Packers: Staying healthy important for Aaron Jones in 2019
When healthy, Aaron Jones is one of the most exciting running backs to watch in the NFL, but staying healthy is important in 2019.
Aaron Jones‘ lack of opportunities quickly became one of many frustrating parts of the Green Bay Packers offense last year. Jones continued to make big plays when he was on the field — as his league-best 5.5 yards per carry backs up — yet Mike McCarthy continued to limit his opportunities on the field.
Based on talent alone, Jones proved he is the best running back on the team. But is it possible McCarthy was concerned about his durability?
In his rookie season, Jones missed two games with an MCL sprain in Weeks 11 and 12. He went down with another MCL sprain last season, missing the final two games of the year.
In 24 games, Jones has 1,176 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, as well as 228 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. The Packers will be hoping he can lead the way in the backfield this year.
Playing all 16 games is the key. The good news is that with Jamaal Williams and rookie Dexter Williams, the Packers have depth at running back, and LaFleur also has three talented running backs he can rotate. But Jones, who has improved as a receiver, could dominate in LaFleur’s offense this year.
The question now is whether LaFleur will give Jones 15 or more carries each game or whether we’ll see a running back-by-committee approach that McCarthy brought in last year. If Jones stays healthy, there’s no reason why he can’t take on the majority of the carries in the backfield.
McCarthy gave him that opportunity in his first career start at Dallas in 2017 — Jones put up 125 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts, helping the Packers pick up a huge road win over the Cowboys. He then had 17 carries against New Orleans two weeks later, putting up 131 yards and a touchdown.
Jones will be key to the Packers’ success on offense in 2019, but staying healthy is important.