Is Aaron Jones Better Than Ahman Green?

Where does he rate compared to iconic Packer RB's?

 
 
Now that Aaron Jones has broken out as one of the top running backs in the NFL, I couldn't help but wonder how his early numbers compare to the great ball carriers in Green Bay Packer history.  Let's  be honest..over the many decades in the modern era the Packers have not exactly been a running back factory.  The reason is obvious.  
 
When you have back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks, you're not going to waste their talent handing the ball off.  You want them throwing early and often.  As a result few GB running backs have had the chance to pile up big numbers.  But Aaron Jones gives every indication he is a rare talent.  The sample size is only three years, and the first two were shortened by injuries.  Yet his statistics put him on a pace to be the greatest ball carrier in Packer history.
 
To date, Jones is averaging 5.0 yards per carry, better than any back ever to wear the green and gold.  Most of us would point to Ahman Green as the gold standard in the modern era.  In 12 seasons, Green averaged 4.5.  That includes 2 years with Seattle and 2 with Houston.  Back in the Lombardi era Jim Taylor averaged 4.5 as well.  Paul Hornung averaged 4.2.  In seven seasons John Brockington averaged 3.9 yards per carry.  Other notables like Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett do not approach Jones average.
 
How about pass receiving?  So far Jones has caught 84 throws for an average gain of 8.4 yards.  That compares to Ahman Green's career average of 7.6 yards per catch.  Now granted, today's game is much more pass-friendly than it was when Green patrolled the backfield.  But the average gain numbers level the comparison. 
 
Jones currently stands 16th in total rushing all time for the Pack.  But with a few more seasons like 2019 he will move quickly up the ranks.  All of this becomes more relevant as Jones enters the final year of his contract.  The Packers, who are not blessed with a great deal of salary cap space these days, must weigh the benefits of extending Aaron's contract, versus the risk of letting him go after 2020 and finding an adequate replacement.  It seems the prevailing theory around the NFL is that you don't pay running backs top dollar because they are among the easiest to replace.  Tell that to the Dallas Cowboys who didn't feel that way about Zeke Elliott.  Maybe the Packers should take notice.
 
Especially since Aaron Jones may turn out to be their best back ever.
 
 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (31)

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mbpacker's picture

March 29, 2020 at 04:45 pm

I love watching Jones with the ball. He is an electrifying runner and improving his catching and blocking. But I'm not sure if it is fair to either Jones or Green to compare right now. In a " what have you done for me lately" league, for me, I have to see what Jones is doing a few more miles down the road. Green did it over the long haul and, hopefully Jones can do the same in the green & gold. Things have changed in the league, where it seems even star running back don't stick with their team over the long haul. If Jones can stay healthy and he can remain productive against teams who know who he is now, then it will be interesting to compare their career stats. But it is the off-season so guess we have to have something to talk about until the draft.
Go Pack, Go 33!

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Lphill's picture

March 29, 2020 at 05:34 pm

No Jones can’t get a yard when needed , Green could.

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mamasboy's picture

March 30, 2020 at 06:10 pm

No is right! If Jones sticks around and is really productive for another 5 years, then maybe. He's still got a lot to prove.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 29, 2020 at 06:26 pm

Green has 378 career pass receptions with a high of 73 in 2000. Something is off in the article there.

It is hard to compare as the NFL was geared more towards running and stopping the run back then. Green had some great lines and some that were not so good after Wahle and Rivera left. Clifton post injury was not the run blocker he had been. I don't think Jones has had a great run blocking OL in front of him, but it is perfectly decent.

Going on memory, Jones has a little more wriggle and beautiful cutback ability. Green had better straight line speed and better power, though Jones is surprisingly effective in short yardage situations.

Detroit signed Allison for $910K plus $137K signing bonus. I believe that's a qualified veterans contract, so it is quite minimal. He will count as an $887K cap charge.

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13TimeChamps's picture

March 29, 2020 at 08:00 pm

"So far Jones has caught 28 throws for an average gain of 8.4 yards. That's already nearly half of Ahman Green's career total of 60 receptions for an average of 7.6 yards per catch."

I was a little confused about that as well. Obviously, those aren't career reception totals for either player. Not sure where the author was going there.

Personally, I'm a not a big fan of comparing one player to another. Different eras, different teammates, different opponents. Let's just enjoy the accomplishments of both.

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KenLass's picture

March 29, 2020 at 09:27 pm

You are correct. Green has 378 career receptions but his career average yards per reception is accurate at 7.6.

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KenLass's picture

March 29, 2020 at 09:42 pm

My career reception totals were in error. Jones has 84 and Green has 378 but the average yards per reception figures for both are accurate.

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Stroh's picture

March 30, 2020 at 12:24 am

Nice Job cherry picking to try to support this farce of an article.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 30, 2020 at 08:26 pm

The point that Green, who had multiple seasons with 50 to 70 pass receptions, was a much more prolific receiver is valid. Jones' average of 8.4 is higher than Green's, but 2019 is really the first year Jones caught a lot of passes (49), so it remains to be seen what Jones can average when opposing teams start game planning for it.

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wildbill's picture

March 29, 2020 at 06:47 pm

Jones is a real gem but let’s be real about rushing averages now a days. Teams are geared up to stop the pass and a number of running backs are averaging 5.0 yards a carry when up to a few years ago that was unheard of unless your name was Brown or Sanders. I have to agree that we will have to see a few more years of Jones before we can start comparing him to our all time great RBs

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marpag1's picture

March 29, 2020 at 10:55 pm

"now a days. Teams are geared up to stop the pass and a number of running backs are averaging 5.0 yards a carry when up to a few years ago that was unheard of"

Actual stats don't back this up. Sure, a certain RB may have a great season now and then, but 5 plus per carry is always extraordinary. Among active RBs with more than 700 carries, NOT ONE has a career average of 5 or more. D Henry is the highest at 4.8.

Only 10 players in NFL history have career rushing averages of 5 or more. 3 of them are QBs. Of the remaining 7, the only guy who could possibly qualify as "nowadays" is Jamaal Charles who retired in 2018. None of the other guys played more recently than Barry Sanders, who retired in 1998. So they are "old guys" who did it, not those playing nowadays.

So the point is, if Jones could manage to maintain a 5 yard average, that would be utterly phenomenal and virtually unheard of.

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wildbill's picture

March 29, 2020 at 11:33 pm

8 players averaged 5.0 yards per carry last year, one being a quarterback so we have 7 RBs that averaged that last year. My point is that it’s more common now and one or two years by a running back doesn’t make a great career. That’s was my point exactly that Jones, among others, will not end up averaging that for a career but even above average backs can do it for a season or two. Sorry if I confused you but your probably used to that

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 30, 2020 at 01:34 pm

The Inside LBs become chasers instead of hitters, the DT s are smaller and the strong safety is being driven to extinction. Hard to compare, but A.Jones has sneaky quickness running through traffic. Another Rate This article, whatever the hell that means?

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Packer_Fan's picture

March 30, 2020 at 11:02 am

You said it well

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ricky's picture

March 29, 2020 at 07:31 pm

I think the world of Aaron Jones. I think he's a terrific running back. And I know I'll miss him when he's playing for another team, because the Packers aren't going to break the bank on a RB. It's not personal. It's business.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 29, 2020 at 07:46 pm

No. He's had one pretty good season and Green is our all time leader. He was a complete back who could pick up one tough yard or 50 fast ones, block and break tackles, catch and run between the tackles.

Brockington was awesome for a short stretch, but Green is the best Packer RB in the last 50 years.

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taarons420's picture

March 29, 2020 at 08:04 pm

nope

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

March 29, 2020 at 11:31 pm

Be awful nice to have them both in their prime. If I had to pick one it would be Green who is a bigger man and seems to be more durable, but Jones is certainly a nice fall back.

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TheVOR's picture

March 30, 2020 at 12:10 am

Ahman Green was a stud, once they got him through the fumbling issues, he was a great running back. I always loved the way Ahman Green Delivered the blow at the point of contact. The ole Walton Payton philosophy of, "you're going to get hit, so you might as well be delivering the blow, instead of taking it". That's exactly how Ahman Green Played, loved that player, he delivered the contact at the point of contact.

Like Jones, fun runner to watch, glad hes in GB. Still think GB needs to keep drafting RB's.

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Stroh's picture

March 30, 2020 at 12:18 am

Its laughable to even put Jones in Ahman Greens neighborhood. Ahman Green was better in EVERY way as a RB. Better Runner, faster by far, more powerful w/o question, Better receiver and blocker! Whoever conceived of this article has no clue of how great Ahman Green was.

Jones is about a 50/50 propostion to even get a 2nd contract. Jones becoming the Packers All Time leading rusher? No chance.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

March 30, 2020 at 02:24 am

Really enjoyed watching Eddie Lacy 2014 and 2105. Lets see if Aaron Jones can have more than 1 good year and stay healthy. In 2016 TY Montgomery averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Doesn't make him the best rb of alltime in green and gold. Ryan Grant quietly had a good career in GB.

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PeteK's picture

March 30, 2020 at 08:49 am

Yes, a much better comparison to Grant and Lacy.

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HankScorpio's picture

March 30, 2020 at 05:15 am

Ahman Green is the franchise leader in rushing yards. Aaron Jones is 16th. Green had 4 of the top 10 seasons in rushing yards in franchise history. Jones best season ranks 18. .

Even asking the question reminds me of the time a fan poll named Lindy Infante as the team's best coach of all time.

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Qoojo's picture

March 30, 2020 at 04:12 pm

Infante's dog got to live a long and happy life.

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NickPerry's picture

March 30, 2020 at 05:33 am

Whoa there Ken, I think it's a little early to compare Green and Jones. Lets just wait and see what Jones does this season (hopefully) and IF he's even signed to an extension.

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Handsback's picture

March 30, 2020 at 08:28 am

Jones is good and had a really great year. Green was a great RB. No comparisons now.
If Jones has three more years like this past one....revisit the comparisons.

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Flow49's picture

March 30, 2020 at 08:39 am

In his only full season of work Jones avg. 4.6 yards per carry. I think it’s fair to say he won’t avg. 5 ypc in his career. Greens best season he avg. 5.3 ypc on 355 touches. On top of avg. 4.5 ypc over a 12 year career.

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PeteK's picture

March 30, 2020 at 09:01 am

Everybody in the stadium knew he was getting the ball on 3 rd and 2 and in the vast majority of time he would get the first down. Also, could break off a 60 yarder. A rare balance of speed, power, durability, and athleticism . It's a shame that the Packer D was so deficient during his years or he would have shined in the SB. Championship game vs Philly still haunts me.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 30, 2020 at 01:39 pm

That was sherman being gutless when the chips were on the line.

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samanthasinek's picture

March 31, 2020 at 01:31 am

Not a big fan of sports, but I vbadly want to watch any game live in stadium, I've never been to one but I love such chanting crowds

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