The Green Bay Packers did not have a very good overall performance in their 25-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Despite having a 12-point lead going into the fourth quarter, the team failed to pick up any first downs while also allowing Atlanta to score four times.
Clearly, there was plenty of blame to go around as to why the Packers were unable to hold on for the victory. Among those that have received the most blame from fans are defensive coordinator Joe Barry and running back AJ Dillon. Barry received criticism for the defense’s inability to stop the run and Dillon because of his lackluster running.
Packers Hall of Famer Gilbert Brown, though, has a very different view on Dillon’s performance on Sunday. On the show Go Dads Go with Gilbert Brown, he points to the coaching staff and play calls as reasons behind Dillon’s performance (15 carries for 55 yards).
Green Bay Packers Legend Gilbert Brown Defends AJ Dillon Amid Criticism from Fans
Social media has not been kind to AJ Dillon since the game in Atlanta ended. Frustrations among the fanbase are high despite the knowledge that this is a young team and that hard lessons need to be learned in order for them to improve.
While many are pointing the finger at Dillon, Gilbert Brown thinks those fingers should be pointed elsewhere:
“You know what, you got to break the game down, man. There’s a lot of people, like some of these reporters, don’t really understand or watch the game. You know what I mean? You just going to sit there and point it out, but what you got to do is analyze x’s and o’s.
“And you also got to get on the coaches, too, because you cannot give AJ Dillon the plays that you give Aaron Jones. This is plain and simple. Know what I’m saying?
“You got two young backs back there. If Aaron Jones is out, you leave AJ Dillon where he belongs and put one of those backs back there to do what he is supposed to do.
“AJ Dillon is full back in old school terms. And then, you have to look at our offensive line. Our offensive line is pass blockers. That is their forte. Pass blocking. We got no run blockers where we going to move people out of the way. We’re going to smokescreen you to get the job done.
“But then again, it goes back to Aaron Jones and how great of a back he is. I’m not saying he’s Barry Sanders, but Barry Sanders never had an offensive line. He made something out of nothing.”
So, there were two other factors that need to be considered when discussing Dillon’s performance. First, the coaches, Matt LaFleur in particular, need to call plays that are catered to Dillon instead of relying on him to do what Jones does in plays designed for Jones.
Secondly, the offensive line did a terrible job run blocking. According to PFF, Josh Myers had the highest run blocking grade (66.4) of any Packers offensive linemen:
- Yosh Nijman: 62.6
- Elgton Jenkins: 62.3
- Jon Runyan: 54.0
- Rasheed Walker: 53.7
- Royce Newman: 47.9
- Zach Tom: 43.6
For those unfamiliar with PFF, those grades are well below average. Dillon is not a finesse back like Jones. LaFleur should have designed and called better plays that used Dillon to his strengths instead of trying to force him and the offensive line to be something they’re not.