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Aaron Jones emerging as leader in Packers' RB stable

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Aaron Jones emerging as leader in Packers' RB stable

-- When Aaron Jones broke free through a couple of finely-sealed blocks for a 33-yard touchdown on Sunday, he demonstrated just why he's entered the last two games as the Green Bay Packers' starting running back.

It was a run that helped draw the Packers back within a field goal before the end of the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams. Despite the losing effort, Jones saw a season-high in carries (12) and once again made the most of them -- not that it surprised anyone.

"The guys up front, along with the rest of the blocking unit, they did a great job," Jones told Eric O'Brien of CBS4 after the 29-27 loss. "It was open, I was one-on-one with a safety; I like my chances one-on-one with a safety."

Surprisingly enough, Sunday was the first time Jones led all of the running backs in offensive snaps since their meeting with the Buffalo Bills at the end of September, and just the second time this season.

There's no secret about Jones anymore -- he needs to be on the field. As of right now, no running back in the league is averaging more yards per attempt (6.2) than Jones is. The qualifying metric to create a more substantial pool of findings is each player must have at least 6.25 attempts per the team's games played.

Jones' 12 carries went for 86 yards, his third-highest career total for a single game.

The biggest knock on the Packers' fifth-round pick from a year ago was that he couldn't pass block efficiently, however, according to Pro Football Focus, Jones sports the highest pass-blocking grade of all three of the team's tailbacks. He's followed by Ty Montgomery with Jamaal Williams right on his tail.

It's also been one of the biggest dilemmas facing the Packers' offense -- and criticisms of coach Mike McCarthy -- this season. While the usage of Jones has been somewhat of a mystery, McCarthy did note during the week that the running game "needs attempts."

If utilizing Jones en route to a season-high in carries and leading his position group in snaps for the first time in a month is what McCarthy meant, that could be a positive sign of things to come for the El Paso native.

"I just gotta be ready when my number's called," Jones said. "I can affect the game in different ways: Catching the ball out of the backfield, blocking, getting a chip block. So I just gotta step it up in those areas when I'm not getting it."

Despite having 47 fewer carries, Jones only has eight fewer first-down runs (16) than Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (24), who has been one of the top players at his craft this season.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will make his first regular-season start in New England this week against the Patriots, whose front seven has only allowed one 100-yard rusher this season. Meanwhile, the Packers haven't had any of their running backs eclipse 100 yards in a game in 2018.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

KenEllis's picture

Leader?

Whatever do you mean Zach?

Aaron Jones cannot be anything more than 1 member of Head Coach Mike McCarthy's 3-headed running back by committee.

Got to get Jamal WIlliams and Ty Montgomery their touches each and every week going forward just like the last 5 weeks.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

I know. Just writing "Aaron Jones" and "leader" in the same title felt like I was doing something illegal.

4thand1's picture

Just read what Monty had to say. He said he wasn't sure if he was on the goal line and didn't want to take a knee and pin the team at the 1/2 yard line or the 1. He said it was a split second decision and regrets it.

Tarynfor12's picture

He wasn't sure where he was?? That's the same lame excuse that any receiver would have concerning the 1st down marker. It's your job to know where you are and where you need to get to.
The receiver'e error is explainable but standing in the end zone waiting to catch the ball not knowing where you are is not explainable.
The players attempting to be PC for his screw up fools nobody and makes accountability even harder while thinking fans are simple fools.

RCPackerFan's picture

I agree.

If he was told to take a knee in the endzone, (which sounds like he was) then his responsibility is to stand at the goal line and if he has to step back to catch it he knows he is in the endzone. At that moment of the game to not know where you are on the field is irresponsible.

My personal opinion is that he knew he was in the endzone and he decided to try and make a play. He wanted to 'get his touches' and played for himself and not his team. Horrible decision.

Since '61's picture

I completely agree with both Taryn's and RC's posts. There is no excuse for Monty's play. I think that he was still upset about being taken out of the game and he decided that he was going to make a return and show the coaches that they were wrong to take him out of the game. Instead he proved the coaches correct and cost his team the game in the process.

Even if he really didn't know where he was, where was his ball security upon contact. Unacceptable excuse on both accounts. Once again there will not be any accountability for stupid football.

Let's study the tape so that we can prepare our lame excuses for this week's game in New England. Thanks, Since '61

MarkinMadison's picture

Look at the tape. He was two steps deep. If he had any doubts he could have dodged the ball and watched it roll out the back of the endzone.

MITM's picture

I dont know if this has been brought up yet (I havent yet checked the comments on any articles after the loss), I would imagine it has.
If the Packers miss out on bringing in Josh Mcdaniels to coach this team and pair with Rodgers and the young talent he has to work with, they will regret it for a very long time.

Anything less than a ring this season and Mccarthy has to go and the number of people that would disagree with that sentiment are at an alltime low. And if they soon find themselves on the outside looking in for the division, he needs to be fired in season so Mcdaniels can keep in mind the job is open. I know all about what he pulled last season going back to the Patriots. But you are insane to think he wouldnt JUMP at the chance to inherit this team that right now owns 2 first rounders next season as well. Mcdaniels would maximize the talent offensively, not restrain it.

Remember the alleged quote that went public after week 1 from Brady about how "If Rodgers had our scheme and institutional knowledge of defenses he would have 7000 yards etc etc " ? Well, there ya go. Mcdaniels has that scheme and institutional knowledge. I want him in Green Bay worse than any draft pick or free agent in my lifetime.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

I begged for McDaniels last year & the year before.
But after what he pulled on Indianapolis, we learned that Josh isn't going anywhere. He will wait until he takes over for Belichick. He wants to stay in New England & work for Bob Kraft, period.

dobber's picture

Did anyone else notice what the head-case McDaniels did to Denver in just a couple short years? No thanks.

MITM's picture

Keep in mind that he had to deal with a very young, super arrogant, borderline uncoachable Jay Cutler in Denver which is a rough start for any rookie head coach. Then there was a ton of petty in house backlash and division over him trading Cutler - and thats just off the top of my head. Point is there was more to it than Mcdaniels shoving that plane into a nosedive and landing in parts unknown.

Also Mcdaniels doesnt seem to be hindering the Patriots much albeit only as the OC.

wildbill's picture

I think McDaniels is waiting in the wings for the Pats job and what I have read about his stint with the Broncos means he had better matured a whole lot since then. May be a good thing that he wouldn’t come to Green Bay

MITM's picture

When Mcdaniels turned around and went back to NE the first thing i thought was that he knows the timetable on Belichicks retiring and will be taking over. Maybe its even after this season, I would imagine it would be 2 years tops then if that was why he went back. Its possible.

If that isnt the case, or even if it was, I still think Mcdaniels would be too enticed at the prospect of creating a legacy somewhere besides New England, in a place that he can win early and often. Why have every move you make be unfairly compared directly to the Belichick standard, a career that cannot be duplicated?

Or maybe, you jump at the chance to chase your own dynasty with Rodgers, away from the ghost of the hooded shadow. And Mcdaniels was in Denver not too recently, and I am sure not only is more mature but definitely learned from his prior mistakes.

dobber's picture

"If that isnt the case, or even if it was, I still think Mcdaniels would be too enticed at the prospect of creating a legacy somewhere besides New England, in a place that he can win early and often."

I agree in that I think he's the heir apparent, but who thinks of George Seifert as a great coach? Bill Walsh will always overshadow him.

Nick Perry's picture

Things that make you go Hmmmm...

There's no secret about Jones anymore -- he needs to be on the field. As of right now, no running back in the league is averaging more yards per attempt (6.2) than Jones is.

Despite having 47 fewer carries, Jones only has eight fewer first-down runs (16) than Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (24), who has been one of the top players at his craft this season.

At yet as Zack has pointed out, this remains a dilemma for McCarthy. Not only that I have a hard time believing any of the 31 other HC's in the NFL, any of the other 31 OC's in the NFL, or even any of the best candidates for Head Coaching positions for next season in the NFL this would even be a dilemma.

UGH!!!!

stockholder's picture

Fumbles. Nothing positive about them. Want off the team, fumble. This maybe just what MM needed the rookies to see. MM can't move forward until he plays Jones. He must. And he must move the Rookies up. Slowing down your offense is the wrong direction. Stuff like Monty happens. The stable is full of horses. It's no longer which one is loyal. To get this team to peak and energize the old. Play the speed. MM needs to play the hot hand now. Jones chance is here.

MarkinMadison's picture

I certainly remember a time in MM's tenure when any RB who fumbled the ball would be sitting. Even under Sherman the Great Ahman Green knew that fumbling would get him time on the pine. If TM isn't released then he at least ought to be inactive or receive zero carries for a game or two.

Since '61's picture

It's not just that Jones isn't used enough it's also that he is misused as we observed during the Rams game on the play resulting in the Safety.

Jones should be our primary RB but there are situations when Williams is the better back to use. Also, there will be times when Jones should legitimately get a break.

Using one primary back also helps the OL get in sync with that back. Both will learn and expect where the other will be in certain situations and that will result in better execution. There is a reason for starters and backups. Not everyone should be a starter and not everyone should be a backup. Choose a starting RB and go with him unless or until he plays himself out of the job. Rotate the other RBs in for a change of pace and to give the starter a break but for better or worse let Jones carry the bulk of load. Thanks, Since '61

Oppy's picture

Just throwing this out there for people to consider.

MM says we need to run the ball more, more attempts. Vs. the Rams.

Aaron Jones carried the ball 12 times.
He was on the field for 32 of 52 offensive snaps (62%).
He got a carry 37.5% of the times he was on the field.

Aaron Rodgers after the game, complains that the Packers "weren't aggressive enough" and speaks specifically about how he was getting deep shots at Davante Adams and MVS and implies they should have done more of it (second game in a row.)

Now ask yourself, who wants to run the ball, and who doesn't want to run the ball.

ricky's picture

Great. Another story about how good Jones is. How he should be showcased, or at least get more touches. And Sunday night, if he touches the ball more than ten times, it would be a momentous change. There are rumors MM just doesn't like Jones. Maybe. Lack of action speaks louder than words, especially rumors.

PAPackerbacker's picture

MM said a week ago that Aaron Jones needs to carry the ball more, yet he only rushed for 12 carries in the entire game against the Rams. Aaron Jones should have had that many rushes in the first half instead of the whole game. Again, the same old, same old. from MM. Abandon the run when Aaron Jones has proven he can get the job done. There are situations where Williams is the better choice, but Jones should be the feature back and get 20 to 25 carries a game, or more if he is doing well. But the usual BS usually prevails when the game progresses, abandon the run and throw the ball.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Simple fact is McCarthy is an idiot. No coach in the history of coaching would relegate a guy leading the league in YPC to a rotational player, and it's not a small sample size either. The kid explodes through defenses. He can be Kamara and turn this offense into a monster if you run him and learn how to screen to him, which Green Bay still doesn't know how to do. McCarthy is an idiot for benching him for four or five series and an idiot for not knowing how to use him properly. And if Rodgers ego didn't get in the way he'd be making the case to McCarthy in private because Rodgers isn't an idiot.

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