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TAMPA, Fla. — Ronald Jones II‘s “welcome to the NFL” moment during his rookie year wasn’t something typical, like getting clobbered in the backfield by a 290-pound defensive lineman. It was sitting on the bench, staring up at the bright lights of Raymond James Stadium and feeling lost and defeated.
“I thought, ‘Should I have stayed in school another year for experience?’ and things like that,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back told ESPN. “It was a big adjustment.”
He’d left USC a year early rather than stay and try to surpass Marcus Allen to become the school’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher. He found himself a healthy scratch the first four weeks of the season — humiliating for Jones and unusual for a second-round draft pick.
When he finally did see game action, he struggled to process information and make split-second decisions.
Ronald Jones leads the Buccaneers in rushing with 359 yards and a per-carry average of 4.9 yards. AP Photo/Jason Behnken
“I couldn’t play fast because I was so worried about missing one of my assignments,” said Jones, who finished 2018 with 44 rushing yards on 22 carries.
“He just went in the cellar,” personal running