Jones Positioned for Career Year

Humble back moving up the all time charts.

The departure of Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown will certainly cause a change in focus for the Green Bay Packers offense. Who will be the biggest beneficiary? It won’t be Allen Lazard, or Randall Cobb, or Josiah Deguara, or Robert Tonyan, or Christian Watson. 

The player who stands to gain the most individually is Aaron Jones. Yes, I know there is much hype about the rookie receivers. I am aware Green Bay is 7-0 without Adams since 2019. But let’s get real. The Packers’ passing offense is simply not going to be as good in 2022. Not without the best receiver in football, and without its best deep threat. Aaron Rodgers may be a four time MVP, but he’s not a miracle worker.  

It stands to reason the Pack will at least try to run the ball more often. That stands to benefit Jones and his running back mate AJ Dillon. But Jones is also going to be Rodgers’ favorite passing target. The Arizona game last year is a good template. Green Bay went into that contest without Adams, MVS and Lazard. The answer? Use your backs as receivers. Jones led the team in that game with eleven targets, five more than any other player. He also carried the ball fifteen times. You can expect that to be a consistent stat line for the sixth year veteran this fall. Yes, Dillon will eat into many of the carries, but Dillon is not the explosive talent that Jones is.  

Number thirty-three has played in the shadow of Adams for five years, but this will be the season he makes the jump from good player to star player. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Unlike Rodgers, David Bakhtiari and Jaire Alexander, Jones was not caught up in the ego trip of having to be the highest paid player at his position. He turned down higher offers from other teams to sign a four year extension worth an average of $12 million per year in 2021. Currently that is no higher than tied for seventh among the league’s running backs in terms of average annual salary. He wanted to stay with the team that gave him a chance, the team that made him a fifth round draft choice out of Texas El Paso in 2017, Ted Thompson’s final draft for Green Bay. He is active in the community and humble in the locker room and in front of the media. Small wonder he is one of the team’s most popular players. 

Jones is quietly working his way up the list of career rushing leaders for the franchise. He currently stands fifth, but by the time the Packers finish their week one game at Minnesota, he may well have moved up to third. He needs just 34 yards to surpass Tony Canadeo for fourth place, and only 61 yards to move ahead of John Brockington into third. However, from there it’s a long journey to the top two spots.  

He trails second place Jim Taylor by 4,044 yards. He would need 4,159 to catch Ahman Green for first place all time. In his first five seasons, Jones has averaged 833 rushing yards each. He would need to maintain that average for nearly five more seasons to pull ahead of Green in first place. He will turn twenty-eight years old in December. The general perception is that most backs begin to decline around age thirty. It’s hard to see Jones getting to the top of the rushing chart, especially in this age of pass happy offense. 

The Texas native is already third in rushing touchdowns with 41, behind Green (54) and Taylor (81). Taylor’s mark may never be broken. 

Regardless of where Aaron Jones winds up in the Green Bay record books, this figures to be a career season for him, provided he stays healthy, which is not a lock. Though he is just 5’9”, and weighs around 210 pounds, he runs very hard, which means he takes a considerable pounding. He’s only had one season in which he has played every game. He’s missed twelve contests over his five years. The Packers must limit his work. That’s where Dillon comes in. It may surprise you to know Dillon carried the ball sixteen more times than Jones in the 2021 regular season. A bit deceiving, considering Dillon played two more games.  

Bottom line, circumstances are set up for Jones to have a stellar season. Draft him for your fantasy team. He’s going to get more rushes, more receptions, and more touchdowns than ever before. Let’s hope nice guys can finish first. 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (51)

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:22 am

Enjoy watching him while it lasts. Successful teams don't take $20 million cap hits on RBs. It's too bad they set his contract up like they did but it couldn't be helped at the time(plus the restructure) and having him for two extra years is better than none.

I'm not sure age has as much to do with a RBs decline as much as number of carries does. The magic number seems to be 1600. Jones wasn't even halfway to that number thanks to MM which made his resigning a good decision at the time.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:27 am

"Jones’ cap charges were $8.95 million in 2022, $19.25 million in 2023 and $15.25 million in 2024. Now, his cap charges are $5.901 million in 2022, $20.013 million in 2023, $16.013 million in 2024 and $1.526 million in 2025, the first of those void years."

"Jones' cap charge for 2023 would be the highest in the league for a running back by about $2.3 million and the biggest in NFL history. (Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott is slated to have a cap charge of $18.2 million in 2022, according to OverTheCap.com.)"

https://www.si.com/nfl/packers/news/packers-restructure-aaron-jones-cont...

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:38 am

Agreed. I think this is 33's last year in GB.

I think many of the contracts were originally set up to mirror 12's window. The covid cap crunch of 2021 screwed up a lot of contract planning.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2022 at 10:48 am

As a counterpoint argument, right now Jones is costing us $14 million/year over the next three years. If he stays healthy, and continues to get good blocking, he could be a very good piece in the offense for three more years. If he Truly is a HOF type RB, he could give us 1300 yards of offense and 10 TDs a year over that time. That's not insignificant.

The fact that he played sparingly his first two years, and is now part of a rotation that hold his touches down, probably means less wear and tear on his body, as opposed to a feature back (like Elliot, for example). If you add 30 TDs to his current career total of 53, he'd be in HOF territory.(Jim Taylor has 93).

I don't think $14 million/year for a HOF RB is too much, but it all comes down to what you believe you have in Aaron Jones? How good do you think he is? We're talking about him along with Jim Taylor and Ahman Green. If he's Truly That Good, then he might well be worth hanging onto.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 13, 2022 at 11:19 am

I like Aaron Jones a lot.

I believe that his contract is a year to year deal and will be renegotiated over time.

On to a point of contention (my posts rarely omit this section...)

Comparing statistics from different eras in pro football is shakey ground at best. Rules changes, philosophical shifts, schedule length... there are a lot of factors that make a comparison of numbers disingenuous at best.

GBP HoF? Aaron Jones should probably be a shoe-in with a couple more years as productive as he has been over the past few. NFL HoF?

Thats a pretty high bar for a RB that splits carries and has all of his career. AJ is gonna have to be spectacular for 5-8 more years to get near that goal. Think Marshall Faulk like productivity.

Thats a tough challenge. I hope Aaron Jones accomplishes everything mentioned here, I truly like the person and respect the player. It would be quite a feat if he accomplishes it.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2022 at 11:52 am

I don't think Jones is going to get the yards he needs to be in the HOF conversation, but touchdowns could be his ticket. If you go to pro-football-reference and look it up, if you score 100 TDs in this league you're in the HOF, unless you're Sean Alexander or Antonio Gates. Frank Gore, Franco Harris and Curtis Martin each had 100, and that puts them at around #25 on the all-time list. Priest Holmes had 94 and didn't make it, the Bus had 94, and Dickerson had 96.

I don't think 80+ TDs will do it for him, but 90 is a different story. Just about every RB who has hit 90 TDs is in the Hall. That'd be 10 or more TDs for the next three seasons. Do I think Jones could do this? Yes, if he stays healthy and has good blocking. Or he might fall short and just be a really good back. In either case, I think he's worth hanging on to.

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Rarescope's picture

June 13, 2022 at 02:56 pm

Johnblood27 - that's an excellent point on different eras. The other question I thought of is how passing yards factor in - please enlighten me if anyone knows. It seems like they usually just talk about rushing yards for running back records - do they include passing yards in that stat, or are they just not considered or...?

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 10:11 pm

I think they are certainly considered for modern backs. Receiving yards no doubt helped Marshall Faulk get in quicker than he might have otherwise. LaDanian Tomlinson too to a lesser extent. He never had the 1000/1000 season like Faulk but had one season with 100 catches and 9 seasons with over 50. They both get in without the receiving stats but probably wait quite a few more years. Barry Sanders never had 50 catches is season but he certainly would these days.

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Rarescope's picture

June 13, 2022 at 05:43 pm

Thanks for the reply and general reading material LL, I see you posting all the time on APC as well ;)

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mnbadger's picture

June 13, 2022 at 12:53 pm

I've got a counterpoint to the first line of the article:
"The departure of . . . and Equanimeous St. Brown will certainly cause a change in focus for the Green Bay Packers offense. "
Really? I hardly knew and didn't care that ESB left and didn't really know he was on the team other than reading about how good he looked in practice.
Please CHTV authors, no more references to ESB's talents. Period, none. Let's look forward. GPG!

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 01:11 pm

Jones has a 2023 cap hit of over $20M. His cap hit in 2024 is about $16M. In 2023, he has a big roster bonus and the cash value of his contract shoots up. Those could be renegotiated and turned into bonus money to drop his hit, but would almost certainly require an extension past his age 30 year.

Yes, if you take his low, 2022 cap hit and average it into the next two years, he's costing $14M/yr, but the cap doesn't average from year to year. Right now, the Packers project $15M over the 2023 cap...letting Jones go covers about 2/3 of that...and there's a whole crapton of guys who are going to need to get paid. I would argue that you don't need HOF backs if you've got a good run-blocking O-line.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2022 at 03:19 pm

I'm kind of reluctant to accept cap-based arguments right now, especially after this season. It's clear that the Packers know stuff about the cap I do not, and it appears the 1265 Brass can come up with salary cap tricks I couldn't imagine.

I'm just saying, we have this guy for the next three years of his career. . Three more seasons like his last three seasons (40 TDs) would be well worth $42 million.

He's 27 and will turn 28 in December. He's had 40 touchdowns in the last three seasons. As part of a tandem attack. I'm starting to think he's the real deal, in which case, let's keep him.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 04:38 pm

With only 822 carries Jones is only a little over halfway to that 1600 mark where RBs really start to decline. By comparison Ezekiel Elliott is at 1650 right now. It will be interesting to see how much he drops off this year but Pollard already looked like the better back more often last year.

But like you said it's about the money. Especially when you already have a guy on the roster capable of being a dominant back. RBs are used in the passing game in college more than ever and it's not hard to find decent ones. Jones is the best RB they've had since Ahman and has been really fun to watch but unfortunately plays a position where the wall comes up fast.

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Grandfathered's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:32 pm

You are probably right that you don't need a HOF RB to win a super bowl (Raheem Mostert?). But an above-average rock runner sure makes it more fun, and if your QB is average, the RB is the only other player that can carry a team's offense.

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NickPerry's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:22 am

I think you can expect to have several stat lines from Jones like he had in the Divisional Playoff game vs the 49ers last season. 10 targets, 9 catches, 129 yards, with another 41 yards on 12 carries. Obviously losing Dillon increased that stat line a bit, but when you look at the box score, Rodgers basically included 2 players in the offense the entire game.

Lazard will get a lot of targets as will Jones and Dillon. I'd imagine Randall Cobb will see a big increase too. but after that I have no idea who gets the rock. MLF has ALWAYS done a great job of limiting Jones workload so he's around and explosive in the Playoffs. I'm sure he'll TRY to do the same with Jones, but that's going to depend on several other players AND when Rodgers begins to trust them.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:55 am

If Lazard's targets go up too much defenses will focus on him and then he's in trouble. He averaged 4 targets a game last year, hopefully he sees about 6 a game this year. If his catch % and YPC stay the same that would put him at around 870 yards for the year. Anything more than that probably means Watkins got hurt or the rookies aren't doing much and the offense is probably struggling.

Jones had an ADOT of only .9 last year and a 7.5 yards per catch average. In 2019 those numbers were 2.8 and 9.7. After the monster game he had against the Chiefs teams started putting a CB or S on him and his numbers decreased. Jones is a very good receiving back but not in the Kamara or McCaffrey territory. I don't think he'll line up in the slot as much as some people think. I'd rather see him getting into some intermediate routes against LBs from out of the backfield. That's where he's dangerous.

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NickPerry's picture

June 13, 2022 at 07:19 am

"I'd rather see him getting into some intermediate routes against LBs from out of the backfield. That's where he's dangerous."

I'm with you on this friend. My hope is we see BOTH Dillon and Jones in the backfield at the same time with one or both running routes. I watched the playoff game vs the 49ers this past weekend on the NFL Network. That pass to Jones just before the half still pisses me off but is exactly what you're talking about.

Jones was lined up in the backfield as the single RB and just leaked out. Had Rodgers just put the ball 5 more yards to Jones left as he's running he'd caught it in stride and IMO walked into the endzone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2PymJK5QJQ

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Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2022 at 11:14 am

If Jones and Dillon are on the field at the same time, who do you envision as the other three skill position players? Three wides? A TE? Double TE?

I think our most successful personnel package has been 3 WRs, because it forces teams to play nickel, which means they have to defend the run 6 on 7. If we put Jones and Dillon on the field at the same time, what are we giving up? A blocking TE? A WR?

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:58 am

Maybe not more in the slot, but LaF does like to split him out wide or motion him wide to make the defense move pre-snap (they also like to line him up wide and motion him back into the backfield). Whatever the case, I think we see him on the field a lot, and that his snap counts increase as the Packers use him and Dillon together more in 21 personnel groupings to get their best playmakers on the field (and make defenses try to play run AND pass).

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 04:57 pm

I think lining both up in the backfield presnap like NP said and then motioning Jones out can get the LBs guessing. Doing that with a guy like Watson on field capable of taking a safety with him deep could lead to some light boxes for Dillon. They need to get the YPC up from 4.3 to 4.7-4.8 though. I grew up on 1980's NFL and there's not much I like more than watching a team run the ball when the other team can't stop it. But these days if you're not running it efficiently teams will let you run it all day.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 05:17 pm

Well said.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:53 am

Look at Alvin Kamara's numbers when he was playing alongside Mark Ingram in New Orleans. I think many people would be surprised to see that Kamara has never been a 1000-yard rushing back (usually in the 700-900 yard range), but he's caught more than 80 passes in 4 of his 5 seasons. AJones isn't the athlete Kamara is, but if he doesn't get dinged, 33 is in line for an Alvin Kamara type season in terms of catches.

"Lazard will get a lot of targets as will Jones and Dillon. I'd imagine Randall Cobb will see a big increase too. but after that I have no idea who gets the rock"

My expectation is that Lazard's numbers will go up, but not very much. He benefitted last season from catching a lot of Tonyan's passes after Tonyan got hurt. His fundamental role in the offense as a WR doesn't likely change very much with the shuffling of WRs...I think 60-750-8 is about all the more I'd expect.

I just don't expect Cobb to play any more than last year when he played about 1/3 of the offensive snaps (granted, he missed games due to injury, but I think none of us expects him to play 17 games this year). He'll be competing for slot snaps with other WRs, but also with TEs and RBs. There will have to be failures among the young WR and/or injuries for him to see much of an increase.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2022 at 03:26 pm

Adams got about 160 targets last year. I'd assume at least half of those will go to whoever is lining up in that spot the most....probably Watkins. I'd assume Lazard gets a 50% increase in targets, so that'll put him around 90, or 5 per game.

That'll leave 50 targets to spread around to other people, like Watson, Doubs, the TEs, etc.

I think Cobb is likely a gameday inactive for us. He's there at practice and in the meeting rooms, but if the 5 other guys....Lazard, Watkins, Watson, Amari and Doubs....are healthy, he'll be inactive. Of course, somebody is always hurt. He'll get snaps, but the Big 3 get the targets.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 05:21 pm

Jones has a much better yards per carry average than Kamara, 5.1 to 4.6, but Kamara has four seasons averaging over 8.5 yards per catch where Jones only has one.

Speaking of Kamara, I haven't heard anything about him being suspended, much less going to jail, for beating the hell out of some guy in Vegas when he was there for the Pro bowl. I'd think he'll be missing a couple games at the least.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:43 am

Keeping up with Mr Jones. Mannn, I really like #33 and is one dude that I will always cheer for...on the Packers hopefully or wherever he ends up after the season.

The Pack is/was fortunate to have him...

Go #33 Go!

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Swisch's picture

June 13, 2022 at 09:24 am

Good stuff, PB, Aaron Jones is one of those guys we do well to treasure.
***
Whatever the salary cap considerations and complexities. let's work with Jones to keep him with the Packers as long as possible.
***
I'm not so much concerned with the stats for Jones, but picking the best spots for him to excel.
While it is indeed important to get him plenty of touches, it's also important not to overwork him -- a delicate balance.
For some reason, Jones does seem to take a lot of hard hits that can be heard through television all the way to my home in Georgia -- so it'll be wise to utilize him with some care for his health.
***
It's worth repeating that Jones is one of those guys I hope to keep with the Packers for years to come.
In five years, I hope he's still a Packer even as a role player -- perhaps like Darren Sproles -- with a smaller salary that is still a win-win for him and the team.
After that, I hope he sticks around with the Packers as a coach or administrator or in some other meaningful capacity.
***
In general, when we get guys like Aaron Jones who are top players and persons, we want to embrace them their whole lives, with many visits back to Lambeau Field.
On that note, I'm really hoping that former Packers such as Dave Robinson, Chuck Mercein, Boyd Dowler, Carroll Dale, and others from the Lombardi Era are invited back sometime during 2022 -- and, if they can't make it, at least honored from afar -- as well as players from other stages in Packers history. (The 1962, 1972 , and 1982 teams would be timely, especially as all were successful.)
To me, it's almost impossible to appreciate these warriors too much.
May the Packers and Green Bay and Wisconsin and all of Packerdom be notable for our enduring friendship with our players. Good Midwestern hospitality and loyalty!!!

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Pantz_Burp's picture

June 13, 2022 at 12:44 pm

Hey Swisch

"I'm really hoping that former Packers such as Dave Robinson, Chuck Mercein, Boyd Dowler, Carroll Dale, and others from the Lombardi Era are invited back sometime during 2022 -- and, if they can't make it, at least honored from afar -- as well as players from other stages in Packers history"

I am going to term this the Swisch Wish! 👍✌️👌

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Swisch's picture

June 13, 2022 at 03:07 pm

I like it, PB.
Wisconsin may not have the glitter and the glamour -- although one could say that is mostly a good thing,
No oceans, but there are plenty of lakes, and abounding natural beauty.
Most of all, there is the heartland welcome and warmth that has made America great.
If we tap into that, and share it generously, remote Green Bay will be a premier destination for the kind of NFL players who appreciate the rare intangible of caring community.
Those are the guys we want, anyway, for the Packers.
The commercialism only goes so far, but the personal touch, if authentic, is lastingly precious.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 04:03 pm

NFL players follow the money. They'll go where they can get paid. All NFL teams have the same cap dollars to use.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 05:29 pm

And dobber shoots the warm fuzzies down like a slow moving clay pigeon! 🤣

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:14 pm

...it would have to be REALLY slow... ;)

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Swisch's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:28 pm

To keep the idealism flowing, perhaps I'll return to, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," for the nth time as we approach the Fourth of July.
Recently, I've been watching documentaries on Bobby Kennedy, about whom I don't know that much.
I'm also still working my way through a novel about Vince Lombardi, "Character is What Counts."
I'm all for money, but I need a lot more than that to get me out of bed each day.
I suspect there are other people looking for more.

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Rarescope's picture

June 13, 2022 at 05:30 pm

I’m with you Dobber. Sure players occasionally go where they want to (Adams to Vegas anyone?) but there will always be players on the market looking for a team, any team, who can pay them and/or give them a much needed shot in a new scheme. Seemed to work out pretty well for a few guys last year.

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mrtundra's picture

June 13, 2022 at 07:39 am

You should have added Sammy Watkins in the group who will benefit from Adams, MVS and ESB being gone. I think ARod will have a connection with him, early and often.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 09:11 am

My early prediction was that the Packers' leading pass catcher in 2022 would be AJones up around 80, with 2-3 other guys in the 50-60 range.

I agree that Watkins has a real chance to have a resurgence in GB if he can stay on the field. He's a very different WR than Adams, though, and his target depth will likely be deeper than 17. That will moderate his catch totals somewhat, but he immediately forces defenses to look a little deeper than they would with Adams running in that #1 spot. Watkins playing well right off the bat will go a long way toward opening up this Packers offense.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 13, 2022 at 11:24 am

I think Watkins's hopes to re-establish his career in GB will come with some modifications to his previous game.

Not having such a deep target range, working on his release, eliminating any drops... these are the things that will fit him into the MLF offense and make him a trusted and dependable target for AR.

From what I have heard from Watkins, he seems on board to do whatever he needs to do to get his career back on track and finish strong. I would venture to say that the talent is there and the motivation is there, let's just see if his body will allow him to accomplish his goals.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 01:10 pm

"From what I have heard from Watkins, he seems on board to do whatever he needs to do to get his career back on track and finish strong"

Adams was someone who could beat most CBs at the LOS and break open early, and even when he was covered, he was open. I don't think that's Watkins' game. This is part of where I think this offense changes: I think we see more stacked and bunched WRs to get guys open in the shallow zones because the Packers right now don't appear to have a WR who is pretty much always open (Adams). They're going to need to scheme this group open more...otherwise the OL needs to hold those blocks just a little bit longer to let these intermediate and downfield routes develop, and I that's where Watkins makes his money.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:46 pm

You better believe we're going to scheme guys open, and I also think the emphasis will be on getting the ball out of Rodgers' hands quickly. That way he doesn't get hit. It's going to be what the receiver does with the ball AFTER the catch that will really differentiate this group from last season, IMO.

These guys like Lazard and Watkins and Watson are hard guys to tackle, so you line up these three guys and the opponent has to play nickel or risk a big play from a broken tackle. That's only going to leave 6 in the box, where we counter with our TE, our offensive line, and our RB. That's 7 on 6.

I think the Packers are a Defensive Coordinator's nightmare, and your only hope is to overwhelm the offensive line and deny holes for the RB or time for Rodgers. If you can't do that, you're going to have a difficult time stopping this offense.

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Grandfathered's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:55 pm

This guy "Basaraski Productions" has two videos, one is 5 days old about what MLF and Rodgers say about Watkins, and the next a 3 day old video about about his route running skills. I think Watkins will be involved in the intermediate and short game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NARxR3Jfio0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32ZZwlUp-Aw&t=712s

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Leatherhead's picture

June 14, 2022 at 10:54 am

Thanks for that share. Watkins is a guy who can catch a short pass and break a tackle. I very much think his primary purpose is as a possession receiver who can convert 3rd and 6 for us.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 10:21 pm

If Watkins could do what he did with the Chiefs in 2019 but stay healthy all year I'd take it in a heartbeat. That would put him at 63 catches for 815 yards. Grow in a couple or three more TDs for 5 or 6 and that would really work.

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Jaqu’eau's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:35 am

Agree that AJones stands to benefit from a refocused offense. In fact, he should, as he is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the game. He is not just good right now, but great. But so does AJDillon. I don’t envision MLF departing from a division of opportunities from the two backs in favor of one over the other.
Do not agree that this receiving corps will be lacking in production. Watkins, Cobb, and Lazard alone make a solid core. Watkins especially has the potential to be dynamic with Arod. Add some modest amounts of explosive plays, even if only a threat over the top, from the new group along with the dual threat out of the back, add the TE group, there is more than enough talent to make this offense hum. I imagine every game will feature a different combination of ‘beneficiaries’ from Adams’ departure. This may be one of the most exciting Packers’ offenses to watch in a decade.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2022 at 09:03 am

"I don’t envision MLF departing from a division of opportunities from the two backs in favor of one over the other."

Especially early on, I think the Packers will put Jones and Dillon out there more together than they have in the past, if only to make defenses think: the Packers have rarely played 2 RB sets under LaF, which essentially makes these unscouted looks, and gets their best playmakers on the field. If Tonyan is slow coming back, I think this might be even more likely.

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Rarescope's picture

June 13, 2022 at 05:36 pm

Not with you on this one Dobber. I’m by no means an expert but I don’t think I’ve seen many two rb sets in the nfl period. I think this idea of putting AJ and AJ on the field together is fan fiction and not practical in the real world. Not saying it couldn’t work, just not holding my breath. I bet Arod could have a lot of fun with it though - I can see him at the line of scrimmage calling out the play “We’re going to AJ, to AJ!” And the defense looking at each other trying to figure out which one he means :D

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dobber's picture

June 14, 2022 at 09:03 am

I'd argue that right now, if you'd asked, "who are the Packers top 3 offensive playmakers?" (outside of ARod), Dillon and Jones would both be in that group. Jones gives you an outside running threat and Dillon is power between the tackles, but just because they put 2 backs on the field doesn't mean they're running a ground chuck offense--both of these backs are accomplished pass catchers, and I'd argue Jones is a really good one. The Packers play very little 21 personnel (or 2 RB sets of any type) historically. By saying they'll play Dillon and Jones together more, that might only be 5-8 snaps per game (10%), but there's a lot of versatility in that.

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hobowilly's picture

June 13, 2022 at 09:02 pm

thank-you. Yes, i think A Jones is a great player and a super teammate. I have written he is one of the very best picks GB has made in a decade (esp. where they got him!) and then him signing with the team "that gave me the opportunity". Who doesn't like how Aaron Jones is wired--he's great beyond the gridiron. Such a great blue collar worker!
Fully agree that the trio of Watkins, Cobb & Lazard can be dynamic. This delays the pressure on Watson as well. I think Watson has the mindset/skills/attitude to make it big in GB..what a great draft choice! Most knowledgable fans knew (let's say the pundits top 3 WR's would be gone by pick #22) and Gutey played it perfectly. Watson has time and has a great attitude. Surprising Gutey would focus on him. No way....he had him in his sights the whole first round. It's on AR to groove with him and visa -versa

My gut tells me one of those first rounders makes a fairly substantial impact his rookie season on the D. Both would be an absolute miracle, but highly unlikely.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2022 at 08:43 am

Jim Taylor's 81 TDs seems untouchable until you realize LaDanian Tomlinson scored 30 in one season. Jones has a real good nose for the endzone and I could see him scoring 20, which would put him in second place and within barking distance. Taylor also had over 10000 yards from scrimmage, and that's twice as much as Jones.

Some RBs play well even past 30. Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson, Curtis Martin. Maybe Jones is that guy. I'm not a fan of paying 2nd contracts to RBs and I think it's bad business, but Jones had a very good year last year and is a big part of our offense.

I'd disagree that he's the primary beneficiary of Adams departure. He and Dillon are going to split time as the engine of the offense, and others are going to pick up the 10 targets a game that Adams got.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:42 pm

I don't think it's the age as much as the usage. Curtis Martin is a good example. He's one of only 5 backs that have had 400 touches in a season more than twice in their careers. The others are Eric Dickerson, Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James and LaDanian Tomlinson. It takes a special back to take the kind of a pounding repeatedly and still be productive. Tomlinson also had 3 other seasons with over 390 touches. Crazy.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 14, 2022 at 11:04 am

You have to have a fantastic body to be an NFL RB, and you have to be extra special to keep doing it for a long period of time. The poundings hurt. Tony .Dorsett didn't like being on a 20 carry limit, but he thought it helped extend his career.

Is Jones that special?? I don't know, but I know he's only 26 and already has 5 seasons in. If he's as productive the next three years as he has been the last three, he'll be sitting at 90+ TDs by his 29th birthday.

My overall point is that it is entirely possible at this point that Jones IS that rare talent. Let's see what happens this year, but if he has a good season, it might be time to start the HOF watch. Hes at 53 TDs. Let's say he scores 17 TDs this year and ends the season at 70. He'd be in range, IMO.

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splitpea1's picture

June 13, 2022 at 11:36 am

It's certainly possible that Jones would be a big beneficiary, but I think the Packers would be very happy if they could continue to split his time roughly in half with Dillon. It all depends on how quickly the new receivers catch on and establish themselves in our offense. Jones did have that big 19 TD/1558 yards from scrimmage season, but you would really like to lessen his load and spread the ball around when it's feasible to do so.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 13, 2022 at 06:48 pm

1558 yards from scrimmage isn't really a huge workload. Najee Harris had 1667 last year and both his yards per carry and yards per catch were pretty pitiful. He had 100 more yards but needed a boatload more touches to get there. I think Chris Johnson had over 2500 yards from scrimmage one year. That's the kind of workload that can shorten a RBs career. But there have been 70 times a back has gone over 2000 yards from scrimmage in a season so it's really not rare.

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