Aaron Jones

The Evolution of Aaron Jones

  • Aaron Jones
  • Green Bay
  • Packers
By The Brawl Network February 28, 2020 0 Comment
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By Jenelle Mackie

Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and Ty Montgomery… Just three seasons ago, these were the Packers running backs. It seems like an eternity ago that these were the players we were watching Rodgers hand the ball off to, but now, it’s a whole new era of running backs in Green Bay.

 

In the 2017 draft, Ted Thompson, who also makes it feel like this was an eternity ago, drafted two running backs. Jamaal Williams in the fourth round with the 134th overall pick, and Aaron Jones in the fifth round with the 182nd overall pick. Williams has gone on to be a great number two behind Jones, who had a breakout year in 2019. 

 

Jones’ Early Years

In his rookie year, Jones was averaging 5.5 yards per carry, with 448 yards and 4 touchdowns on the season. Not star numbers, but not bad either considering he only started in four of those games. He still had a lot to prove though. Unfortunately for Jones, he hit a bit of a speed bump early in his career. During the summer following his rookie season, he was suspended without pay for the first two games of the 2018 season due to violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. This was a consequence from an incident leading back to October of 2017. There is never a good time for this issue to occur with a player, but it never looks good on a young guy trying to prove himself to the league, and to his team.“I accept it, take responsibility for it, and regret the mistake that I made during the 2017 season which led to the punishment, I apologize to all impacted and promise that this will never happen again and when I touch the field again it’s going to be special.”

And special it was…

In the 2018 season, the Packers and their fans got a taste of what Jones was truly capable of out on the field. The team had three running backs on roster going into the season with Jones, Williams, and Montgomery. Jones missed the first two weeks due to suspension, and Montgomery was cut late October. Amid all the chaos that was going on at the running back position throughout the season, Jones was still able to start 8 games with 133 rushing attempts, 728 yards and 9 totals touchdowns, 8 rushing and 1 receiving. Jones was starting to show promise, but fans demanded more. McCarthy wasn’t giving Jones the touches that fans thought he deserved, and instead was having to share a lot of touches with Williams, who had 121 rushing attempts. 

 

The 2019 Season

After the 2018 season, there was no doubt Jones was the number one guy for Rodgers to hand the ball off to. Entering the 2019 season, the Packers were under new leadership with Matt LaFleaur being named the new head coach.  With new coaching came a new opportunity for the offense. With Rodgers under center, the Packers offense is always a threat, but now, Rodgers has extra help in the back field. Jones had 236 rushing attempts, over 100 more than the previous year. He also had 1,084 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. It wasn’t just the ground game though that opposing defenses had to worry about though. Jones also had 49 receptions for 474 yards and 3 touchdowns in the air. The previous years, Jones had 35 combined receptions for a total of 228 yards and 1 touchdown. When I watched Jones early on, he wasn’t as good with his hands, and I would say to myself, “If he can learn to catch the ball, he will be an even bigger threat on the field” and I’d like to think I was right in thinking that after watching him this last season. Not only did Jones have outstanding stats in his breakout year, but he also had the most rushing touchdowns of anyone on the season. The Packers have not had the lead touchdown rusher since Jim Taylor in 1962. 

 

The way Aaron Jones has been playing has drastically helped the Packers offense. Aaron Rodgers has had to take the reigns for the past few years, but with Jones playing at such an elite level, it helps relieve Rodgers of some of those pressures knowing he has a high-level back to hand-off to. Rodgers and the offense don’t have to rely so heavily on the air game anymore, but when they do run a pass-play, Jones is still an option to look for. With Aaron^2 standing behind the offensive line, there is a lot of promise for the Packers.

 

The transformation of Aaron Jones has just begun, and with him heading into a contract year, I think I speak for all of us when I say we are excited to see him continue to prove the doubters wrong. 

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