While he was home in El Paso during the offseason, Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones did what he always does: he reached out to the community.
Except this time, his charity work also benefitted him. Green Bay’s coaching staff tasked him with becoming a better receiver out of the backfield this season, so to get ready for a potential breakout third season, he employed the help of some local high school quarterbacks.
Jones got Eastlake’s Orion Olivas and El Paso High’s Zach Rodriguez to throw him passes as he run his route tree during the offseason. He had the duo throw him both good passes and bad passes, to give him as many looks as possible. He knows he’ll see a lot of different situations during the NFL season and he wants to be ready for all of them.
“Just working on my hands, working bad ball drills, different things,” Jones said. “If it’s put behind me I can still go get it, if it’s too high I can go get it. Just different things, I want to continue to work on my hands so I can continue to be an asset in the passing game.”
The offseason workouts were beneficial for Jones and also a lot of fun for Olivas and Rodriguez as well.
“It was pretty cool. They played it cool at first and then after they were like, ‘Can I take a picture with you?'” Jones said. “Then I took them to go get some smoothies afterwards. It was cool. I’m just out there showing them hey, they’re no different from me. If they put in the work they can make it as well.”
Jones is expected to be Green Bay’s number one running back under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur. The third-year pro out of UTEP led the NFL in yards per carry last season (5.5) and led the Packers in rushing yards (728) and touchdowns (8). He was also an improved threat in the passing game, reeling in 26 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown.
Jones and the Packers open the regular season Sept. 5 at the Chicago Bears.