Josh Jacobs comment proves he’s ready to fill Aaron Jones shoes and then some

While many Green Bay Packers fans are still upset about the decision to move on from longtime starter Aaron Jones, running back Josh Jacobs is doing what he can to alleviate the pain.

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Green Bay Packers caught many off guard when they signed running back Josh Jacobs to a four-year, $48 million contract to replace longtime starter Aaron Jones, especially Stephania Bell of ESPN.

But Jacobs doesn’t seem to be phased by the outside noise and is embracing the next chapter of his NFL career with his new team. Comments from his introductory press conference suggest he is ready to fill the void left by Jones and then some, even as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, a role the latter thrived in.

Josh Jacobs believes he can handle more passing game work

“I was talking to coach about that actually yesterday,” Jacobs said regarding his potential involvement in the passing game. “I feel like I didn’t get to show that as much as I would have liked. So that definitely something in the conversation we had."

Jacobs was used as a receiver during his five-year stint with the Las Vegas Raiders, but not to the capacity that the Packers utilized Jones and his pass-catching prowess. He has seen an uptick in usage since his rookie season, earning 45 targets or more in four straight seasons, hauling in 50-plus receptions in 2021 and 2022.

Jones established himself as one of the premiere receiving backs in football during his time in Green Bay, catching at least 47 passes in four of the past five seasons. Since 2019, he ranks fourth and fifth in receiving yards (1,848) and receptions (311) among tailbacks. His dual-threat ability has been a big part of the Packers offensive success in recent years, so Jacobs must find a way to replicate it.  

Moreover, the foundation of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur’s offensive scheme requires having the ability to move his running back across the formation like a chess piece, meaning Jacobs has to be comfortable playing outside of his usual position. Jones has lined up out wide on 11.5 percent of his career snaps, per PFF ($), compared to 6.7 percent for the former Raider.

Now the highest-paid running back for 2024 in terms of total cash, Green Bay is compensating Jacobs handsomely under the belief that he will thrive in his newfound three-down role following the departure of Jones.