Pro Football Focus has released its rankings of each NFL backfield, and the Green Bay Packers finish quite high as they crack the top-5.
Pro Football Focus marches on with their league-wide positional rankings, and when it comes to the backfield, just like with the offensive and defensive lines, they are very high on the Green Bay Packers’ personnel. And who wouldn’t be? This group has the opportunity to be one of the best all-around backfields in the game this season.
In 2019 under Matt LaFleur, we saw the running game featured much more than what it had been under Mike McCarthy. As a team, Green Bay threw the ball 59.8 percent of the time last season, which ranked 16th in the NFL. In 2018, however, they ranked first in this category throwing the ball on 67.5 percent of their plays.
This resulted in a breakout year for Aaron Jones as he rushed for nearly 1,100 yards and totaled 16 touchdowns on the ground on his way to establishing himself as one of the premier running backs in the game.
However, the run game isn’t the only area that we saw the Green Bay backs make a bigger impact. LaFleur also had both Jones and Jamaal Williams very involved in the passing game as well.
Jones set career highs hauling in 49 receptions on 68 targets for 474 yards with three more touchdowns. Meanwhile, Williams, who in his own right has been a very good all-around back for the Packers, tied for the team lead with Davante Adams with five touchdown receptions.
Now joining this dynamic duo is second-round pick, A.J. Dillon, who, along with Jones, will give the Packers another home run hitter when he has the ball in his hands. At Boston College, Dillon would average 5.2 yards per carry while oftentimes facing loaded boxes and eclipsed the 1,500 rushing mark in two of his three seasons.
The addition of Dillon provides a change of pace from Jones, and although he wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game while in college, the Green Bay Packers didn’t draft him where they did for him to not be a pass-catcher in this offense.
We also can’t forget that in addition to this three-headed monster, LaFleur also has gadget player, Tyler Ervin, at his disposal. Although it was a small sample size last season, we saw Ervin line up out wide, in the backfield, and in the slot while also being used on jet sweeps. He’s another member of this Packers team with versatility and playmaking ability that opposing defenses have to be conscious of.
So as you can see, this Packers backfield has some serious juice, and it’s why they came in at No. 4 on PFF’s backfield rankings.
In the article, author Steve Palazzolo notes how dominant Jones was in 2019 and how he has led the Packers to become “one of the most efficient rushing attacks in the league.” Palazzolo also mentions that the addition of the bruising yet athletic Dillon will be a nice “compliment” to Jones and that Williams is coming off an excellent year as a pass-catcher.
This group is tailormade for the LaFleur offense with their ability to function both in the running and passing games while also being able to line up across the formation. This is one way that LaFleur creates the “illusion of complexity” as he puts it, and as we look ahead to the 2020 season, this backfield is going to play a significant role in determining Green Bay’s success.
Which, of course, is a good thing because they are certainly well equipped to do just that.