AJ Dillon clears concussion protocol, will be available for Packers crucial game at Miami

Ryan Wood
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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GREEN BAY − If the Green Bay Packers pull off an upset Sunday in Miami to further their unlikely playoff push, they’ll have a full backfield behind Aaron Rodgers.

Running back AJ Dillon cleared concussion protocol after exiting Monday night’s win against the Los Angeles Rams, coach Matt LaFleur said. Dillon will be full go on a short week, giving the Packers a critical piece in their offense.

Dillon had just 36 yards on 11 carries against the Rams, but his physical running set a tone against a defense lacking defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Dillon scored two touchdowns, the first an 8-yard run that ended with him bulldozing three Rams defenders near the goal line. He also had three receptions for 35 yards.

“I thought he was running hard,” coach Matt LaFleur said after the game. “That first touchdown run was indicative of the mentality and play style that we want to have on offense. Just him lowering his pad level and guys competing, and the O-line getting in there late, pushing the pile. Our receivers digging guys out. I thought that was a great example of what we needed to look like.”

Aaron Jones carried the offense after Dillon’s departure, finishing with 90 yards on 17 carries. He added four catches on five targets for 36 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown to open a 24-6 lead late in the third quarter.

Dillon’s physicality helped pave the way, softening the Rams defense. It was a continuation of a late-season groove the 250-pound tailback has found. In the Packers' past three games, Dillon has four touchdown runs. He had just one touchdown in the first 11 games.

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His availability will be important as Jones plays through an ankle injury. If Dillon hadn’t been forced to leave Monday night’s game, Jones’ usage likely would have been less. With Dillon cleared to play, LaFleur said he’ll manage Jones’ ankle injury day to day this week.

“We’ve just got to make sure he is healthy come game time,” LaFleur said. “He is a guy that is going to battle through everything. The intention was probably, and I talked to him about this during the game, was to try to limit his snaps once we got AJ going and all that. Then AJ comes out of the game, and it’s like, ‘Can you go?’ He said he can go the whole time, but I kind of just wanted to limit just the hits on him, because he is so valuable to us – unless we absolutely needed him."

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