It all starts with Mike Shanahan, who produced both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay. Shanahan and McVay had a baby, and his name is Matt LaFleur. LaFleur has 10 years of experience behind Kyle Shanahan and McVay, and is bringing that knowledge and experience to Green Bay. The LaFleur experiment wasn’t quite successful in Tennessee, but the players at his disposal weren’t necessarily the best to work with, starting at the instability at the QB position. Whether that was mostly to blame or not, the passing offense ranked near the bottom of the league.
The rushing offense, however, ranked 7th in the league, and the Titans’ rush percentage of 48.51% was only second to Seattle. And it probably wasn’t a coincidence either; when LaFleur was Matt Ryan’s QB coach in his 2016 MVP season, Shanahan’s Falcons were in the top-third in terms of rushing percentage, and so was Sean McVay’s Rams in 2017 when LaFleur was their OC. All three coaches heavily implement their backfields in the passing game, and that was evident with the backfields of Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman on the Falcons, Carlos Hyde/Matt Breida on the 49ers, the acquisition of Jerick McKinnon by the 49ers, Dion Lewis, and obviously Todd Gurley. Last year, Lewis caught 59 of 67 targets in a split backfield, and even with his role fading away towards the end of the season.
Aaron Jones’ gets a big benefit with LaFleur as his OC; he’s probably a lock for 50+ catches on top of what he’s getting on the ground. His current ADP of a third round pick seems very safe, with room for upside; it’s always nice when you don’t have to draft guys at their absolute ceilings. His pass blocking dramatically improved coming into 2018, ranking as PFF’s top-rated pass blocking RB, so bringing Jamaal Williams in to replace him on pass downs probably provides nothing more than a breather for Jones. Because of how much LaFleur might want to run the ball, Williams can possibly be in for 30% of snaps, but the volume of total run plays can likely sustain Jones as a desirable fantasy RB1 either way.
Not to mention, you have Aaron Rodgers as your QB. Rodgers struggled last year with everything on his shoulders on a stale offense. LaFleur should bring more balance, and actually use the run game to set Rodgers up to make plays – something Rodgers never experienced. He might not like it, since he wants everything on his shoulders, but he’ll likely be more successful this way, especially since he doesn’t have the weapons at WR he once had. Rodgers is the best QB to ever play under any of these coaches, and while Matt Ryan is the one with the MVP season, I’m looking forward to what Rodgers can do playing in a more modern and creative offense. A mix of Shanahan and McVay mean a mix between 11- and 12-personnel for the most part, and whether that means getting Jimmy Graham mismatched on a linebacker, or Davante Adams in the slot catching screen passes (don’t be surprised), we’ll see a lot more ways for Rodgers and Co. to move the ball in 2019.
What’s not to like about Jones in 2019? He’s explosive, he has a great offensive line, one of the best QBs, and will be heavily involved in the passing game. How happy would you be with him as your RB2?