We all love the big play potential of Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones. The guy averaged 5.5 yards per carry as a rookie.
Still, he often played second-fiddle to the less explosive Jamaal Williams in 2017.
There were seemingly two reasons for that.
One was injuries. Jones played in only 12 games while dealing with knee injuries.
The other reason was Williams was better in pass protection.
Jones had a plan for remedying both of those issues. He’s put on mass during the offseason. Jones showed up to OTAs noticeably bigger.
“I’m bigger all around,” Jones said. “That’s something that’s going to help me in pass protection and that’s something I want to get better at. I’m stronger, so definitely when a defender who’s bigger than me comes up I can hold my ground this year.”
The question with guys who put on weight is always, will they remain the same player?
In Jones’ case — or any running back — is will they remain as explosive? We saw this last year with Ty Montgomery. He came into to training camp more ripped than he had ever been.
Then his yards per carry dropped from 5.9 to 3.8. Montgomery also missed more games to injury than the year before.
We’re not attributing that second issue to adding weight. However, doing so obviously didn’t help Montgomery stay healthy.
Jones, however, says he’s at least retained his explosiveness.
“I feel like any athlete wants to get bigger, stronger as long as they can stay explosive,” Jones said. “I still feel just as explosive as I was, if not even more.”
We shall see.
Seeing how the Packers split up carries with their running backs will be pretty interesting. As long as he’s healthy, Jones has a chance to eventually become the team’s lead back.
Hopefully he’s able to what he did last year and doesn’t fuck up what he’s good at just because McCarthy doesn’t want to play people to their strengths. Fit another square peg in a round hole. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you’re good at blocking.
A back being reliable in pass protection has to be part of his game in the Packers offense. The player feels good about what he’s doing with a body he’s been using for the past couple decades, so why stress over it?
I spent the off-season putting on weight too. I’m still explosive too, springing up and running to the fridge. I set up 3 cones to navigate for my in home combine.