Cory's Corner: It's AJ Dillon's Time

The bulldozing back will make an imprint on this year's postseason. 

Aaron Rodgers will be the NFL MVP.

But now it’s AJ Dillon’s time. 

He is built for postseason football at Lambeau Field. The meaty thighs, the powerful gait and the never-say-die attitude. Nobody wants to tackle the 6-foot, 247-pound freight train in good conditions. How willing will defenders be when temperatures are well below freezing? 

He showed what he can do a couple weeks ago when the weather gets chilly. Against Minnesota, he had 14 carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Dillon also had a couple catches. In that game, Dillon had 10 touches in the second half. 

One of the main reasons Tampa Bay beat the Packers last year in the NFC title game wasn’t just because of Tom Brady. It was because of a running game that was just good enough. The Bucs had 24 carries for 76 yards and a score. Now those numbers are nothing special, but it kept Aaron Rodgers and the offense off the field.

Conversely, the Packers rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries in that game. Jamaal Williams had the most carries with seven. 

A winning formula in the playoffs begins and ends with the running game. Aaron Jones will be leaned on, but he has had a different year this season. He has topped 100 yards rushing only once this year and his usage has also been down. In 14 games last year, Jones had 201 carries and in 15 games this year, he has had 30 less totes.

Running Dillon between the tackles early doesn’t just set the tone for the type of game the defense is going to see. It will also set things up for the play-action later on.

I don’t care how good of a defensive front seven a team has. It can be Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Samson Ebukam. (Yes, I think the Packers will host the 49ers a week from now.) That defense is excellent by every measure. But after a while, it isn’t fun trying to tackle someone that big in the cold. 

But Dillon has proven that he isn’t just a grinder between the tackles. He can catch it out of the backfield and also make people miss. He just needs to nail down a nickname. Is it “Quadzilla”, “Quadfather”, “The Sauce” or my personal favorite as well as the Door County Chamber of Commerce’s favorite: “Chairman of the Door.” 

This is perfect. The playoffs are at home. The temperatures are going to be teeth-rattling. Whatever team has to come to Lambeau Field, they are going to be coming to a place that is about as unwelcoming as possible. There’s a legitimate chance of frostbite, the Packers have gone 8-0 this year in that building and you must be tasked with tackling someone like Dillon that gets three yards when he just falls forward.

The Packers are dynamic because of everything that Rodgers does. There is a need for a guy to do the dirty work and Dillon is that guy. Just give him the rock and watch defenses give tutorials in arm tackling. 

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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 recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (5)

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stockholder's picture

January 15, 2022 at 12:02 pm

The Packers are dynamic because of everything that Rodgers does. This is such a great statement. The Snap Counts would have been different. The progress would have been stagnate. The pick-ups would not have signed. Dillion was drafted for short yardage. "He still needs a hole". And as Long as Rodgers is here. "It's about him". The playoffs have always been about the QBs. And how a Defense can stop them. The score is the only thing that matters. Not Dillion's time. Dillion is not in the class of other greats. He's a number! We never won without a MVP QB. It's Rodger's Time. It's on his shoulders.

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13TimeChamps's picture

January 16, 2022 at 04:24 pm

Wow....you misspelled his name 3 times in one post. Impressive!

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GatorJason's picture

January 15, 2022 at 11:23 pm

Players just need to do their jobs. When secondary players want to be heroes and not play within their lane, bad things happen. Mr Dillon will have his opportunities to shine. Just make the plays and hang onto the ball and everything will just be fine.

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4thand10's picture

January 18, 2022 at 08:35 am

Even if the runs don’t amount to much ( which they do) , moving guys like Aaron Donald or Vea or Suh for 3 yards is priceless. Not only does it wear them down for Jones …but the play actions that can be ran off of those runs can be spectacular. Playing both the 49ers and then most likely TB….Dillon needs to get the ball at least 16-17 times…so that play action slows down the outstanding linebackers both those teams have.

On defense, I would run 4 DL and play man cover 2 to keep both kettle and gronk at bay and force Brady, Garappallo to go deep…then Alexander, Amos , Douglas et al can feast on turnovers. Garappollo is not a deep thrower…suffocate him with middle pressure. Then the next game….force Brady to throw deep on every play by putting as much pressure on his line as humanly possible. Packers can do this as the secondary is second to none. Just my take. I think back to the Tennessee game where Dillon ran like a beast and we played 4-5 DL on the LOS to stifle the run…that same plan needs to be put forward for the next 2 games.

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Avrumi's picture

January 18, 2022 at 03:04 pm

𝐈 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 $𝟏𝟒𝟎 𝐭𝐨 $𝟒𝟓𝟎 𝐩𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐈 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝟑 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐢𝐢𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐲 $𝟐𝟒𝟔𝟓𝟐 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 .

𝐒𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐄,,..,,... 𝘄𝘄𝘄.𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗝𝗼𝗯𝟮𝟰𝟳.𝗰𝗼𝗺

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