Aaron Jones' knee clears rehab, sights set on third season

-- After ending his second season in the NFL on injured reserve with a knee injury, Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones is full steam ahead with his sights set on a highly productive 2019 campaign.

"It’s something you gotta hit every day," Jones said of his rehab to NFL Network's Patrick Claybon last week. "I finished up around the end of January, and I’m cleared and ready to go now."

Jones eventually transitioned into the Packers' impromptu starting running back, upping the number of total carries per game after former head coach Mike McCarthy was routinely critiqued about his usage.

Jones, one of the Packers' fifth-round picks in 2017 and the second of two running backs drafted by the team that year, matched the number of games played (12) in 2018 with his rookie season and double his amount of rushing scores (8). He also matched his 5.5 yards per carry number from 2017 en route to becoming a dual-threat player in the backfield.

On top of his consistent output, Jones transitioned into a part-time receiver role, catching 26 passes for over 200 yards and a touchdown.

He can expect more of the same in his third season under McCarthy's successor, Matt LaFleur.

"I’ve watched a little bit of Titans stuff, also a little bit of Rams and Falcons as well," Jones said, referencing three of LaFleur's former employers. "The outside zone scheme is something I noticed come up a lot, so I’m excited to run that. We ran that in Green Bay as well the past couple of years, so it’s something I’m familiar with.

"I think [Jones' skill set] translates very well. I think I can do a little bit of everything. I can run the ball, you can put me out in the slot, I can catch the ball, I could also block. ... I think my game translates well."

Jones was one of the bright spots in what was an otherwise disappointing year for a 6-9-1 Packers team, essentially culminating with McCarthy's firing on Dec. 2 after a shocking loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field.

"It actually was a lot of fun for me being in year two. You get comfortable, you go through things and you just learn to overcome and at the end of the day, I had a lot of fun. I’m just grateful to be a Packer and I’m ready for this year."

But the Packers, with 10 picks in their pocket for April's draft and currently sitting on $35 million dollars in cap space, are expected to set forth with a slight revamping of their roster this offseason. They're not necessarily entering a "rebuilding" process considering they have their starting quarterback -- most rebuilding teams lack one -- who is more than capable of helping engineer a shift in the proper direction for the franchise.

Just like everyone involved in the offense, including Jones, Rodgers will be tasked with mastering new verbiage but will have the advantage of being familiarized with LaFleur's system.

"I don’t think Aaron will have a problem, he’ll pick it up very quickly," Jones said. "He’s coachable, he wants to win, he’s a team player and he’s a leader. We’re all gonna get behind our leader and we’re going to be ready to go this year."

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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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Comments (11)

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Handsback's picture

February 24, 2019 at 09:37 pm

I like Jones, but the Packers need another guy like him. He's hurt often and sharing the load while keeping the same plays points to some type of clone.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 24, 2019 at 09:37 pm

I hope our coach recognizes how long the season is and tries to keep Jones healthy for the end of the year and playoffs instead of trying to wear him out with 20+ touches a game.

I'd actually be looking for another guy to help share the load with Jones and Williams. It's a long season.

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CoachJV's picture

February 24, 2019 at 09:42 pm

Good! The knee is ready early and Jones is ready for a full go long before we start our offseason programs. Plenty of time to strengthen those knees before the wear of a season. Plus he's at the age where he is about to fully grow into his body.

I fully believe this kid will turn into an honest-to-goodness game changer.

And I think we get a full season out of him this year as our featured back in LaF's scheme.

Go Pack Go!

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albert999's picture

February 24, 2019 at 10:42 pm

Draft HOLYFIELD to help with the load

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 25, 2019 at 12:49 am

If this were about Perry, I'd be happy that his knee checked out, but I would be asking about most of the other parts of his body.

Shoulders?
Ankles?
Hands...?

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ShooterMcGee's picture

February 25, 2019 at 02:25 am

Glad he is good to go. Draft some depth in the late rounds and UDFA. No need for a free agent or high draft pick.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 25, 2019 at 02:34 pm

Get a power back in the third or fourth round. Alec Ingold as a free agent FB.

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Spock's picture

February 25, 2019 at 05:23 am

Good news! I really like Jones and actually feel better about Williams than some here. That said Gute is going to need to pick up another RB or FB somewhere along the line 'cause it's going to be a long season [hopefully into the playoffs :)]. I'm just hoping with all the new coaches, schemes, player acquisition, etc. we as fans get treated to a fun season to watch. Last year was about as painful to experience as the "bad old days" of the Packers. :(
Go, Pack, Go!

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Paul Konieczny's picture

February 25, 2019 at 06:06 pm

It was absolutely as painful as the bad ole days.

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dobber's picture

February 25, 2019 at 08:19 am

Sounds like the outside zone run is going to be a significant piece of this offense:

jsonline.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/dougherty/2019/02/23/dougherty-emphasis-outside-zone-run-could-reignite-packers-offense/2956309002/

If that play is going to be an important piece of the offensive scheme, and you only have one oft-injured RB who can do it, you need to add another RB who can run that set of plays.

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meingram23's picture

February 25, 2019 at 03:54 pm

Gute definitely needs to draft another running back. Love Jones but the amount of injuries so far is concerning.

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