GREEN BAY (WBAY) -- Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones' coming out party in the NFL came in his home state of Texas during his rookie season in 2017.
He rushed for 125 yards at AT&T Stadium in Dallas as the Packers beat the Cowboys, 35-31. It was just the second game in which he recorded a carry. Jones remembers ... sort of.
“That's in the back of my head, (but) that's two years ago," Jones said Thursday. "I've got to go out and make a statement this time around.”
There haven't been many statements this season for Jones.
If you take away his 116 yard game in week 2, Jones is averaging barely over 2 yards on 12 carries a game. His longest run all season is just 15 yards, with only 3 carries of at least 10 yards; too few for a guy that had 22 of those rushes last year while leading the league in yards per carry (5.5).
“It's not frustrating, just know that it's going to come and keep being patient," Jones said. “Before, previously I wouldn't go out there looking for those big runs, just let it come natural and let it happen. That's what I am going to continue to do, let it come to me, let it happen naturally and not go looking for anything.”
It’s hardly all on the third year running back however.
“Since day one, we've said it takes all 11, just getting all 11 being on the same page, playing at a high level,” said Packers All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.
While some big plays from Jones would certainly help, it's the big number of carries that might be more important for the entire Packers offense to work against a balanced Dallas defense, which ranks 12th against the run and 10th against the pass.
Packers fullback Danny Vitale agrees.
“Yeah, absolutely. That is a huge part of our offense is getting this run game going,” Vitale said earlier this week. “That is definitely our big challenge this week is get that going and it opens up our entire playbook. So if we can do that, I think we can be pretty dangerous; we just have to get that figured out first.”
Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s offensive scheme is predicated on the run game, with pass game concepts designed off plays that look like runs.
Those have to be scrapped when the running backs don’t get the football.
“It's just a totally different game,” LaFleur said Thursday. “Typically, the play-action pass if somebody is playing a bunch of 2-deep (coverage-with two safeties back deep). You are not going to get the same kind of reaction from a defense because they are playing for the pass. In order for them to get out of those 2-deep shells, those structures, you need to be able to run the football.”
The Packers run game will go into Dallas ranked 26th in the NFL while the Cowboys defense is ranked 12th.
The Packers-Cowboys game is Sunday, Oct. 6 at 3:25 PM on FOX.