Brad Menendez | Dec 15, 2018 | 0
Aaron Jones Has Arrived!
The 2016 season was a challenging year at the running back position for the Green Bay Packers. Eddie Lacy was injured and ineffective when healthy, James Starks was taking one last crack at it and converted WR Ty Montgomery showed some promise.
Entering the 2017 NFL entry draft, it was clear that the Green Bay Packers would attempt to address the need at RB. In the 4th round they selected Jamaal Williams out of BYU, and in the 5th round, the Packers used a compensatory pick on UTEP’s Aaron Jones. The Packers added these two backs to the mix and throw them together with Ty Montgomery for 2017. The three-headed monster approach was for the most part unsuccessful in 2017 as the team was a shell of itself without Aaron Rodgers for most of the season.
After injuries to Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams, Arron Jones made his debut in week 4 of 2017. Jones rushed 13 times for 49 yards and scored his first career touchdown. The following week in his first professional start, Jones carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards and another touchdown. Jones was slowed the reminder of his rookie season by an injury to both his knees. After week 5 Jones appeared in 7 games and was limited to 49 carries for 233 yards. In total, Aaron Jones appeared in 12 games in his rookie season starting 4 of them. He finished the season with a line of 81/448/4 with 9 catches for 22 yards. Williams appeared in all 16 games for the Packers in 2017 and finished with 153/556/4 adding 25 catches for 262 and two more touchdowns. Ty Montgomery appeared in only 8 games and totaled 71/273/3 along with 23/173/1 receiving.
Entering the 2018 season it appeared that the Packers backfield would comprise of the same trio and remain a running back by committee approach. As the summer progressed things started to change, Jones was suspended for 2 games for violation of the league substance abuse policy and in training camp suffered a hamstring injury. The backfield started to look like it was Williams’ job with Montgomery in the change of pace third down role. Williams started the first 5 weeks and posted 53/195/0 (3.6 YPC). Montgomery appeared in parts of the first 6 weeks and did little prior to being traded at the deadline to Baltimore.
Jones returned from suspension in week 2 and averaged 8 carries and 47 yards from weeks 3 through 6. It appeared clear to everyone that Aaron Jones is the most talented back on the Packers roster and all he needed was touches. In the three weeks after the Packers week 6 bye week, Jones has averaged 13.7 touches and 102 yards per game. Jones exploded in week 10 with 14/145/2 on the ground and 3/27 via the pass. Jones leads the NFL in yards per carry (6.8), this season and has seen his that total increase (7.5 YPC) with the added workload the past 3 weeks.
Jones has been held back in his brief career by injury, suspension, and his head coach. The injuries healed, the suspension ended, but the bullheaded Mike McCarthy remained. After the last three weeks, there can no longer be any question as to who the Packers lead back is. Aaron Jones is an RB that thrives on workload. He has appeared in 19 games over the course of this season and last. In 8 of those contests he has had 10 or more touches and in 11 he has had less than 10 touches. When Jones touches the ball more than 10 times his yards per carry increases to 6.28 yards from 5.62. Both numbers are exceptional, but most backs see their YPC decease with the increased workload.
Aaron Jones is only 23-year-old and is primed to finish this season strong. He is an RB2 currently with serious RB1 upside in 2019, now that he has the support of his coach and two less RB’s in his way.