There was a lot to take away from the Green Bay Packers’ first preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. Aaron Rodgers didn’t play in the game, but after watching some tape, there was a lot that he shared.
The consistency of the wide receivers was something that he talked extensively about. He liked what he saw from Jordan Love, who started in his place. Love’s statistics were a mixed bag on paper, as he threw three interceptions in the game. However, the tape doesn’t lie and Rodgers praised his work.
If the passing game isn’t clicking, the Packers at least know they can rely on their running back duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. They are one of the best running back duos in the NFL and have drawn plenty of praise from Rodgers as well.
Jones and Dillon have some big expectations in Rodgers’ eyes, as he believes both of them could surpass 50 receptions this season. If the wide receivers continue struggling, Matt LaFleur and the coaching staff are going to have to get creative and the running backs could get involved in the passing game plan even more.
In the last few seasons, Jones has emerged as one of the best pass-catching backs in the NFL. He has had at least 47 in three consecutive seasons, including a career-high 52 in 2021. Dillon was used sparingly as a rookie but saw his role expand last season. He made major strides in his sophomore season, catching 34 out of his 37 targets.
“You’ve seen today, we had them in multiple packages where they’re both in the backfield,” Rodgers said, via Zach Kruse of USAToday.com. “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.”
That is a lot of confidence expressed by Aaron Rodgers, which has to make Jones and Dillon feel good. They are most certainly two of the best 11 that the Packers have offensively, so having them on the field as much as possible makes sense.
We have seen teams deploy more two-running back alignments in recent seasons as they are becoming more than just two-down bulldozers out of the backfield. Receiving backs has become a very important part of gameplans and Green Bay has the luxury of having not only one but two players capable of filling that role.