Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sure sounds like he’s expecting running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to be the foundational pieces of the team’s new-look offense in 2022.
Not only does Rodgers think Jones and Dillon can each catch 50 passes this season, but he’s expecting the Packers to find ways of having both players on the field together and he’s certain the focal point of the scheme will be getting them the football in space.
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“We’re going to have to use him and 28,” Rodgers said after Tuesday’s joint practice with the Saints. “You’ve seen today, we had them in multiple packages where they’re both in the backfield. We have a lot of stuff out of that. We have run 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.”
Last season, Jones and Dillon combined for 2,306 total yards and 17 touchdowns. In the passing game, Jones caught 54 passes, while Dillon finished with 34. Both were career-highs.
Getting Jones and Dillon both over 50 catches is certainly possible in 2022.
“I think 50 is really realistic. I think 50 for both of those guys is realistic,” Rodgers said.
Getting to 50 catches would require around three per game over a full 17-game schedule for both player.
Rodgers said he trusts Jones as a receiver “any time” and in all situations. Dillon continues to work on his passing game ability as he attempts to become an “all-purpose back” in 2022.
Earlier this month, Rodgers complimented Dillon’s development as a receiver.
“His pass-catching ability is really, really solid,” Rodgers said. “He’s made difficult catches look easy over the last couple of years and this training camp. I couldn’t be more proud of 28 and his approach.”
With the receiver room in transition, Rodgers said getting both backs on the field together should be a focal point of the scheme. The team’s usage of the two-back look dropped significantly after the Packers lost Jamaal Williams in 2021, but the formation could be making a big comeback this year.
“I feel like 28 and 33 being on the field is going to be important. Gotta figure out how to do that,” Rodgers said.
Maybe most importantly, losing Davante Adams this offseason has opened the door to Jones and Dillon becoming the go-to players each and every week.
“Last year, you wanted to get the ball in 17’s hands in space,” Rodgers said. “This year, 33 and 28 are going to get a lot more opportunities.”