Can Aaron Jones Carry Green Bay To The Playoffs?
A certain ‘Aaron’ has led the Green Bay Packers offense for over a decade, but with Rodgers out injured, it might be time for head coach Mike McCarthy to place faith in rookie running back Aaron Jones. Ty Montgomery was Green Bay’s starting back at the beginning of the season, but he’s now on injured reserve and Jones has matured into a real talent at the position – and he will be key for the Packers in December if he bounces back after his knee injury setback.
Earlier in the campaign, Jones logged 80 percent of the snaps while Montgomery got just 13 percent. The rise of Jamaal Williams may affect Jones’ spot as Green Bay’s starting running back, but you can’t deny that Jones was impressive before his injury. His north-south running style is required in Rodgers’ absence and the Packers must attempt to dominate possession in order to stay competitive while the playoffs remain in sight.
Jones has rushed 70 times in his brief professional career, averaging 5.3 yards per carry – an excellent statistic. During that particular timespan, he has rushed for three touchdowns and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Jones obtain a larger role in the Packers’ offense in the coming years. He isn’t the finished article by any means, but his style is reminiscent of a young Eddie Lacy during his early years at Lambeau Field.
Against the New Orleans Saints in October, Jones rushed 19 times for 131 yards and a touchdown – expect the Packers back to get around 20 carries on a weekly basis for the rest of the season. As the climate gets colder, the run game will become more prominent. Even as a rookie, Green Bay will expect Jones to bear the burden of expectation.
Jones is made of the right stuff. At the time of writing, Green Bay are priced at +2400 to win the Super Bowl in bet365 NFL odds and the running game will be key to their chances. If truth be told, placing too much faith in Brett Hundley would be foolish. The Packers’ backup quarterback has been up and down and opting to go with a run-heavy approach is the safest and most consistent option.
McCarthy on how Brett Hundley has handled being starting QB: “He’s handled it well. He’s a steady person. His personality is fit for this.”
It may seem like a waste given the fact that Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are all competent wide receivers. However, we’re not saying that McCarthy should ignore the passing game completely. Taking the pressure off Hundley is very important in order to keep a shot at the playoffs. Keeping the Packers in contention for Rodgers’ return is the number one priority.
Just imagine how successful this Packers offense could be if Jones gets going and Rodgers is able to return before the postseason. For now, there is a new “Aaron” in town and it would be foolish for McCarthy to look elsewhere. Riding high on the confident rookie could be the best option for Green Bay in the coming months even if he has a timeshare with Williams out of the backfield.