LaFleur Intends to Build on Jones’ Success

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers more than doubled their win total from 2018 but it had little to do with an offense that ranked 15th in scoring and 18th in yards – both figures actually slight steps in the wrong direction.

If there’s a reason to believe the offense will be appreciably better in Year 2 under coach Matt LaFleur, it rests on the groundwork laid last season. LaFleur knows his players and should have a better understanding of how to put them in position to succeed. Meanwhile, the lion’s share of the players know LaFleur’s scheme and should be able to hit the ground running when practice begins on Saturday.

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MOST IMPORTANT PACKERS: AARON JONES

Front and center on both sides of the equation is running back Aaron Jones, who had a breakout season with career highs of 1,094 rushing yards, 49 receptions for 474 yards, and league-leading totals of 16 rushing touchdowns and 19 total touchdowns. Jones produced all season but really hit his stride as the season progressed. He had zero plays of 20-plus yards during the first quarter of the season, four during the second quarter, four during the third quarter and three during the fourth quarter, when he had three of his five 100-yard rushing games.

“We saw him progress as the season went on, especially with some of the things that we were doing in the passing game, and certainly we’re going to try and build off that leading in to this 2020 season,” LaFleur said on Thursday.

The questions at this point last year were obvious. Could he stay healthy? Could he be a three-down back? Could he carry the load?

Jones answered all of those questions with a brilliant season that landed him at No. 33 in NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players.” Jones, who is entering his final season under contract, appreciates the accolades but has his eyes on a bigger prize.

“I want to win the Super Bowl,” he said during an offseason Zoom. “We were one game short. I mean, it’s not all about me, it’s about the team and I feel like we all feel like we came up one game short, so I feel like that’s all of our goals and I’m focused on our team’s main goal.”

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