Green Bay Packers Running Backs A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones Both Eyeing Pro Bowls


The NFL regular season is about to begin, and players all over the league are declaring their goals. Green Bay Packers running back A.J. Dillon recently shared an intriguing ambition with the Athletic's Matt Schneidman: he wants a Pro Bowl for not only himself but teammate Aaron Jones as well. To answer Dillon's question, two running backs from the same team making the Pro Bowl is a rare achievement but not totally unprecedented. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram managed the feat for the New Orleans Saints in 2017, and Jim Otis and Terry Metcalf did the deed with the Arizona Cardinals in 1975. Several halfback and fullback combos have also accomplished the task, including Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris for the Miami Dolphins.

The dual Pro Bowl designation is a difficult dream to manifest because running back stardom is typically a volume game: it's hard to accumulate meaningful production without meaningful touches, and every touch one back receives comes at the expense of the other. When Ingram and Kamara most recently pulled it off, they did so by tallying over 1500 yards from scrimmage a piece. The key to that was Kamara being ridiculously efficient, managing an astounding 7.7 yards per touch on only 201 touches.
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So, for Dillon and Jones to match what Ingram and Kamara achieved, one of them will likely need to match Kamara's explosiveness. It seems unlikely. Jones is already a former Pro Bowler and fantastic receiver out of the backfield, but he's never come close to the 8.3 yards per target and 51.6 receiving yards per game that Kamara managed as a rookie, which means he'll need a lot of touches to reach 1500 yards from scrimmage. Dillon is an ascendant talent entering his third year, but it'd be farfetched to believe he can make the sort of leap it would take to reach the 7.7 yards per touch Kamara attained in 2017; Dillon's career mark is only 5.1 yards per touch across his first two seasons.

That all being said, Pro Bowls are just as much about star power as production. Should the Packers continue their winning ways, Dillon and Jones will get plenty of attention, particularly if the team transitions to a run-heavy approach following Davante Adams' departure. If they become the key to the Packers dominating their way to a fourth straight 13-win season, it might not matter if they equal Kamara and Ingram's numbers. Pro Bowls aren't about production. They're about perception.

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