The 2023 Packers were young, but if there was a position group bolstered by veterans that could have a big impact on the season, it was the running backs. Aaron Jones entered the year as one of the oldest and most successful members on the roster, and AJ Dillon looked to be his right-hand man in his fourth season. If things went according to plan, that pair would be a tremendous asset for first-time starter Jordan Love.
And when things went according to plan, the plan looked spectacular. Aaron Jones just about single handedly beat the Bears in Week 1, and his late-season hot streak was one of the best we’ve seen at the position in Packers history. AJ Dillon also came on strong in the second half of the season, looking like the hard-charging back he was always supposed to be.
But the running backs also had their struggles. Aaron Jones spent a lot of the season on the sideline, nursing a variety of injuries. In his absence, AJ Dillon struggled, looking more Plodzilla than Quadzilla. And further down the depth chart, Patrick Taylor, Emanuel Wilson, and even Kenyan Drake offered little.
If the Packers can get more of the good version of this plan in 2024, they’ll have something special in the backfield. But that’s a pretty big if, and there are big questions to answer before they even get to that point. They’ll have to decide if they even want to fit Aaron Jones under the salary cap (a good bet, but still something they have to do), then decide if they want AJ Dillon on the roster at all. And regardless of the answer to those questions, they’ll probably have to add more talent in the draft.
But the plan was solid enough. If they can build on that plan, Jordan Love will have just about all the help he can handle in his second season as starter.
Packers running back grades: Aaron Jones defies Father Time, shows he hasn’t lost a step at 29 | Packers News
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