The Green Bay Packers have many reasons for optimism heading into the 2024 offseason, but they also have work to do to get the team in the best position to succeed. Filling this position in particular will be a key to the team’s success in 2024.

This Position Was Vital to the Packers Success in 2023

One position that was vital to the team’s success in 2023 was running back. Specifically, it was important that the team have a strong running game.

There was a remarkable correlation between the offense playing its best football and the good health and productivity of starting running back Aaron Jones.

Jones finished the regular season with three consecutive games with 100 or more yards rushing. Then, he added two more in the team’s two playoff games. The Packers won four of those games and came close to pulling off an upset in the fifth game against San Francisco.

When Jones was out of the lineup or only able to make a brief appearance in a game, the offense struggled and was significantly less productive.

The strong finish my Jones may have been due in part to the fact that he did not play as much during the season and therefore, his body was fresher than many other players in the final weeks of the season.

The Packers Needs at the Position

The Packers enter this offseason with a lot of questions at running back. Jones will turn 30 during the coming season. That is considered old for a running back. When healthy last year, Jones didn’t show any signs of slowing down although he did only play 11 games and was limited in many of them.

Backup running back A.J. Dillon will be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins later this month. While the Packers would certainly welcome the former Boston College star back, he is likely to receive a better offer elsewhere. The Packers could replace him with a less expensive alternative.

In addition, Dillon’s running style is very different than Jones’. As a result, the team couldn’t run many of the same plays when Jones was unavailable and Dillon replaced him.  While having backs with contrasting styles can be valuable when both are in the game, when one is missing, it can also create some problems for the offense. We saw it limit Matt LaFleur.

The only other running back with NFL experience is Emanuel Wilson. Wilson only carried the ball 14 times in his rookie campaign. He showed promise in the preseason and will look to secure a bigger role in 2024.

The Packers Offseason Plan at This Position That Is Vital to Their Success

With Jones getting older and standing just 5’9”, the Packers should look to limit his touches next season to keep him healthy and fresh when the playoffs roll around.

This means GM Brian Gutekunst should look to add at least one running back with a similar style of play to Jones. If Jones gets injured, they can turn to the new back to spell him without having to drastically change the offense.

The cheapest way to do this is to draft a running back with a similar style in the 2024 NFL Draft. They can have him share carries with Jones this season. Later, they will give him a chance to be the heir apparent when Jones starts to slow down.

The Packers could also draft a running back with a different style of play to compliment Jones.  He could also serve in a short yardage role similar to what Dillon did best.

Wilson would also return to fight for a roster spot and a bigger role in 2024.

The goal would be to keep Jones healthy and to ensure that he is not worn down when we get to the final games of the season and into the postseason.

If the Packers have a dangerous Aaron Jones when it matters most, that helps Jordan Love and the rest of the offense operate at peak efficiency.




Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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