Bruce Arians: Barber-Jones 'heck of a 1-2 punch'

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  • By Jelani Scott NFL.com
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians likes what he has in Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones, so much so that he sees both as starting-caliber options at running back.

Both players have impressed throughout the early part of training camp, especially Jones, who's entering his second year after being drafted in the second round out of USC in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Following Tuesday's practice, during which Jones rattled off two impressive long runs out of the backfield, Arians raved about what's seen so far out of the young back.

"He's an explosive player. He's going to be a heck of a player for us. He's going to make big plays like that for us," Arians said via Greg Auman of The Athletic.

Jones' potential emergence would be quite the turnaround for a player who totaled 44 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and seven receptions for 33 yards in nine appearances during his rookie year.

As Jones continues to find his way, Barber will continue to further stake his claim as a quality talent.

In 2018, Barber -- in his third season since going undrafted in 2016 -- had his best campaign yet, accumulating 871 rushing yards and five TDs on 234 attempts and 20 receptions and a TD for 92 yards.

In Arians' eyes, Barber and Jones represent a tandem that can make quite the impact in offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich's schemes.

"Oh yeah, it's going to be a heck of a one-two punch," he said. "Whichever one is the one and whichever one is the two, they are both going to play."

Arians might keep his idea for who starts under wraps until the team's first preseason game against the Steelers on August 9. Whatever the case is, he seems content with his options, regardless of the direction.

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