The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the closest thing the NFL has to an NBA-style "super team."
That label doesn't mean the Bucs are the best team in the league. It doesn't mean they are favored to win the Super Bowl. It means that on paper, they have a lot of well-known stars who were brought together to build an instant championship contender.
Tom Brady is, of course, the headliner. Arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent this past offseason after spending 20 years (and winning six Super Bowls) with the New England Patriots.
Brady going to Tampa convinced his ex-Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement and join the Bucs. Gronk is one of the most productive and arguably most talented tight ends in NFL history.
The Buccaneers already had a star receiver in Mike Evans to pair with Brady. They also had two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. They signed running backs Leonard Fournette, a former 1,000-yard producer with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and LeSean McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowler who's past his prime.
Another big-name, past-his-prime addition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the defensive side of the ball is tackle Ndamukong Suh, a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.
Then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went and signed Antonio Brown, who was once the best receiver in the league before being suspended last year due to personal conduct. He's another superstar name on the roster.
With their talent-filled, impressive-on-paper roster, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been living up to preseason expectations at 6-2. They lead the NFC South and are one of the NFC's top teams heading into a Week 9 Sunday night matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
There's one player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who is producing like a star, but doesn't get the kind of attention his more famous teammates get. He's one of the most valuable players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he's rarely talked about in comparison to Brady, Evans, Gronk and the rest.
Running back Ronald Jones II is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' forgotten star.
Jones is carrying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' ground game
Jones isn't just the Bucs' leading rusher, ahead of Fournette and McCoy. He's tied for No. 5 in the entire league in rushing yards, gaining 529 this season. Jones has four rushing touchdowns.
From Week 4 to Week 6, Jones had a three-game streak of running for 100-plus yards per game. He went for 111 yards on 20 carries in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers, 106 yards in 17 carries in a loss to the Chicago Bears, and 113 yards on 23 carries plus two touchdowns in a blowout win over the Green Bay Packers.
This isn't an unfamiliar position for Jones.
In college at USC, he was an all-conference running back, but overshadowed by the likes of QB Sam Darnold, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, and CB Adoree Jackson.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now and will be Tom Brady's team for as long as he's on the roster. Jones may not ever get as much press as Gronk and Evans and some of his other teammates, but he's proven to be just as valuable to the team's success.Published 06 Nov 2020, 13:35 IST