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Green Bay RBs

Rodgers says backs will catch more passes

Aaron Rodgers is one of those veterans who’s like an offensive coordinator. He’s the guy pulling the trigger on the passes for the Packers. So it’s noteworthy when Rodgers says that he thinks there’s a chance both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will catch 50-plus passes this year.

“You’ve seen today, we had them in multiple packages where they’re both in the backfield,” said Rodgers in an article by 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.”

It makes a lot of sense. The Packers traded Davante Adams in the offseason, and they don’t have another wide receiver who’s capable of taking on that kind of a role. They’re counting on young wide receivers and holdover Allen Lazard. They don’t have a franchise-type tight end (you could fairly argue they don’t have an average pass catcher at that position).

Reasonable, therefore, for the Packers to lean more on their nice one-two punch of running backs.

Dillon came into the league as a power runner with a limited background catching passes, but he’s been picking things up. He averaged about 2 catches per game for most of last year.

With Jones, he’s a legit receiver, and he’s shown in the past that he’s capable of doing more when asked. The Packers in the last three years have played seven games without Adams, and Jones in those games has averaged 5.1 catches for 55 receiving yards (production that projects to 85-plus catches over a 17-game season).

Over the past three years, the Packers have averaged 5.7 completions per game to running backs. Using PPR scoring, they’ve ranked 4th, 9th and 7th among teams to receiving production among running backs. I expect they’ll be at least a little higher this year. Definitely should be a top-5 team in this category.

RECEIVING PRODUCTION BY RUNNING BACKS (last 3 yrs)
YearTeamNoYdsAvgTDPPR/G
2019LA Chargers14813579.21021.5
2019New England12111349.4616.9
2019Carolina12410688.6415.9
2020New Orleans1139878.7615.5
2020LA Chargers1298906.9415.1
2020Indianapolis1149168.0514.7
2019Green Bay1018538.4814.6
2020San Francisco938389.0914.4
2021LA Chargers1018798.7813.9
2021Atlanta1108968.1613.9
2019New Orleans1248246.6213.7
2020Washington1208487.1213.6
2020New England957728.1613.0
2021Las Vegas1188697.4212.8
2020Miami1068588.1212.7
2021Tampa Bay1106986.3612.7
2021Washington1038147.9512.6
2019Chicago1116636.0412.6
2021Carolina1078648.1312.4
2021Green Bay897128.0812.2
2019Minnesota988558.7212.2
2019Philadelphia908069.0412.2
2021Detroit1107606.9312.0
2021Kansas City908249.2511.9
2019San Francisco777539.8611.8
2019Las Vegas988258.4111.7
2020Carolina956336.7411.4
2019Pittsburgh936406.9411.3
2019Atlanta886086.9511.2
2020Green Bay916967.6311.2
2019Kansas City896487.3411.1
2021Cincinnati856657.8611.0
2020Seattle815947.3611.0
2021New England938058.7210.9

—Ian Allan

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