Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers believes in his running backs, and he will have to be confident in them, particularly in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, who are expected to have their roles expanded in the 2022 NFL season following some key departures on offense. With wide receivers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling no longer calling Lambeau Field home, Rodgers expressed his desire to see both Jones and Dillon seeing the field at the same time more often in the coming season, believing that the Packers’ passing attack will benefit more with those two tailbacks receiving increased workload on that front (h/t Zach Kruse of USA Today).
“We’re going to have to use him and 28,” Rodgers said after Tuesday’s joint practice with the Saints. “You’ve seen today, we had them in multiple packages where they’re both in the backfield. We have a lot of stuff out of that. We have runs to both of them. We have swing passes to them. We have screens. We have down-the-field stuff. We have action stuff. We have scat protection. We have six-man, seven-man protection stuff. There’s a lot in the offense for those two guys. We’ve got to get out best 11 on the field, and it seems like those two are in our best 11.”
Aaron Rodgers also said that he is looking forward to seeing Jones and Dillon each record 50 receptions in 2022.“I think 50 is really realistic,” according to Aaron Rodgers, per Kruse. “I think 50 for both of those guys is realistic,” the Packers superstar signal-caller adds. Jones has always gotten a decent volume of targets in Green Bay.
Last season, he reached a new peak with a career-high of 52 receptions on 65 targets. The challenge is greater for Dillon, but definitely not impossible. After appearing in just 11 games in his NFL rookie season and getting just two catches on two looks from the quarterback in 2020, Dillon gained on Jones’ snaps share and recorded 34 receptions on 37 targets in his sophomore year in the pros. In 2020, Dillon only appeared in 9.34 percent of offensive snaps but that rose to 42.65 percent in 2021, thanks also to Jones missing a couple of games that season.
Adams led the Packers in 2021 with a 31.3 percent target share, easily the no. 1 on the team. Jones was a distant second with just 12.12 percent while Lazard was third with 10.3 percent, tied with Valdes-Scantling. In other words, the Packers are going to find a way to replace the over 42 percent target share that Adams and Valdes-Scantling have left behind.
At the end of the day, it will be mostly about opportunities opening up for Jones and Dillon in Green Bay’s passing offense that finished the 2021 season ranked inside the top 10 in the NFL with 250.6 passing yards per game despite the Packers being only 17th overall in pass play percentage (58.61%), though, that’s hardly surprising when you factor in that they have arguably the best quarterback of this generation. With Aaron Rodgers under center, the Packers saw nearly 68 percent of their passes get completed.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have a couple of preseason games and a few weeks left in the offseason to figure out the best way to move forward with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The team kicks off their 2022 NFL season schedule on the road on Sep. 11 against Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings, who had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL in 2021.