Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones looks like a lean, mean, candy-avoiding machine going into the 2019 season.
This offseason, the third-year runner cut out candy and other sweets from his diet and slashed his body fat percentage almost in half, from 11 percent at the end of the 2018 season to just 5.3 now, according to Packers.com. He’s still around 205 pounds, meaning all that lost weight in fat was replaced by muscle.
Almost every summer, stories trickle out of NFL offseason programs about a player losing or gaining weight. Some of the stories matter, some don’t.
Jones’ body transformation probably shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only is he a dynamic runner who should only benefit from less fat and more muscle, but he’s expected to be the featured runner in Matt LaFleur’s outside zone running scheme, and he’ll need as strong as body as he can get to survive the weekly pounding that goes with being the No. 1 runner, especially after dealing with injuries each of his first two seasons.
A stronger and more explosive version of Jones could be exactly what LaFleur’s offense needs to get off the ground early. His acceleration to the line of scrimmage, innate ability to find cutback lanes and slashing one-cut style should be a perfect match in a running offense designed to get the defense flowing one way before the back finds the opening and bursting through.
A commitment to the run game will only add to the potential of Jones’ third season.
It’s hard not to get excited about a talented player with a reshaped body landing in a perfect system. Often, when existing talent, individual improvement and scheme fit collide, stars are made. And Jones already looks on the brink of stardom. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry – with 12 touchdowns and 10 runs over 20 yards – during his first two NFL seasons.
This offseason could be what pushes Jones to the next level.
Could fewer Twizzlers and Skittles mean more big plays and touchdowns for the Packers running back in 2019?