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Cory's Corner: Aaron Jones Is Packers' Playoff Ticket

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Cory's Corner: Aaron Jones Is Packers' Playoff Ticket

I don’t want this space to turn into more of an Aaron Jones praisefest. 

I mean, I how many spoonfuls of Jones can we take?

Let me answer that for you: Not enough! 

Aaron Jones was given the chance to be the star on Sunday and Lambeau Field quickly turned into the Church of Jones. 

Now, I still don’t know how good the Packers are because even though the 31-12 win in the November chill that felt like January, Green Bay still doesn’t have a road win. 

But we sure know how good Jones is. Nearly 40 percent of Jones’ carries have gone for at least 15 yards. He has a higher percentage of long runs than Pittsburgh’s James Conner and he has 91 less carries. 

It’s pretty amazing, the only thing that has consistently kept Jones under wraps has been Mike McCarthy. And please leave the pass protection argument at the door. Jones, not Rodgers, is the ticket to the postseason this year because of Rodgers’ inability to trust receivers, even when open. 

These numbers by statistic steward Elisha Twerski are pretty telling. In the last three games, the Packers have scored on 60 percent of drives in which Jones has touched the ball. Conversely, they have scored on just 11 percent of possessions that didn’t see him getting a touch. 

I’m not saying Jones is the next Ahman Green or Jim Taylor — the top two career running backs in Packers history. Jones is in a category all his own. He’s kind of a cross between Kenneth Davis and Edgar Bennett. 

The reason Jones is so good is because he hits the hole so fast. By the time he gets to the line of scrimmage, he is in full stride and there aren’t many guys on the field that will win a sprint against this guy. 

So it looks like trading Ty Montgomery didn’t just shave the fat, it also opened up the roster a bit. It has made McCarthy’s job a lot easier. He doesn’t have to think as much about being the smartest guy in the room between three backs and instead can easily play the hottest hand. 

Now that the weather has turned, Jones is the better Aaron. That sounds sacrilegious, because that other Aaron is pretty good. But there were numerous times on Sunday that he refused to pull the trigger to an open receiver. He has also complained about guys not getting open. Granted, with Randall Cobb hurt, the receivers have been green and the faith just hasn’t been there. 

That’s why Jones needs to be leaned on. There are legitimate injury worries because the former fifth rounder is only 5-foot-9 and he has a long injury history, including a hamstring injury earlier this year. 

But if the Packers are going to the playoffs this year, it will be as a result of Jones’ legs. It’s also interesting that Green Bay’s offensive line, long criticized for its lack of run blocking, looked very well on Sunday paving lanes for Jones.

Just like that other Aaron, Jones is making others better. 

Yes, he’s that good. 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He is also nearing completion of a master's degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (52) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

So, we put all that data, those facts, and those observations in a bowl, stir them up, and what do we get?
Aaron Jones is pretty darn good.

Daren726's picture

I can’t wait to see how he does against a better defense when he is featured. I hope the line can still run block effectively against the Seahawks and viqueens. We’ll see if any of this diminishes how effectively he runs in the next two games.

Point Packer's picture

"Cory's Corner: Aaron Jones Is Packers' Playoff Ticket"

For 2019? Would have been true for 2018 if Green Bay's "highly successful football coach" would have realized this on game 3-8 and not game 9. Its possible GB wins the NFC North, but its not likely and its certainly the only way GB enters the playoff picture.

First MM wasted #12's prime years and now he shows a stubborn inability to give the ball to arguably GB's best offensive weapon. Williams shouldn't be on the field unless Jones needs a rest or is injured. Period.

The TKstinator's picture

Agree on the Jones/Williams playing time breakdown.

croatpackfan's picture

Aaron Jones is very, very good RB. Good at the level when OL made running lanes he is there to use them. So, the large portion of Aaron success falls on excellent OL plays...

Why I did not marked him as excellent RB? Because excellent RB would turn his 61 yard run to 70 yard TD.

And that is my only objection on his showing last Sunday.

Lets hope he will stay healthy!

Demon's picture

I am completely certain you would have made the 70 yard td that you feel Jones should have made.

croatpackfan's picture

And I'm completely certain that Bill Belichick and/or any other football professional should log in on the comment section of this web site and learn from you and other experts how to be GM, HC, OC, DC, scout etc, so they can finally say they know something about football...

Demon's picture

If you remember correctly I specifically stated a couple months ago that I am Not qualified to be HC or GM of an NFL team.

However that does not mean that I cant look at the job that your heros MM and TT have done or are doing and see fault in it.

You've come on here repeatedly criticizing anyone (in broken English) that doesnt share your blindfolded views of the Packers.

It maybe would have a measure of merit if you had any clue what it is you are talking about.

MM is following the same blueprint that TT did. Terrible Ted was so certain that he was right about his coveted draft picks and UDFA that he completely ignored other avenues of roster building.

MM was so certain his offense was up to date he didnt change a thing in his "Scrub Brush" sessions and rehired his old yes man buddy Philbin
.

Since '61's picture

Croat has been contributing here for a long time. At least since 2010. His posts usually contribute effective points to the conversation. Just because he disagrees with you is no reason to criticize his "broken English". Even though English is not his first language (he is from Croatia by the way) his written English is often better than many posters here who either can't spell, construct sentences or use proper syntax.

Croat is more than capable of taking care of himself and defending his comments but it is not necessary to attack his English when in fact he writes better than many first language English writers on this blog. Thanks, Since '61

Skip greenBayless's picture

So true Since 61.

Since '61's picture

What's fair is fair. All are welcome as far as I'm concerned.
Thanks, Since '61

calabasa's picture

Here here! And unlike many other commenters I’ve “gotten to know” here over the last 8 or so years, I believe he loves the Packers and wants them to win. That counts for a lot in my book.

croatpackfan's picture

Thank you Since for the right words. I'm sure that there is many aspects when you and me had, have and will have different opinion, but we both respect each other. I really enjoy discussions with you.

Also, I mentioned here more than once that I know I'm not excellent, not even very, very good in English, so please point out my mistakes and I'll try to fix it. And I will thank you for your support in that area.

Rak47's picture

I saw at least 2 runs where he slipped through cracks that were not even visible from the first camera angle until I saw them from more than one angle it looked like he popped out someone Jersey and took off, lol. He definitely does not need huge holes to break runs with his vision and agility. The only back in the league I see with more agility than Jones is Kamara. Jones running style and balance remind me a lot of Arian Foster, he's just not as good in the passing game yet but hopefully he can get there.

croatpackfan's picture

Oh, I am really misunderstood. I'm on Aaron Jones bandwagon. But I would like him to finish those long runs, not to be tackled down in front of the goal (or goal line, if you wish).

That is something I believe he can improve in the future. Also, I believe no RB can run effectively if there is no help from OL and added blockers.

So, every successful ground game contains more than capable RB.

PAPackerbacker's picture

To bad MM is to stubborn to give Jones 25 rushes in a game. If the Packers want to make a run for the playoffs they need to get the ball to Jones more. Passing the ball on 3rd and short makes no sense when you have a RB with the skill set of Aaron Jones, yet MM will abandon the run for the pass nearly every time in that situation. It just doesn't make sense. If Rodgers complains the receivers don't get open then why pass the ball in short yardage situations? Again, that makes no sense. Rush the ball with Jones, keep moving the sticks, and let him carry the Packers into the post season.

Demon's picture

25 touches a game may be pushing it, but if things are working keep it going!

RCPackerFan's picture

Simply put, Aaron Rodgers isn't right yet. His throws are off, he is not throwing to Receivers that are open. His decision making has been subpar (for Aaron Rodgers level).
I do think he looked better against the Dolphins.

So what is the one thing that can help Rodgers more then anything? A strong running game. And why not give the ball to the guy who is leading the league (with 50+ carries) with 6.77 yards per carry.

If teams start to stack the box to take away Jones, Rodgers has to take advantage! That being said, i hope he doesn't check out of run plays all the time because if blocked well and given a chance Jones could bust a long run with a stacked box. Jones has the ability to make people miss and all he would have to do is get past the first wave of players and he will be gone.
Rodgers has to trust Jones! Jones is the guy who can get him right! It will take pressure off of Rodgers from feeling the need to do it all.

The real question is though, can Rodgers set his ego aside and allow someone else to be a star of the offense?

dobber's picture

I agree: it's the diversification that Jones and the run game provides that will be the key as this offense goes forward. Until #12 shows that he's no longer a threat to take over games, the field will open up for Jones. Nobody is scared by Jamaal Williams on 3rd and 5. Handing the ball to Jones on 3rd and 5 is not necessarily a throwaway play.

I guarantee you that Seattle and Minnesota were paying attention to what the Packers did on Sunday, and with the speedy interior defenders those teams have it will be no given that Jones will have the same opportunities in the upcoming games. But if it causes safeties to cheat into the box a little bit, that's a good thing.

"he is in full stride and there aren’t many guys on the field that will win a sprint against this guy. "

He's not THAT fast. A 4.56 at the combine and he got caught from behind on that long run Sunday. His key attributes are decisiveness, change of direction and vision.

RCPackerFan's picture

Exactly right. Forever teams have been able to play one way against GB. Defend the pass. They didn't have a threat at RB. With Rodgers the best running game he had was with Grant, and with Lacy. Lacy was only for 2 years basically and since then he hasn't had much of a running game.

He now has an explosive RB who constantly gains positive yards.

One thing I'd like to see more of though. Use the Pistol formation. Putting Jones behind Rodgers makes the play action more usable in the shotgun.

I don't think we will see him getting 9.7 yards per carry every week. That being said he is a guy that can bust a long run at any point. And he consistently gets 4-5-6 yards a touch. Those are as meaningful as the 1 long run.

To be fair about his getting caught from behind. The guy didn't catch up to him. He was running along with him and got an angle on him. There won't be a lot of players that will catch up to him. He is fast, very fast. But his skills are more quickness and shiftiness then deep speed. Which for a RB thats more important.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

His key attributes are decisiveness, change of direction, vision, and balance.

Nick Perry's picture

"It has made McCarthy’s job a lot easier. He doesn’t have to think as much about being the smartest guy in the room between three backs and instead can easily play the hottest hand. "

It hasn't been something McCarthy needed to think about in the first place. Jones has been the BEST Packers RB since last season when he first touched the ball. ONLY McCarthy has made it into what it was before Sunday and hopefully doesn't F it up Thursday.

But there were numerous times on Sunday that he refused to pull the trigger to an open receiver. He has also complained about guys not getting open.

I've made it a point to just watch the receivers the last few weeks rewinding and replaying each throw in the grass or throw away. This is becoming a HUGE problem with Rodgers. There's multiple times each week Rodgers passes on the easy quick throw for what would be a first down, an easy first down. Instead Rodgers makes a deep throw to no one...Runs around until he's sacked...OR the throw away which he's done over 40 times now this season. Rodgers needs to look in the friggen mirror and get over himself. THESE are the receivers you have...THROW them the damn ball!

Razer's picture

... There's multiple times each week Rodgers passes on the easy quick throw for what would be a first down, an easy first down. Instead Rodgers makes a deep throw to no one...Runs around until he's sacked...

I agree Nick. Presumably the QBs and coaches are reviewing the tape and seeing many of the same things. The question becomes - why isn't anything changing?

Cubbygold's picture

12 is smart. He's not passing up open recievers because he doesn't know they're wide open. So I think its an ego thing. Willingly saying 'I know there are other ways, but I don't want to be that kind of player'. Maybe he's trying to justify his massive contact in his own head. Anyone can check down. He's not going to get more athletic in the coming years, and his arm isn't going to get stronger...he can play smarter and be more humble tho. Guess it depends on his priorities.

RCPackerFan's picture

I have also done that as well Nick. Now watching on TV its hard to see some of the receivers down field and you do have to consider that our view is vastly different then Rodgers.
But that being said, he has chose to not hit open WR's early in plays.
Some reasons are that maybe the receiver is running the wrong route? Maybe he determined presnap he was going to a certain spot? Maybe he thinks if he can hold the ball he will have a WR come open deep based on coverages? I have no clue what the reasons are.
Regardless if he has an open WR he needs to throw it.

I did feel like in this game he did that more. He was getting the ball out faster especially early in the game. It got away from him a bit in the middle of the game a bit. But he was good later in the game as well.

The problem with Rodgers isn't only that he isn't choosing to throw it to the open WR's, his throws are off on some of them too. Throwing behind a receiver, and into the ground. I'm assuming that he has something else going on, because we have never seen that happen before.

Again that part being said, I thought he looked better against the Dolphins. A lot of his passes were more on point.

CAG123's picture

I think heavy doses of both Williams and Jones will be needed against the Hawks let’s not underestimate the value of a bruising back like Williams and despite his pass catching acumen still finds himself underutilized. It’s crazy how the Packers have the backs to be able to mimic what the Saints do with Ingram and Kamara and MM doesn’t even attempt it.

Cubbygold's picture

Especially given that 12 has been nursing an injured leg. If ever there was a time for that type of playcalling, it was the first half of this year

Demon's picture

Maybe the Saints have a better coach.

stockholder's picture

Try QB at this time. Arron is making big mistakes. As more players emerge. I hope we can see the A-Rod we never questioned.

Demon's picture

Im not at all saying AR is playing up to his potential. Where is the Qb guru through all this? What plays are being called to get the QB back on track?

Did it ever cross anyones mind to maybe play Jones more than 10 snaps a game?

MM has got to go and take his pad level with him.

PAPackerbacker's picture

There's no maybe about it.

Packer Fan's picture

If the Pack will make the playoffs, it will be because of the Joneses, who the coaches were holding back; because of rookies MVS, St Brown, Alexander and Greene and finally BG getting rid of problematic players. And hopefully BG will force the removal of Zook. The special teams players need to know there are consequences for poor play.

Pierre's picture

Waiting to see how good Jones is able to run against the Seahawks defense. The Dolphins were weak against the run as a team. Jones getting the ball more is necessary for this offense to keep drives going. Rodgers will have to play a lot better with his completion percentage and decisions at the QB position. He has a losing record on the road so unless his play picks up considerably Packers not likely to get to the playoffs this season. As good as Jones is running, the QB remains vital to win games against the playoff caliber teams...so we shall see over the next 7 games if Rodgers still has the ability at QB to excel or whether he’s just not capable anymore...for whatever may be going on with him.

Cubbygold's picture

This article from FiveThirtyEight should be required reading for every coach in GB...

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-packers-need-to-depend-on-aaron...

GBs success when they do run is two fold. One, jones is obviously very talented. Two, GBs opponents rarely stack the box in an effort to stop the run.

stockholder's picture

Thank you, Very interesting.

Rick F's picture

He is good back and MM needs to use him as a play maker. I think 20 rushes and receiving 5-7 balls on screens, option routes and swing passes. His game is speed, space and creases let’s stick to that. Now let’s be honest, he not the reason they make a push for the playoffs. Rodgers is a great QB and giving him a back like him is a real threat. 12 like 4 makes everyone better and gives players more chances to succeed. MVS is a example of that and he has grabbed his opportunity and ran with it. MM needs to game plan 33,17,83 and 19.

They are preforming at a high level and this late in the year you play the players that are producing. Like I said before 18 and 53 are being paid a lot of money and should be pushed behind these young guys. If you are hurt and can’t be available for game days you should be phased out. Gutekunst is going to turn around this team. 12 has good years left and Gute will load the roster with talented football players not projects players.

LeotisHarris's picture

Well said, Rick. I'd add let's see more of Mercedes Lewis. He's fresh for crying out loud, and blocks out the sun when he's out there. Let the man block!

cheesehead1's picture

Agree, more Marcedes Lewis. Seattle has been running the ball extremely well for weeks now. We must contain or a win will be difficult. It’s a short week for Seattle as well, so that is no excuse IMO. Good teams win on the road and we’ll see soon enough with these next two games. Go Packers!

byu.tech's picture

the previuos sunday against patriots, rodgers and belichick met after the game for a few seconds, here is what they said (you can see the video with audio on the web):
rodgers to belichick: ¨you´re the best¨
belichick answer: ¨no, you´re the best¨

D Ernie's picture

Sure a playoff run is still possible, but very unlikely when your 3rd in your division and a host of other nfc teams have better records and are in line for the wild card spot.
Not to mention your going against 3 very hungry teams in their backyard.
I say the relax this year is missing the playoffs.

realitybytez's picture

i agree that the playoffs are unlikely. and even if we did back into the playoffs, we're likely a one-and-done team. the rams and saints are head and shoulders above the rest of the nfc.

but, mathematically, the packers are far from being out of the playoff picture. currently they are the seventh seed - putting them just outside the top six. the vikings are the wildcard team that they need to surpass to take over that sixth seed.

and let's be honest, even though the bears are on a hot streak and looking strong, there's still seven games left on their schedule, giving them plenty of time to do another late season swoon. if, by some miracle, the packers can win the next two games, they actually have a very good chance of squeaking into the playoffs.

pacman's picture

With all the stats posted on this and other boards about the successes of AJ, it took until this past Sunday for MM to give him the ball more. How much more evidence do you need to indict MM for stubborness? Gute has all the ammo he needs to fire MM. OTOH, with Gruden blowing up, I'm wondering if that slows the fire MM bandwagon.

I'll always be rooting for the Packers but I don't expect them to make the playoffs unless AR returns to his greatness of old. I don't hear enough from urgency / desire from him. We need to score 30+ points a game with the current defense. We just don't have the D to make it up.

PatrickGB's picture

In a halfhearted defense of MM, Jones says that he really is only about 198lbs. So, while he is doing well running the ball for now, he can be viewed as someone more suited to be a third down back due to his size. Without great blocking he would get smothered in loaded fronts. On the other hand when teams are fearing Rodgers passing the ball then things open up. Once Rodgers starts hitting his reads quickly then the other Aaron will thrive. But if not, Jones might very well suffer an injury and be out.

Since '61's picture

There is no doubt that the Packers need to continue to use Aaron Jones as their featured back. But make no mistake Aaron Rodgers is the player who takes this team to the playoffs if it happens at all.

Jones is not bringing this team back from a two score deficit n the second half or leading a game winning drive with 2 minutes left in the game.

Rodgers issues have been well documented so far this season but he is still the best player the Packers have and probably one of the best QBs of all time.

I think that his problems this season revolve around 4 factors. First and most important are his knee and shoulder injuries. I don't think that either are completely healed yet. Secondly, due to lack of playing time last season and practice time this season the game is moving faster for him than it had before his shoulder injury last October. When and( if) the game slows down for him again we'll see more of the AR that we have been familiar with. Third, he is playing with mostly new receivers (except for Adams) especially with Cobb injured. His younger receivers are not as good at the scramble drill as Cobb and Jordy were. He knows that his OL is not as good as it has been, especially on the right side.

As for the throwaways it's better to throw away than to throw a pick or take a sack. Besides, since Aaron Jones in now everyone's hero does it matter what Rodgers does? Apparently we can just hand the ball to Jones and he will just run all over and around everyone else. Then when he is stopped MM will be blamed for the play calls or Rodgers will be blamed for getting sacked or why are the Packers running the ball when they have Rodgers? After all complaining is what is done the best. Thanks, Since '61

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

So you decided to complain about the complainers who have been complaining?

[I stole this from Theadkiller, a poster on another site. Actually, I paraphrased him/her.]

Since '61's picture

TGR - that is actually pretty good and pretty accurate. I just remember the days mostly between 1970 and 1991 (except for the Lynn Dickey years) when we had QBs who could not complete a pass. Then of course there was Hundley as recently as 2017. Thanks, Since '61

Tarynfor12's picture

If you believe the player that gets this team to any finish line...wildcard,division,conference or SB has changed from Rodgers to Jones,you're kidding yourselves.

One of the best Kentucky Derby's was watching Calvin Borell maneuver MineThatBird through the group, and ride the rail out of nowhere and win.

The Packers may be able to pull same off if they can maneuver the first and second turns,Sea and Min, to make that incredible stretch run to at least finish in the money...playoffs. The problem is the tug of war,MM and Rodgers, in how to ride that horse,Jones, and who has control of the reins.

This game Thursday may show us that MM has let free the reins with Jones and then we'll need to see if Rodgers can check his ego and run on 3rd an 1-2 and not bomb away to WR's who's trust seems...ahem... up in the air.

Being a wagerer, I'll place a bet that I'm willing to lose on this three way that will likely get sabotaged by the usual suspect,but the payout would be awesome. I'm either tearing my ticket to shreds Thursday night or I'm still in the running going to Minn hoping for a stretch run....As optimistic as I can get.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Tarynfor12, I've posted numerous times that GB could not cover a 1 - 3 Pt spread + or - unless it was the Pats or what used to be Seattle. I don't think this is the same Seattle team we've known in the past. I'm guessing the money is off of GB tomorrow night & is the other way. The Moneyline favors GB in my opinion. Call it Champagne, Old Age, or just going Senile, but I think GB Wins & Covers tomorrow night, & the rest of the year. That's what I think?? That's a bit of a Stretch. I also think Christi Brinkley will break my door down one day, & tell me she wants me more than anyone else in this world. I don't ever remember ever being wrong on this game. I'm going to Bet GB + 2 1/2. If I lose, it'll be the 1st time that I can remember. I have a Great Record on this game. We'll keep it going tomorrow night. 49 is a Tough number to call. I'm staying off of that.
LVT

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

Would anyone be surprised at all if Jones carries the ball 9 times next week. I know I wouldn't. And no, by no means whatsoever, can you leave the pass blocking argument at the door.

ILPackerBacker's picture

Not to take anything away from Jones but your article is like the raving of an idiot bear fan. Jones is the better Aaron? He is an all time great in his own category?

He was not played an entire season. Or even the majority of a season. He has many advantages you do not even address starting with the FACT your brilliant statistician seems to have overlooked .... to wit the packer O gets the fewest of run stop defense of any team in the league. Start paying attention and thinking instead of this nonsense.

I don't get the thrill so many bad writers get from putting their heads up dark spaces the fastest and furthest.

tincada's picture

Yes he's good, if MM let's him have the ball. No, they aren't going anywhere near the playoffs with to Ls coming up on the road.

leaerin4's picture

The screen pass with Jones can be a lethal weapon to the Packers offense. Running the table is almost a must to make the playoffs and is possible one game at a time. A win in Minnesota would be huge payback and would boost our confidence immensely. GO PACK GO!!!

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