QB Aaron Rodgers: Packers ‘just kind of scratching the surface’ with Aaron Jones
The Green Bay Packers took a big step forward in solving their offensive woes during their 27-10 victory over the Chicago Bears, and the answer proved to be exactly what the team preached all week — committing to the running game behind the “electric” Aaron Jones after he logged a meager eight touches during the team’s Week 1 shellacking at the hand of the Vikings.
Jones announced himself as Green Bay’s most prolific weapon Sunday night. The seven-year veteran consistently danced between defenders and spun off contact for extra yards, ending the game with 18 touches, 170 total yards, two touchdowns and a glimpse of how the new-look Packers offense might develop as the season progresses.
“He can do a lot of things. Obviously, he’s a great running back,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of Jones, who had 132 yards rushing on 15 carries. “Good vision, slasher. I think he’s way more elusive in and through contact than obviously you would guess. Bounces off a lot of tackles, got a really nice stiff arm with both arms. Good ball security. And then the whole other part in the passing game, his ability to run routes and get open and then do little things — fly sweeps and different things. We’re just kind of scratching the surface I think with him, which is fun. But obviously there was an emphasis on getting [Jones and AJ Dillon] the ball early and often tonight.”
Chicago’s defense knew head coach Matt Lafleur’s game plan going into the matchup and stacked the box early on with only one safety high, but Jones and Dillon were too strong a pair behind an improved offensive line that had been bolstered by the return of Elgton Jenkins.
While Dillon provided his normal dose of punishment to the tune of 61 yards on 18 hard-nosed carries, Jones proved difficult to get a handle time and again on his way to 8.8 yards per carry and 72 total yards over expected, per Next Gen Stats.
“I tell you what, Aaron Jones, man, he was absolutely electric,” LaFleur told reporters after the game. “Every time I think he was going down, he’d somehow find a way and squirt his way through. He’s just a helluva competitor. He’s a guy that just embodies everything that you want in a football player.”
For the Packers to keep momentum heading into a Week 3 game against a Buccaneers team they have struggled against in recent matchups, they must continue digging into the playbook on the ground and through the air for Jones and Dillon.
It won’t always be as efficient as Sunday, but continuing to open things up for the thunder-and-lightning duo is the surest approach to manufacturing a passing game as Rodgers navigates a wide receiving corps that boasts a mix of youth and inexperience.
Jones made that abundantly clear tonight — Rodgers posted a 131.1 rating while benefitting from Jones’ effortless-looking output compared to his 67.6 rating against Minnesota.
Although the tone of the lessons learned from Week 2 is brighter and more geared toward staying the course than a need for sizable tweaks, the message remains the same as a week prior: Do not stop feeding Jones.
“He’s a guy that obviously we have to get involved each and every week,” LaFleur said. “He just does an outstanding job.”
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