Aaron Jones, not Rodgers, proving to be Packers’ MVP

NFL Green Bay

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP)It’s been a while since the Green Bay Packers had a dominant force at running back.

Eddie Lacy was Green Bay’s previous 1,000-yard rusher. That was five years ago.

Aaron Jones had another big game in a win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and the third-year back continues to prove he is exactly what the Packers need if they’re going to represent the NFC in Miami in February.

WHAT’S WORKING

That whole relationship thing between Aaron Rodgers and coach Matt LaFleur and his staff.

Rodgers looked over to the sideline following Jones’ third touchdown of the game on Sunday. It was a 13-yard run with 11:50 to go in the third quarter. Rodgers lined up 5 yards behind the center, with Jones immediately next to him.

Rodgers took the snap and handed it to Jones. Right guard Billy Turner and right tackle Bryan Bulaga both blocked left while tight end Marcedes Lewis ran a quick out to the right. The movement up front created a massive hole for Jones to stroll through.

”I just love that play call,” Rodgers said. ”I always tell (quarterbacks coach Luke) Getsy like I’ve told `AVP’ (former Packers quarterbacks coach) Alex Van Pelt in the past, (former Packers assistant) Tom Clements and I used to talk about how the simplest plays are the best plays, and I feel like that’s a very simple play that’s been very effective for us, so I was maybe pointing over to Luke, hoping he would understand what I was thinking there.”

The relationship is working, as is the plan to get Jones the ball. Jones is tied with Christian McCaffrey for the league lead in rushing touchdowns (11) and total touchdowns (14).

”That was one of my goals to start the season,” said Jones on leading the NFL in touchdowns. ”So going into a bye, over halfway through the season and to be leading that, it’s big time, but I’ve got to keep it up, I’ve got to keep grinding and continue to score touchdowns.”

WHAT’S NOT WORKING

LaFleur said Monday that the team’s communication during substitutions is poor and is something he and his staff will look to improve during the bye week.

”It looks chaotic and disorganized at times,” he said. ”That’s something we’re going to take a good, hard look at and how we can make it more clear and efficient for our players.”

The Packers got a delay of game penalty Sunday following a timeout.

STOCK UP

Davante Adams. The two-time Pro Bowl receiver had the 14th 100-yard receiving game of his career on Sunday. After missing four games with turf toe, it looks as though Adams is returning to form just in time for the home stretch of the season.

”I feel great, man,” Adams said. ”I still have to deal with some uncomfortable stuff but I’m obviously able to perform at a high level, still run around and be at full speed. That’s a plus.”

STOCK DOWN

Marquez Valdes-Scantling. With Adams now back in the fold, someone’s numbers were going to take a dip. That someone is Valdes-Scantling. The second-year speedy receiver has been shut out completely in each of the past two games after hauling in 133 yards and a touchdown in Week 7.

”No. 1, he has battled through a little bit of an injury (knee, ankle), which definitely has slowed him down,” LaFleur said of the 6-foot-4 wideout. ”But I also think we gotta look critically at ourselves and what we’re asking him to do and making sure we’re putting him in position to get some of those balls because he does have a great talent.”

INJURED

Several players are nursing injuries. Cornerback Tremon Smith and linebacker Ty Summers both left Sunday’s game with concussions. The good news is Green Bay has a bye week, the Packers’ latest bye since the bye was reintroduced in 1990.

”Obviously, we’ve accomplished the start that we’ve wanted to get off to and now we have a chance to get healthy,” Rodgers said. ”I think overall we’ve been fortunate so far to not have a number of major injuries, but a lot of us are nursing things that we have throughout the early part of the season. It will be nice to get that week off. Obviously, the scotch tastes a lot better at 8-2 on a bye week than 7-3.”

KEY NUMBERS

7-0 – Green Bay is 7-0 this season when recording at least one takeaway.

NEXT STEPS

The Packers will rest and heal before hitting the road to take on the 49ers on Nov. 24. LaFleur’s younger brother, Mike, is the passing game coordinator for San Francisco.

”My wife and my kids are going to go out a couple days early and they’re going to be staying at their house,” LaFleur said. ”Hopefully she can do some recon for us.”

Follow Keith Jenkins on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrKeithJenkins

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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