For the first time in three years, it was not Aaron Jones who led the Green Bay Packers in rushing yards last season. With him missing two games, it was AJ Dillon who creeped past Jones statistically, rushing for 803 yards compared to Jones' 799 rushing yards. Both players are talented, which is why head coach Matt LaFleur believes he has two starters.
In speaking with reporters Monday, LaFleur called Jones and Dillon running backs "1A and 1A," per The Athletic.
"They're two of the premier backs in our league, in my opinion," LaFleur said. "They can do anything."
Jones has been one of the premier running backs in the NFL over the past few years, as he rushed for 1,084 yards and a league-leading 16 touchdowns in 2019, and followed it up with 1,104 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. While he failed to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2021, Jones has still recorded at least 1,190 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdown numbers in three straight seasons.
There may be more intrigue surrounding Dillon in fantasy football circles this season, however, as he took a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2. Last season, Dillon recorded 1,116 yards from scrimmage and seven total touchdowns while clearly carving out a role for himself on offense. Just 24, his best football is likely ahead of him.
While LaFleur's quote will catch the attention of fantasy owners, maybe it doesn't mean that Jones' role could potentially diminish in 2022. The Packers, of course, lost star wideout Davante Adams this offseason, and it could be the running backs who replace his production in terms of touches. Either way, LaFleur made it clear that he loves his running backs.