The Green Bay Packers offense has a new quarterback heading into 2023. Based on Matt LaFleur’s recent comments on “The Playcallers” podcast, it sounds like this means that his offense will finally be what he envisioned it also could be. This means that running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will get a larger workload, which should be exciting to Packers fans.
Earlier this offseason, Jones and Dillon were ranked as the best running back duo in the NFL. The question, though, remains: will they live up to such grade expectations? One Green Bay Packers insider thinks so.
Will Green Bay Packers Running Backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon Live Up to Expectations?
In his most recent “mailbag” article for Packers.com, insider Wes Hodkiewicz wrote of the pair:
“I think Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will meet the high expectations we all have for the position, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the No. 3 running back also gets in on the fun this season. Since the beginning, Matt LaFleur has talked about the value of having three running backs with varying strengths. Patrick Taylor, Goodson, and Lew Nichols each possess unique gifts to help elevate Green Bay’s run game.”
In 2021, both Jones and Dillon eclipsed 1,000 all-purpose yards. Last year, Jones ran for a career-high 1,121 yards while Dillon came just 24 yards shy of 1,000 all-purpose yards for the season.
However, while Dillon had seven rushing touchdowns in 2022, Jones had just two. The expectation is that they will both get more opportunities inside the redzone and score more. With Rodgers no longer under center, there is a great chance that they will both increase those touchdown numbers in 2023.
Remember, in 2019, when LaFleur had a little more control over the offense, Jones scored 16 rushing touchdowns, and 19 overall. While it is unfair to suggest that the expectation for Jones is to lead the NFL in scores like he did in 2019, it is reasonable to suggest that he is among the league-leaders.
Addressing the Green Bay Packers’ Third Running Back Spot
Hodkiewicz named three players, Patrick Taylor, Tyler Goodson, and Lew Nichols, as candidates for the team’s third running back position. Taylor has been with the team for two years now, and Goodson was an undrafted free agent signing last year. Nichols was taken in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft and has been studying Jones for years.
Last year, the Packers took just two running backs on their initial 53 man roster, though Taylor was active for 14 regular season games. That being said, he received only 10 rushing attempts all year.
One of the most interesting battles to watch in training camp and preseason games will be for this third running back spot. Goodson played well last preseason and spent the entire year on Green Bay’s practice squad.
While none of the candidates is seen as the favorite right now, one has to assume the Packers will hang onto two of them at the most when it comes to final roster cuts and practice squad signings. Taylor, as mentioned, has seen game action, but has not been productive enough for the Packers to feel comfortable not brining in other options.
At the very least, the Packers have Jones and Dillon to rely on in 2023. However, both could be in their final season with Green Bay, making the development and play of these three a very important part of the Packers’ season.