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Jones Makes Instant Case for Larger Role in Packers Offense

Though the Green Bay Packers have struggled to establish an identity on offense in the season’s early goings, Sunday’s game feels like one they’ll go back to as a guide. 
 
It’s worth qualifying a few things, though: Green Bay’s offensive output was good, not exemplary, and between the overall number of plays and yards per play, there’s certainly room for improvement.  Also, it’s not as though Dallas has a top-flight defense. 
 
That said, the instant emergence of rookie running back Aaron Jones provided a much-needed spark and eased pressure on an offense cast early in comeback mode. Having thought (and written, Exhibit A, Exhibit B) for months about the type of player Jones could be as a pro, Sunday was an absolute treat. 
 
En route to 125 rushing yards on 19 carries, Jones was at full speed out of the backfield, in and out of arm tackles and cutbacks, and in beating defenders around the edge. At 5-foot-9 and a shade under 210 pounds, Jones provides a shiftiness not found elsewhere on the roster. When you couple his agility with good vision, high football intelligence and a willingness and ability to break tackles, your left with a skill set that’s tailor-made for Green Bay’s offense. 
 
Jones outgained Ezekiel Elliott by nine yards and did so on 10 fewer carries. His lone catch, a diving grab for nine yards, converted a vital first down deep in Cowboys territory. His long run of 22 yards is the longest for the Packers this season. Though Rodgers was sacked four times, Jones doesn’t appear to have been the culprit. 
 
Sunday’s performance wasn’t one where Jones simply acquitted himself well and proved he belongs in the backfield rotation. Rather, Jones’ performance cemented the Packers’ need to get him touches. If that means leapfrogging Jamaal Williams, selected a round higher than Jones and better suited to pass protection, so be it. Jones led Packers running backs in the preseason and his first true test on Sunday he passed with glowing marks. 
 
Ty Montgomery’s eventual return from broken ribs shouldn’t foment a controversy. Montgomery is a valuable dual-threat and has Aaron Rodgers’ trust—particularly as a receiver. In other words, he’s not going anywhere. But as teams continue to attack Green Bay’s musical chairs offensive line, the Packers have a need for a running back like Jones who gives them a different dimension. 
 
When the Packers were at their best offensively on Sunday, Rodgers ran the show by keying on the hot hand, Davante Adams, while getting everyone else involved: Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and all three tight ends. Make him do that 45 times a game, though, and there are more chances for negative plays and short drives. When the Packers were at their worst on Sunday, they were simply without the ball. In actuality, Jones’ 125 rushing yards were worth much more because gave the Packers balance. 
 
Should Jones be able to replicate some of the same magic against Minnesota’s top-flight defense, Rodgers and his receivers will surely benefit. 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

GBPDAN1's picture

It was refreshing to see our running game come alive yesterday. This offense puts even more stress on a D when the D has to worry about run and pass. Looking forward to getting Bak and Montgomery back, to go along with the mass weapons at WR and TEs! This O will be scoring 30-40 a game moving forward ( baring major injuries). The offense is trickling out of preseason mode and into midseason mode.

4-1 after all these injuries is amazing. I hope the 4 injured players from yesterday are short term issues and we start to lose the injury demon for the second half of the season. This team can make some serious noise in the playoffs. Just need to stay realitivly healthy.

Pauly's picture

Devante MAYS in pre-season looked like a larger, quick version of A. Jones. I would like to see him get a shot soon. If Mays works out as 2nd RB, I can see in 2018 Monty replacing Cobb at slot receiver where he should do well as a big, elusive, talented, open field receiver/runner who can also run the ball in a pinch.
Unfortunately TT needs Cobb's 10 million to pay AR.
Next step to spread the defense farther will to be to add some deep threat pass routes for Davis like Cole Beasley demonstrated.

Lphill's picture

Let's see how Jones runs against the Vikings defense which is far better than the Cowboys , then we will have a better idea .

Jonathan Spader's picture

Cobb's 2018 Cap Hit $12,750,000 Dead Cap- $3,250,000

Very real chance that even after how good Cobb has looked this year that he does get cut in 2018. When Monty was drafted he was called a "bigger stronger Randall Cobb". Once again a lot of tough decisions for the Packers.

4thand1's picture

Any kind of a running game makes AR better. How better can he get?

4thand1's picture

Any kind of a running game makes AR better. How better can he get?

Packer Fan's picture

This is really good for the Packers. No way do I want them to wear down Montgomery and lose him again. There are still 11 games to play. And you have another weapon for Rodgers that teams have to account for. Share playing time with two effective RB's.

al bundy's picture

I know there are some coaches in college and the pros who like a running back mix. One big back with power and a smaller back with speed and quickness. They will intersperse the two to keep defenses off balance.
Bellychck does this.
MM is more for sticking with one guy and relieving that person for short rest.
I see MM sticking to monty as the main guy and filling in with jones and wiliams.

dnicholson's picture

I think that's fair, but Starks and Lacy were certainly different in style. Same with Grant/Jackson/Starks. The key here is Jones earned additional playing time. He's going to get touches moving forward, which is saying something since he only played at all because of injuries.

I think he's the purest RB on the roster in terms of skill set and match with what they do, so hopefully he gets 10-15 touches a game.

I'd actually love to see a shotgun 2 RB backfield where either one motions out. Motion TY to slot and you're left with basically a traditional shotgun package of RB, TE and three WRs. Just a thought.

baldski's picture

Looking at Jones record at UTEP, he can catch too! 30 catches one year and 28 for another. I do not know how good the QB's were at UTEP, but Monty and him could be dual threats.

Patric Moncada's picture

Let's see how well Ty runs with a functional right side of the O-Line... Again, I think Jones is the better 2nd back -BEHIND- Ty (when healthy) solely because Ty has done what Jones just did in the past, and hasn't had much of an opportunity this year with a shaky line.

A lot of Jones bigger runs that helped his average/total were behind a guy named Bryan Bulaga who we haven't had for Ty at all this year let alone Bak.

Spock's picture

Can't wait for when Monty is healthy and we have both him and Jones available. It's (almost)as much fun to watch a great run as it is to watch Arod's magic! By the way anyone who liked to read Vic Ketchman's column at the Packers official site might want to read his column he's doing now since he retired. Yeah, it's really him.
http://www.askvic.us/

dobber's picture

I loved what he said about the "kneel-down on the 1 yd line" becoming a staple, heady play--maybe as much as a RB or WR staying inbounds to keep the clock moving--in this era of quick-strike offenses and athletic QBs.

Still, I go back to what *ULP* Skip Bayless said yesterday and I tend to agree: sometimes you've got to take your scores when you can get them. What if Prescott kneels at the 1, then Dallas gets a false-start or hold on the next play? A fumble? Zeke gets his knee rolled up? Good or bad, sometimes you need to ask your defense to make a lead stand up.

I know Norm on Sunday issued mabye the first call for MM to let Dallas score at about the 2 minute mark. I said that with the 4 point lead and the ball on the 20, I wanted to let the defense try to win it. I was clearly wrong (although I don't think they LET Dallas score that TD).

Handsback's picture

I didn't see the game except for the 4th qtr. I've seen the numbers and the highlights of AJ's efforts. To me...he's Monty lite. Maybe quicker to the hole and knows which hole to run through. Between the two, they will be thorns in the side of defenses. The pass that Jones caught along the sideline, was one of the more remarkable feats from Sunday. Don't kid yourself...having a RB that can do what those two can makes the defense account for them all over the field.

Now having some pounders to finish games, won't be an issue since they already have them on the roster.

Johnblood27's picture

Dont get me wrong, I really like both Monty and Jones.

I think Monty belongs in the slot or perhaps even outside ala James Jones, another strong good RAC WR.

Jones has 1 (ONE) good game behind him. I really like what I see, and I certainly hope he continues on his current trajectory...

But...

Devante Mays may be the real "next big thing".

I wouldlike to see Mays get some significant first half carries vs minny to see what he has as well as soften up that tuff minny defense for a Packer dominated second half scoring outburst.

Mays has great feet and is a real load to bring down. He can get to the corner and also move the pile inside.

Like I said, I really like both Monty and Jones, but if Mays can become our hammer and Jones continue being productive with an expanded package for flexible formations and versatile performance match ups with Monty and Jones, this offense will be truly dynamic.

Please, no more injuries.

Johnblood27's picture

TT sure sux at picking defense, but oh wow, when he takes offense he sure gets it right!

OL this year, followed by a dynamic TE. Then let Wolf pick some mid and late round defensive gems.

Otto's picture

Aaron Rodgers with a legit play-action-pass threat is scary. Defenses losing sleep, cold sweats scary.

Did anyone else see a little Maurice Jones Drew in Aaron Jones? Body types are similar, but the way he gets low running through traffic reminded me MJD.

dobber's picture

I can't remember who it was who described MJD in is prime as a "bowling ball covered with razor blades".

I think MJD was only about 5'8", but I could go for one of those...

Tundraboy's picture

Mays.Seems like a shiftier, faster Lacy. Let's find out sooner rather than later. Minnesota would be a perfect test and opportunity. And as a compliment to Jones not a replacement!

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