The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the Kansas City Chiefs at their home stadium of Raymond James field for Super Bowl 55. The game is set for February 7, and the bye week will give us plenty of time to break down each team’s depth chart ahead of game day.
Here, we’ll look at how the Bucs depth chart has evolved through the 2020 NFL season and what we might expect from this backfield in the Super Bowl.
The evolution of the Bucs backfield through 2020
The Buccaneers backfield looked like it would be Ronald Jones and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn going into the season, but the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to cut Leonard Fournette after not being able to trade him before the season. The Bucs quickly grabbed him to pair with Jones.
It’s been a strange split between those two this season, as they have gone back and forth as the lead back and we even saw Fournette as a healthy scratch. In the end, Jones had 15.7 touches per game to Fournette’s 10.2, but a quad injury kept Jones out of the Wild Card round against Washington and Fournette played well. He was the main back with Jones out and saw 19 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown and caught all four of his targets for 39 more yards against a tough defense.
That Wild Card game likely pushed Fournette up the pecking order and when Jones returned in the Divisional Round against the Saints, Fournette still out-touched him 22 to 13. Jones had a better rushing efficiency, but Fournette was the receiving back and caught five passes, including a touchdown.
The NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers we once again saw Fournette lead the way, as he had 17 touches for 74 yards and a 20-yard touchdown. Jones on the other hand had 10 carries for 16 yards and no targets, while Fournette caught 5-fo-7 targets.
What to expect from the Bucs RBs in Super Bowl LV
l am not overly confident that Bruce Arians will use Fournette as his lead once again, but all signs point in that direction. He seems to trust him in the passing game more than Jones despite Fournette’s trouble with drops. That should probably keep him on the field, but overall he’s just been playing better than Jones of late.
This situation could still turn into Jones winning work with the “hot hand,” but Fournette is going to get dibs on the lead role to start.