3 reasons why Aaron Jones needs more touches in 2023

The news of Aaron Jones' restructure had me wondering about his usage in 2022 - and why he needs the ball even more next season.

Has Aaron Rodgers seen the light yet?

That's about the extent of the latest news for the Green Bay Packers lately.

In all seriousness, there was the semi-recent news of Aaron Jones restructuring his contract to lessen the cap hit for 2023 and keep him in Titletown for the upcoming season.

I, myself, am a fan of the move. It helps with the salary cap. It keeps a top-class player, both on and off the field, in Green Bay. It's a relief to whoever the starting quarterback is to have Jones in the backfield.

The news of his restructure had me wondering about his usage in 2022 and just how limited it was.

In my honest opinion, Aaron Jones was the best player on the offensive side of the football last season.

But there were multiple games that he just didn't get the ball enough.

Now, at the end of December, it was reported that Jones had been dealing with various injuries involved with the lower half of his body, which limited both his practice time and in-game opportunities in the second half of the season.

However, when he was in the game, he didn't seem too limited. He still looked just as shifty and explosive as usual.

His end-of-season total statistics really don't look that different from years past. In fact, Jones had the second-most carries (213) and most rushing yards (1,121) of his career in 2022. So why, you ask, does Jones need more carries if some totals were on-par, if not better, than the past?

1.The Packers played better when Aaron Jones was involved

This is the biggest reason for pounding on the "Aaron Jones should get more touches" table.

The Packers were 5-1 in games that Aaron Rodgers handed the ball off 14 or more times to Aaron Jones in 2022. (The one loss was at Buffalo on Sunday Night Football).

To date this back even further, the Packers are, over the years, 34-4 overall when Jones gets 15 or more touches.

The offense just plays better when 33 is involved. The proof is in the pudding.

2. Players and coaches alike say Jones needs the ball more

"We gotta get Aaron Jones the ball more. When he touches the ball, good things happen. He breaks tackles - he's probably our most elusive guy with the football in his hands." - Aaron Rodgers in October.

"Anytime Aaron Jones comes out of a game with eight touches, that's not good enough." - Matt LaFleur in September.

"We've got to be - I'm talking to myself - more disciplined in our approach in terms of making sure that they get the necessary touches throughout the course of the game." - LaFleur.

3. Overcomplication was the death of the Packers offense in 2022

I can't remember how many times it was third and short and the Packers decided to take a deep shot this fall. It was maybe the most frustrating thing that the offense repeatedly did.

In the same sense, the Packers struggled in goal-to-go situations last season. How much better would the offense had been if the Packers just turned and handed the ball off to Aaron Jones or AJ Dillon in 2023 in some of those situations?

Jones finished his season with only two rushing touchdowns, which was the least amount of rushing touchdowns in his six year career with Green Bay.

I'm aware there were multiple times that Dillon came in and took those redzone rushing scores, but the fact that Jones had only two all season is borderline criminal.

I don't think it's exactly rocket science. I believe that Jones is one of the better running backs in the league. I also believe that the Packers are doing their offense a disservice if he doesn't get the touches he deserves next season.

Go Pack Go!

__________________________

Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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5 points
 

Comments (35)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 22, 2023 at 12:21 pm

Agree Rodger needs more touches, and I particularly want to see him on the receiving end of more Jordan Love passes. AJ is a threat as a receiver that opens up the offense.

This summer I want to see a lot more of Tyler Goodson. He looked good as a receiver. A young Jordan Love is going to need a good running game, so I strongly hope the Packers draft a RB with similar traits of AJ with a 4th or 5th round pick this year. The RB stable is deep and should AJ go down there is no one who can relace him and the whole offense will have to change. Can Goodson be that guy now that Hill is gone? Hoping for that RB in the draft as AJ is likely gone after the 2023 season.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 22, 2023 at 12:30 pm

To add on to the aforementioned...should Jordan Love be the starter my hope is the Packers add quality draft picks at WR, TE, OL, and RB in the 2023 draft. The reason is it usually takes these young players a couple of years to develop & grow into their positions. I'd like to see the nucleus of a talented offensive juggernaut be assembled NOW, so they can grow and evolve together vs being piecemealed together over the next several years.

3 points
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crayzpackfan's picture

February 22, 2023 at 02:03 pm

I live in Iowa. Have seen many of his games. Honestly, the only thing he needs to improve is his blocking while being less hesitant at the LOS. His receiving skills are well above average. His speed and open field skills are very good. Hopefully these goofy coaches we have find him a spot.

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bjkdad44's picture

February 22, 2023 at 07:52 pm

Who’s he??

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golfpacker1's picture

February 22, 2023 at 07:42 pm

2 running backs I really like in this draft are Devon Achane-Texas A&M. He is an Aaron Jones clone only he runs fast,4.29 and catches the ball really good. He is probably a late 2nd or 3rd rounder and we need other positions so much more that early. The other would be more likely a 4th or 5th rounder and that is Eric Gray-Oklahoma. A little bigger @ 5'10 210lbs. He runs in
4.45 range. He catches the ball really well and breaks alot of tackles. He is my favorite RB.
Either guy would let us move on next year from Jones and if he is healthy could get us a 3rd rounder in a trade. Save $10 million on cap.
Hey if we trade Rodgers and Bakhtiari and move back to late 1st early 2nd rounds plus whatever other picks we score in 2nd and 3rd rounds we could get healthy roster and cap wise in a hurry.

2 points
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T7Steve's picture

February 22, 2023 at 12:36 pm

Do you think we could get a link to MLF during the games? CHTV would be better at getting Jones involved and where his plays should go (after we choose the starting line.

That would look good too. Publicly owned and coordinated, Green Bay Packers

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MainePackFan's picture

February 22, 2023 at 01:34 pm

lol, it would take 3 days and 200 messages for us all to agree on one play call.

6 points
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T7Steve's picture

February 22, 2023 at 02:07 pm

It would not! LOL

1 points
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MainePackFan's picture

February 22, 2023 at 03:01 pm

LOL! I see what you did there ;)

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croatpackfan's picture

February 22, 2023 at 12:46 pm

We all knows who, despite speaking favorable about AJ, is the one who take ball out of Aaron Jones hands.

7 points
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Packerpasty's picture

February 22, 2023 at 12:54 pm

Not many NFL offenses fun through the RB position anymore...great player but pump the brakes on making a running. back the focal point of the offense like some seem to want...and then theres those big game fumbles....ugh...

2 points
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murf7777's picture

February 22, 2023 at 04:34 pm

Your right pasty.....the NFL is a passing league. That's not to say you're not using the RB's.....they're just not the focal point like in the ol' days.

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croatpackfan's picture

February 23, 2023 at 08:38 am

Interesting point is that the latest SB team (Eagles) came to SB basically through run game and the latest NFCCG was between 2 teams that prefer running game.

Is that odd?

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4thand10's picture

February 23, 2023 at 07:41 pm

49ers make running a focal point. Philly makes it a focal point and when the packers were running it more…they won games. You have to be able to run the ball at will to be a contender. It’s all complimentary football.

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PatrickGB's picture

February 22, 2023 at 12:58 pm

One of the reasons Jones has been successful over time is that he has been underutilized. Most running backs decline with overuse. Also when teams focus on Aaron Rodgers that can often open up the run game. So using Jones more works best when there is the threat of the pass. So it’s not just a matter of using him more. Having wrote that I also think that there have been too many times when he should have been used more but they play was not called. Perhaps that was on Rodgers and perhaps that was on the coaching and maybe even it was on a lack of confidence on the lineman who were filing in when the starters were hurt.

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T7Steve's picture

February 22, 2023 at 01:30 pm

And vice-versa. Run to pass, Pass to run. Have to have balance in the NFL. But, get a lead and pound the ball successfully when they know you're going to run. Kind of like what teams have been doing to us.

2 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

February 22, 2023 at 12:59 pm

I think there really is only 1 reason why Jones needs more touches.

- Common Sense

7 points
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CheesedDeadHead's picture

February 22, 2023 at 01:23 pm

"Overcomplication was the death of the Packers offense in 2022"

I don't think there was anything overcomplicated about the 2022 Packers offense. It was so predictable and vanilla that most defenses feasted on the playcalling. Not throwing to the middle of the field and emphasizing passes behind or near the line of scrimmage isn't complicated, it's malpractice.

12 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

February 22, 2023 at 01:36 pm

Agreed. I think we witnessed the oversimplification of the illusion of complexity, especially in the Red Zone.

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Coldworld's picture

February 22, 2023 at 02:46 pm

I’m not sure I agree that Jones needs to carry the ball a lot more than he was when healthy. I do think that how and when he gets the ball needs to be more central to the game plan and then used more strategically in light of what the opponent is doing/how successful he is. Where he can also be better exploited is in the dual threat aspect of his game and that’s not merely numbers but how. I think he’s a guy that may thrive from a more varied offense and personnel usage.

3 points
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4thand10's picture

February 23, 2023 at 07:44 pm

Exactly Coldworld.

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jont's picture

February 22, 2023 at 03:00 pm

This is a recurring mystery in Green Bay. When McCarthy was coach we had this exact same conversation. "Give it to Jones more!" It seemed obvious then, it seems obvious now. That this is still an issue is on my list of things I simply do not understand.

6 points
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Guam's picture

February 22, 2023 at 03:39 pm

The common thread between the McCarthy era and the Lafleur era is Rodgers. A HOF QB wants the ball in his hands. It is hard to take the ball out of the hands of that caliber of player. Does that take the ball out of Aaron Jones' hands? Yes. Is that good or bad? Hard to say. There is only one ball, how balanced should the offense be?

3 points
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croatpackfan's picture

February 22, 2023 at 03:45 pm

Last season it looks, at least to me, that giving the ball to the hands of "that caliber of player" was the reason why Packers finished behind Lions at the end.

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Guam's picture

February 23, 2023 at 09:48 am

Agreed he didn't play like a hall of famer last year, but in his mind he still believes he can play at that level and he is the guy adjusting play calls at the line. That means he is going to call his number more than he will call Jones. Just a fact of life with an aging superstar.

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MainePackFan's picture

February 22, 2023 at 07:02 pm

Well said Guam.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

February 22, 2023 at 05:30 pm

! week ago we were talking his release.
Now we're talking about getting him more touches.
Gone--

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 22, 2023 at 07:10 pm

I agree that Jones is our best offensive weapon and should get the ball more than anybody else, and he does.

. 285 plays last year....out of 1051....went to Jones. That's 27% Now you add in Dillon. who had 225 plays, and that's another 21%. That's 48% of your plays are going to the backs. So in a game where you have 62 snaps....our average.....that's 30 plays in a game.

A few snaps might be kneel downs or sack or QB scramble, so what you have left is what our WRs and TEs are competing for....maybe 25-30 opportunities. You'd want to give Watson opportunities, so now we're down to a bunch of guys sharing 20 opportunities. Tonyan got 4 chances/game, so now the rest are carving up 16. That's Deguara, Doubs, Toure, Melton and anybody else we'd add.

IMO, the solution is not adding more weapons, it's making the weapons we have more effective by blocking better. Tonyan with 75 catches? Watson with 100? Jones and Dillon with 2500 total yards of offense? And that's without adding any of these guys in the draft that we covet.

In the early part of the season, I'd spread the ball around and try to keep Jones healthy, but when November rolls around, he should be fed, especially when we get closer to the goal line because he's good at getting in.

3 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 22, 2023 at 07:44 pm

I think you need only one reason; he's being paid like a bell cow and should be used as such. That means 15 carries and 5 or 6 targets a game.

5 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 22, 2023 at 09:15 pm

I think that will be the plan right up until the trade deadline. Obviously, depending on what happens with AR12 and our season, I think Aaron Jones could be traded at the deadline.

If we draft another RB this spring and he's ready come the trade deadline, it might be the smart thing to do, depending on how next season is going.

-1 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 22, 2023 at 07:59 pm

Over-complication?

"Overcomplication was the death of the Packers offense in 2022"

The Packers Offense was offensive last season for sure, but it was the least complicated offense in the league.

5 points
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Packer_Fan's picture

February 23, 2023 at 10:45 am

They needed more reliance on Jones and Dillon last year and again this year. I thought last year the team needed at least 3000 combined yards from the RB'S and the same next year. That's almost 200 yards per game. That will mean more wins and less hero ball.

1 points
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Duhawk_47's picture

February 23, 2023 at 01:21 pm

Personally, I would have liked to see more signs of development from former 2nd Round Draft Pick, AJ Dillon, in '22. I'm not going to say he regressed, but he certainly did not make a leap from year 2 to 3. Losing his balance and missing opportunities that are there for the taking. It was embarrassing to watch.

We utilize our backs like a 1a & 1b, when Jones is clearly a #1 to Dillon's #2.

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4thand10's picture

February 23, 2023 at 07:58 pm

You mean the times Rodgers over threw or underthrown him? Or the time they decided to hand it off to Lazard on 3rd n1? Dillion averaged 4.2 per carry. So who’s the short yardage back if Jones gets more touches? I love Jones, but he’s not running through The Suh’s or Aaron donald’s of the world, but Dillon has and has proven it.Willams got the tough yards also when he was sharing a spot with Jones. I’m not 100% on this being the RBs discussion….because coaching, QB decision making and situational football seemed to be the issues this year. In addition, When you have an RB who will be 30…you almost have to look at a future prospect right?

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Rak43's picture

February 24, 2023 at 09:51 pm

Tiki Barber played 10 seasons with the Giants at 5'10 205. The same size as Jones. In his first 5 years he never had more than 214 carries in a season and only hit 200 carries once. However, after being used sparingly like Jones, Barber had over 300 carries in 4 of his last 5 years and 275 in the other. He amassed over 15000 total yards for the Giants and had a HOF worthy career. Jones could be on a similar trajectory.

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