clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cheese Curds, 1/26: Drops plagued Packers in 2023; pony package yields mixed results

There’s no question which of the Packers’ two running backs was more effective when both were on the field together.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Green Bay Packers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers’ offense will probably look a lot different in 2023 than it did in 2022. Personnel changes are coming, likely at tight end and wide receiver, and there could be moves afoot at the running back position as well.

The Packers seem to want to find a way to bring Aaron Jones back for another year, though that will likely require adjusting his contract for 2023. Assuming that they do, the team will presumably try to use the Pony personnel package — which puts both Jones and AJ Dillon on the field together — to spur on the offense, especially if the wide receiver group is still filled with question marks.

But just how well did that package function in 2022? That depends pretty heavily on who was getting the football. When handing off to or targeting Jones, the Packers got better-than-average production from him, which is impressive. He gained almost a yard more than his overall 5.3 yards per carry average for the season on runs out of Pony, and he was pretty efficient as a receiver as well.

Dillon’s numbers tell a different story, with his Pony runs coming up a little bit short of his overall 4.1 YPC. He also struggled mightily catching the football on those plays, with numerous drops.

In fact, drops were an issue for Dillon all season, and that was in fact the case for the entire Packers’ receiving group. No team in the league had more drops in 2022 than the Packers, and although a rookie led the team in that frustrating category, it was hardly just the fault of inexperienced players.

In today’s curds, let’s take a close look at the Pony numbers, the drops, and one area where the Packers definitely improved in 2022: on special teams.

Has the Packers' pairing of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon run its course? | ($)
When in the two-RB Pony package, Jones was much more productive than Dillon. #33 gained 6.23 yards per carry to Dillon's 4.03 and caught 14 of 16 pass targets while Dillon caught just 8 of 15.

Drops were an issue for Packers offense in 2022 | Packers Wire
Four of those incompletions to Dillon in Pony were ruled as drops, and he had 7 overall on the season, trailing only Romeo Doubs' 9. In total, Pro Football Reference credited the Packers with 40 drops, tying for the most in the NFL.

Why bringing back LT David Bakhtiari is a no-brainer for the Packers - The Athletic ($)
The argument is pretty simple: when he got healthy late in the season, he was back to playing at an All-Pro level.

Rich Bisaccia helped reignite the fire inside Packers’ special teams |
Bisaccia took the Packers' special teams from a league-worst unit to a middle-of-the-pack group overall, a big step towards sanity. He interviewed for the Colts' head coaching job recently, but the Packers certainly will hope he returns for 2023 to continue the upward trajectory.

Coroner’s Report Confirms Walnut Creek Man Died From Cleaning Fluid, Not Hot Cheetos – NBC Bay Area
At least those of us who love Flamin' Hot Cheetos can rest easy knowing that they weren't responsible for the death of an elderly California man last year. Instead, it was good, old-fashioned chemical poisoning.