The Green Bay Packers have had an adventurous offseason to say the least. The Aaron Rodgers saga continues to dominate headlines and free agency wasn’t necessarily too kind to the Packers, but they were still able to retain a couple of important players. One was running back Aaron Jones, who signed a four-year, $48 million deal to keep the versatile weapon in Green Bay.
Jones earned his first Pro Bowl selection last season after amassing 1,459 all-purpose yards. He tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns in 2019 and led the NFL in yards per carry in 2018. He’s a key part of the Packers offense, but he’s not the only Green Bay running back who could play a major role in 2021. Second-year running back A.J. Dillon is looking to make a large impact this season as well, and he recently said that he believes he and Jones could be a dynamic duo that takes the league by storm this year.
“I think we can be the best running back tandem in the NFL,” Dillon said Wednesday, via NFL.com. “You look at us and you see thunder and lightning, which absolutely we are, but the lightning guy, Aaron (Jones), he can also grind out some yards, and the thunder guy, myself, I’d like to say I can still beat some guys running away from them. So I feel like we both definitely have our strengths, but we bring two bags, and the entire running back room is capable of guys that can do it all. That’s just the standard in the running back room. That’s what coach (Ben) Sirmans preached, being able to do it all, being able to find a role on the team. So I feel like we definitely embody that.”
Dillon rushed for just 242 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, but had a performance late in the year that surprised everyone. In a snowy “Sunday Night Football” showdown with the Tennessee Titans in Week 15, Dillon exploded for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Sure, it was just one game, but it showed the kind of play he is capable of.
“The Tennessee game, definitely, I look back on as I’m preparing for this year as a big confidence boost,” Dillon said. “Now going into year two, second year in the offense, knowing a little bit more and hopeful expanding my role, I definitely know what I can contribute. So just looking to build on top of that and having more games like that Tennessee game.”
Dillon rushed for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final collegiate season at Boston College. In three years in the ACC, Dillon racked up 4,618 yards from scrimmage and 40 total touchdowns. He could be a major playmaker in the making, and someone who can both take the load off of Jones and help whoever is playing quarterback for the Packers in 2021.