In 2018, the Green Bay Packers suffered the most disappointing season in a very long time. The team was expected to play in January, and possibly February, instead they were done by December. Despite the losses and frustrating team performances, there were some bright spots such as Aaron Jones.
The second-year running back had a great season despite not receiving much playing time early in the year. Once former Head Coach Mike McCarthy decided to utilize the University of Texas El-Paso product more, he responded with dominant performances and took the starting job.
Aaron Jones season started in week three because of a two weeks suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Following his return to the team in week three, former head coach and offensive play-caller Mike McCarthy opted against using the University of Texas-El Paso product until week eight. In games at Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions and home meetings against the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, Jones never received more than 11 attempts (vs. Buffalo) and averaged seven attempts in the other three games. Perhaps, this was McCarthy’s attempt at showing discipline the way New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notoriously known for?
The Second Half of the Season
However, as soon as McCarthy let the second-year running back returned onto the field, he immediately showed promise. In the middle of the season, Green Bay faced an incredibly challenging five-game stretch, which included four road games against four Super Bowl contending teams.
Aaron Jones responded with five strong performances. As the Pack began to lean on him, Jones showed how dangerous of a weapon he could become, if utilized correctly. At Los Angeles Rams, he had 12 attempts for 86 yards and a 33-yard touchdown. What sticks out from that game is his 7.2 yards per carry. In the next four weeks, he posted incredible numbers despite losing three of the next four games.
At New England Patriots, he had 14 for 75 yards, in a home battle against the Miami Dolphins, he had 15-145-2, followed it with an 11-40-1 game at Seattle Seahawks, and finished that stretch with a 17-72-1 game at Minnesota Vikings. In that stretch, he had 69 attempts for 418 yards and five touchdowns.
Unfortunately, though the Pack was not able to capitalize on his strong games.
Once it became clear that Green Bay would miss out on the postseason, Aaron Jones saw his attempts decrease. He still had one last strong outing against the Atlanta Falcons with 17 attempts for 78 yards and a 29-yard touchdown.
This season, Aaron Jones showed a lot of potential and chemistry with legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Aarons will lead the Pack’s offense for the near future. However, we also learned that Jones is not a workhorse back who can handle north of 20 carries per game.
He is a much more dangerous threat when receiving 15-18 attempts. Jones outstanding five point five yards per carry led the NFL in that category. He could’ve averaged a lot more, but as the season was winding down, his touches decreased gradually. From the week three loss at Washington to the week 10 win over Miami, Jones averaged 6.57 yards per carry.
He should be more involved in the passing game. His season-high for receptions was five in the game at Seattle. That way he’ll be in space where he is a nightmare for defenders to tackle. He should be used in a similar way the New Orleans Saints use Alvin Kamara.
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