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Packers OC: Josh Jacobs an every-down RB; rookie MarShawn Lloyd to add 'explosive element'

The Green Bay Packers' run game figures to look quite different in 2024.

The Packers hurt some feelings by letting fan favorite Aaron Jones walk in the offseason, and the sting lingered after Jones signed with the rival Minnesota Vikings. But Green Bay made two big splashes in the backfield, signing free-agent RB Josh Jacobs to a four-year, $48 million deal and drafting USC's MarShawn Lloyd in Round 3 this spring.

The Packers also -- perhaps a bit surprisingly -- kept AJ Dillon. But from the words of Packers offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich, Jacobs and Lloyd figure to have great opportunities to earn significant roles this coming season.

With Jacobs earning nearly $15 million next season, he clearly figures to be the big dog in the backfield.

"Josh is a phenomenal running back," Stenavich said. "He's been All-Pro a couple of times. He's just one of those guys that's good in all situations, good out of the backfield as a receiver, excellent runner. He's a good (pass) protector. So he's one of those guys that you can really have in the game all the time and not have to worry about anything with him. So that's nice."

But Stenavich also had nice things to say about Lloyd, who was Daniel Jeremiah's top-rated back in the entire class and who ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"I liked his speed. I liked his speed a lot," Stenavich said of Lloyd. "He had some good runs in OTAs where you saw his burst. He's got good vision, so I'm really excited about that out of the backfield."

How much Lloyd will be featured early remains to be seen, and he suffered injury issues in each of his four years of college at both South Carolina and USC. And though Lloyd rarely was featured as a receiver in school, Stenavich indicated that Lloyd's third-down ability might allow him to carve out a role separate from what Dillon does best.

"I would like to get (Lloyd) out there as much as possible," Stenavich said. "He's got a skill set that's a little bit different than AJ's as far as his speed. He's not quite the bruiser that (Dillon) is obviously, but he's got a different type of skill set. So it'll be nice to get him the ball in space and just see what he can do because I think he's gonna add a good explosive element to the offense as well."

Even with an injured Jones missing a big chunk of last season, the Packers were a pretty solid rushing team in 2023, averaging 112.1 rush yards per game (which ranked 15th-best) and 4.32 yards per carry (ninth). The additions of Jacobs and Lloyd -- especially alongside a passing game that really could blossom in Year 2 under Jordan Love – could make this backfield an even more productive one in 2024.

Stenavich acknowledged Green Bay's talent level and run-game potential but also served warning for anyone assuming that improvement will just magically develop with the snap of a finger.

"We know how good we can be, but we need to understand that no one's going to hand anything to us in this league," Stenavich said. "Everything must be earned. Just the (intentionality) of going out there every single day and working hard and working at your craft and being the best that you can be, that's what's going to take us back to the playoffs and get us as far as we can go."

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