To say Aaron Jones carries most of the experience in the Green Bay Packers’ backfield would be an understatement.
AJ Dillon: 46 carries in one season.
Dexter Williams: 7 carries in two seasons.
Kylin Hill: Rookie.
Patrick Taylor: Didn’t play as a rookie.
That’s 53 career carries from that quartet.
Jones had 53 carries in November and 71 in December. In his four NFL seasons, Jones has scored 43 touchdowns – not far off Dillon’s carry count.
So, not only will Jones have a big role on the field as the Packers’ versatile three-down back, but the 26-year-old is the leader and role model for a young group of backups.
“It starts with the small things,” Jones said on Thursday of his message. “Be on time. Always be prepared. And then when you get out there, just know what you’re doing. It’s no different from what you’ve been doing since you were a little kid. My biggest thing I preach to them is don’t think as much, just go out there and have fun, and everything else will take care of itself. And play fast.”
Jones, a fifth-round pick in 2017, has established himself as a premier back in the NFL. He led the NFL with a 5.5-yard average in 2018 and 16 rushing and 19 total touchdowns in 2019. In 2020, he set a career high with 1,104 rushing yards and was third among running backs with his 5.5-yard average. Over the last two seasons, he’s caught 96 passes.
Only 11 running backs in NFL history have rushed for at least 5.0 yards per carry in their career. Five Hall of Famers are on that list – including legends like Marion Motley, Jim Brown and Gale Sayers. Jones ranks sixth with a 5.17-yard average.
He entered training camp in the best shape of his life to keep progressing his career. Green Bay re-signed him on the eve of free agency with a four-year, $48 million contract. Paying big money to a running back is a big gamble. It’s just a brutally demanding position. Jones has put himself in the best position to succeed. He cut out sweets and arrived at camp at about the same weight as usual but with less body fat.
The Packers have fallen short in the NFC Championship Game the past two seasons. Obviously, for Jones, last year’s title game was a nightmare. As if he needed it, he received a bit of added motivation from being at the Fiserv Forum to watch the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA title earlier this month.
“It makes me hungry, just seeing that, getting to see the trophy and the celebrations and all those things,” Jones said. “It was amazing. It just definitely made me want to definitely win a Super Bowl.”