The Green Bay Packers have had some serious issues when it comes to the ground game in 2023. Whether it is running the ball themselves or stopping their opponents from doing so, the Packers have had no success.
Through four games, Green Bay is 27th in rushing yards and 28th in yards per rush on offense. Defensively, they are 31st in yards allowed and 23rd in rushing yards allowed per attempt. Their PFF grades don’t paint a pretty picture, either.
The Packers currently have a rushing grade of 67.5, which is 23rd in the league, and an ugly run-blocking grade of 52.7, which is 25th. Their run-defense grade of 58.8 puts them in 22nd in the league.
If they are going to find more success during the season, the Packers need to start controlling the line of scrimmage better and winning in the trenches. On offense, a solid job has been done protecting Jordan Love for dropbacks, but lanes are rarely opened up in the running game.
The same goes for the defense. Green Bay has been great at getting after the passer consistently. But, their run defense has been hit or miss. In their two victories, they have given up 199 yards on the group. In their two defeats, they have given up 211 rushing yards each time.
There is certainly an issue with the blocking, but the team could also look to make an upgrade in the backfield. Aaron Jones remains a great dual-threat, but his time in Green Bay could be nearing the end as his cap hit is north of $17 million in 2024. AJ Dillon has not gotten the job done, and in the final year of his rookie contract, he hasn’t played well enough to be considered for a lead-back role.
With their running back landscape up in the air, the Packers could look to make a splash. Matt Holder of Bleacher Report has suggested that Green Bay pursue star running back Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent in 2024.
“A few people have made this connection already seeing as A.J. Dillion is an impending free agent and Aaron Jones’ contract expires in 2024. Also, Taylor clearly wants out of Indianapolis after asking for a trade toward the end of training camp, and the Packers are willing to pay a running back since Jones currently ranks sixth in average annual value at the position.
At his best, Taylor is one of the top backs in the NFL and is only two years removed from being the league’s rushing champ with over 1,800 yards. He would add to Green Bay’s stable of young offensive weapons and provide support for Love by giving the team a boost in the running game and forcing defenses into one-high coverages.”
Taylor is four years younger than Jones, fitting the Packers’ timeline and youth movement better. If they are going to pay top dollar to a running back, it might as well be one that will be around for numerous seasons.
When healthy, Taylor has proven to be one of the most productive running backs in the NFL. He would provide the team with someone they can lean on to take pressure off of Love and the passing game.
Waiting until free agency also won’t cost the Packers premium draft capital, which the Colts are asking for in a return package in a trade.