By Tori Wittenbrock
Associate Sports Editor
GREEN BAY – After facing a hamstring injury and limited to no participation since Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers (3-6 conf.) fans have been anxiously awaiting the return of running back Aaron Jones and the offensive spark often accompanied by his presence on the field.
Though he has not had as many opportunities to take the field this season, head coach Matt LaFleur said that he is hopeful that the team can come together and find a way to win each week.
“Part of our focus every week as a coaching staff is how do we win this game as a team,” said Matt LaFleur after the Packers’ game against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Nov. 12. “That is the conversation we have every week, before every game.”
During the Packers’ Week 1 game against the Chicago Bears, Jones claimed 41 rushing yards and 86 receiving yards through two receptions. He had two touchdowns to help his team to a 38-20 victory against their rivals early in the season.
Jones first saw some struggles with his return to play with limited participation against the Detroit Lions in Week 4, but only had 18 rushing yards and one reception for a loss of four yards.Then Jones faced a setback placing him on the sidelines in their Week 5 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, again remaining inactive on the roster until the Packers headed west to face the Denver Broncos.
“I thought I recovered fast. I was running really quickly. I was like, ‘I think I can run this week,’ but it just kind of lingered a bit but I’m back and feeling good now,” said Jones about his hamstring injury this season.
Amid Jones’ limited participation in the Packers’ game against the Broncos, the team saw a close 19-17 loss. On a personal level, Jones gained 35 yards rushing and 22 yards receiving. A week later in their game against the Minnesota Vikings, Jones saw similar stats with 29 rushing yards and 17 receiving.
Packer fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief, however, after they broke a four game losing streak against the Los Angeles Rams. Interestingly enough, the team’s 20-3 victory coincided with Jones’ improved stats. During Week 9, Jones leapt up to gain 73 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards.
“It feels great, you know? We’ve been putting a lot of work and a lot of time into this. You never want to come out and lose four or five straight,” said Jones after the Packers win against the Rams. “Just to get back on the other side of that win column is huge.”
Though there is still progress to be made in the Packers’ run game — as evidenced by Jones seeing only 35 rush yards and 19 on the receiving end — Packers fans anxiously await the day that his name ceases to land on the injury report and he is granted full participation. The Packers faced a 23-19 loss that came down to the final play on a Green Bay possession in Pittsburgh.
Going into this season, Jones was ranking 64th on the NFL’s Top 100 List voted on by players within the league. Previous to this season, Jones was ranked 30th in 2021 and 33rd in 2020.