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Packers RB AJ Dillon looking to be more punishing against defenses in 2023

Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon enters a pivotal 2023 campaign, the final year of his rookie contract.

The 2020 second-round pick known as Quadzilla wants to be even more punishing.

"I think I just really need to play just a little bit more -- it's hard to put a word on it -- but like passionate," Dillon said, via the Associated Press. "I think I need to go out there and just play a little bit more reckless, so not trying to play perfect, not trying to play perfect football. Nobody does. Just kind of go out there and for a lack of words, kind of make defenses feel me."

Dillon elaborated on his plan of leaning on defenses.

"Even though we might be running and there's only four yards here to get, make it a hard four yards," he said. "Make sure the next time running the ball, those defenders feel that, they think about it next time, and just kind of deliver the blow a little bit more."

In his first three years, Dillon has primarily sat in the sidecar as Aaron Jones drives the backfield production. Dillon has made just five starts in 45 games played. He's earned 187 and 186 carries in the past two seasons, respectively.

At 6-foot, 247 pounds, Dillon is a load to bring down for defenses and owns the ability to churn out extra yards. However, he struggled to make much of a dent last season, generating 770 yards rushing with seven touchdowns. Per Next Gen Stats, Dillon generated -0.2 rushing yards over expected per carry, tied for seventh worst among all backs with 100-plus carries in 2022.

"I'm not satisfied with really how I performed last year," Dillon said. "Let's look back at when I have been really successful and how I approached the game and, yeah, looking back a little bit, looking back at those highlights, going back to what was my mindset when I was in college when I was dominating the ACC, what was that like and trying to just get to that mindset."

With Jordan Love taking over the offense and a very young pass-catching corps, Matt LaFleur could run things through his backfield more in 2023, which means Dillon should get those opportunities to punish defenders.

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