PFF: Packers Have One of NFL’s Best Backfields

With the expectation that Josh Jacobs will have a bounce-back season, the Green Bay Packers are near the top of Pro Football Focus’ running back rankings.
Green Bay Packers running backs Josh Jacobs (8) and Emanuel Wilson at minicamp on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Green Bay Packers running backs Josh Jacobs (8) and Emanuel Wilson at minicamp on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. / Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers, who signed Josh Jacobs and released Aaron Jones at the start of free agency, have the sixth-best backfield in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Packers – literally – are banking on Jacobs to have a bounce-back season after signing him to a four-year contract worth $48 million. That’s what PFF’s Trevor Sikkema is counting on, as well.

“Josh Jacobs had a down year with the Raiders in 2023 after rushing for more than 1,600 yards and earning an elite 91.9 rushing grade in 2022,” Sikkema wrote. “But there wasn’t much help around him in Las Vegas, and he is now in Green Bay with A.J. Dillon and rookie MarShawn Lloyd behind him. That bodes well for Jacobs to enjoy a bounce-back year.”

It was a difficult year for Jacobs, who no doubt was impacted by the Raiders moving on from quarterback Derek Carr and moving forward with mediocre veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and midround rookie Aidan O’Connell.

En route to winning the NFL rushing title with 1,653 yards in 2022, Jacobs gained 1,156 yards after contact. Jacobs rushed for a total of 805 yards last season, his yards-after-contact and missed-tackle count plunging from 3.40 and 90 in 2022 to 2.35 and 28 in 2023.

“It was just so much uncertainty,” Jacobs said of last season. “We were going through a lot of coaches, having certain things happen as a team. I just felt like it was like an emotional rollercoaster. So, to be somewhere and be stable and be at a place where you feel like you’re wanted and things like that, I think it’s huge. It definitely brings that joy back to the game.”

No doubt Jacobs will find some joy joining an offense with a legitimate quarterback. With Jordan Love and his star-studded group of young playmakers, defenders can’t afford to stack the box to stop Jacobs.

“I think everyone’s watched what Josh Jacobs has been about when he’s been on the Raiders,” Love said. “There’s definitely no question what kind of player he is when he’ll get out there on the field. That was awesome to see him out there, making those cuts and breaking away out there. He’s a phenomenal player, obviously. He’s got the speed and the cuts and agility, so I’m excited to see him once the season gets rolling and see how hard it is for guys to tackle him.”

The backfield figures to be supplemented by veteran AJ Dillon, rookie third-round pick MarShawn Lloyd and perhaps second-year player Emanuel Wilson.

For the veteran duo of Jacobs and Dillon, the goals are much larger than the stats.

“I’ve got a bunch of motivation but it’s all internal,” Dillon said. “I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel good so I’m ready to do whatever it takes. I want to go win a Super Bowl. I’ve been here – this is Year 5 now. We’ve been close. That’s really it. I’m going to go out, work and I’m going to be a dog in whatever capacity on gameday. That’s it. Motivation? I’ve got it. Discipline? I’ve got it. I’m here and trying to be great.”

The explosive Lloyd, who has a powerful build and breakaway speed, could be an X-factor on offense so long as he develops into an all-around player in the passing game.

He will find two willing mentors with Jacobs and Dillon.

“Everybody that watches his game, even I told him when we got him, I was like, ‘Man, he reminds me a lot of me,’” Jacobs said. “So, I’m excited to be able to see what he can do. And I told him that. I said, ‘You’re coming in, they drafted you early, they drafted you to produce.’

“And I’m one of the vets where when I came in I had a lot of guys that were willing to take me under their wing and teach me. For him, that’s all I try to do. Try to help him with certain things I see or how to learn certain ways that I learned the playbook or whatever. Hopefully, he can put his own spin on it and be successful.”

The Detroit Lions are third and the Jones-led Vikings are 13th. Click here for the full story.

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Bill Huber


Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.