A fork in the road

Aaron Jones takes vastly different approach to 2020 than Dalvin Cook

Aaron Jones has steadily become a fan favorite in Titletown. Now entering his 4th NFL
season, Jones has managed to up his rushing production by about 300 yards each season all
while proving to be a threat in the passing game as well as the red zone. 33 was recently
allowed to talk to the Packers’ media. discussing off-season workouts, being used as a
receiver in the offense and goals and expectations for the upcoming season.

Workouts this off-season? A little different than most years. Due to COVID-19, obviously
most gyms, team facilities and all places to workout have been closed. Players across the
league have gotten the creativity juices flowing, working out in backyards, garages and
basements, Aaron Jones is no different. Media asked about virtual workouts and what he’s been
doing to keep in shape. He says while doing most of his work from home, working out in his
garage, he’s also been catching passes from local high school quarterbacks.

Spending time working on value as a receiver is high on the priority list for both Jones
and Head Coach Matt LaFleur. Running backs play a huge part in the passing game in the new
Green Bay offense. In 2018, under direction of Mike McCarthy, the Packers were 31st in
receptions from running backs. In 2019, with the same players in the backfield, the Packers
finished in the top 10 for receptions from a running back. This is a testament to the system as
well as Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams. Jones likes being used in different ways, saying, “I
love getting into space” and, “I’ve been working to expand my route tree.”

When reports emerged Dalvin Cook wouldn’t be participating in any organized team
activities until he received a fair deal from the Vikings, many wondered what that could mean for
the Green Bay back. Aaron Jones put minds at ease, making his goals for the season clear with
this money quote:

“I want to win a Super Bowl. We were one game short. It’s not all about me, it’s about the team and I feel like that’s all of our goals.”

Obviously things between now and training camp could change. But I’m not so sure that’s likely
either. Jones was asked about 2020 being a contract year for him. Jones responded with,
“whether it’s my first year or last year of a deal, I’m going to be just as motivated. It doesn’t
change for me just because a contract is on the line for me.” Jones continued saying, “I trust my
agency and the Packers with that. I’d love to be a lifelong Packer.” Isn’t that refreshing to hear?
A guy that’s all about the team, it’s success and what is best for the group as a whole.

Either way, the situation East of the Mississippi is a little different to that in Minnesota. If
Jones were to hold out, the Packers would be more than OK with Jamal Williams and rookie AJ
Dillon if Jones were in fact to miss time. The Vikings on the other hand have second year pro
Alexander Mattison moving forward as the starter for the time being. Mattison does look pretty
good heading into his second year, but there are a lot of question marks behind him on the
depth chart.

Jones will once again be a huge part in Matt LaFleur’s offense in 2020. His usage
doubled compared to 2018 and he delivered with a huge season as arguably the most valuable
player on the offense in 2019. The Packers have a tough decision to make regarding Jones’
contract situation. A breakdown of his and other key players projected Free Agent worth can be seen here.

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