the rest of the way.”

Fournette had nine carries for 32 yards while Jones had four rushes for 14 yards in the Buccaneers’ 31-29 victory over the Cowboys. Fellow running back Giovani Bernard had a pair of catches for 12 yards on the team’s final possession.

Jones led the Buccaneers in carries (192), rushing yards (978) and rushing touchdowns (seven) last season. He did not lose a fumble in 14 games for the Super Bowl champs in 2020.

–Field Level Media