Packers’ Jones bulks up to improve all-around game

The Sports Xchange

July 02, 2018 at 2:36 pm.

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones used the offseason to build up his body, hoping to prevent the kind of knee injuries that affected his promising rookie season.

The work has paid off in other ways as well.

“I’m bigger all around,” Jones said on the team’s website. “That’s something that’s going to help me in pass protection and that’s something I want to get better at. I’m stronger, so definitely when a defender who’s bigger than me comes up I can hold my ground this year.

“I feel like any athlete wants to get bigger, stronger as long as they can stay explosive. I still feel just as explosive as I was, if not even more.”

Running backs coach Ben Sirmans wanted Jones to focus on building his lower body, and Sirmans believes the 5-foot-9, 208-pounder has done that without losing speed.

“Over time, you start getting that grown-man weight, which is good weight,” Sirmans said on the team website. “When you see a guy come in as a rookie — in all sports — by the time they get to their third or fourth year, you can see how their body has changed, just naturally, now that you’re in more of a system that’s really focusing on your body and what you’re putting in nutritionally and how you’re working out.”

A fifth-round choice in the 2017 NFL Draft, Jones rushed for 125 yards in the Oct. 8 victory over Dallas and ran for 131 yards in the Oct. 22 loss to New Orleans.

However, injuries to each knee limited his production over the second half of the season. He finished with 448 yards while averaging 5.53 yards per carry.

“It was really frustrating,” Jones said. “I feel like it kind of messed up the season I was having, but I was still there for my teammates and still enjoyed being here. I came back from one and then injured the other one, and that was even more frustrating. “I was like, ‘How unlucky am I,’ but I was lucky at the same time because it could have been ACL. MCLs you just have to rest.”

The Packers plan to use a running-back-by-committee approach in their running game this season, and Jones figures to be an integral part of that rotation.

Besides the work on his body, Jones has two other noteworthy offseason accomplishments unrelated to football: He earned college degree this offseason and helped a grandmother navigate through the Appleton International Airport.