'Quadzilla' AJ Dillon ready to partner with Aaron Jones in Packers' backfield

AJ Dillon's rookie season in 2020 was highlighted by a 124-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Titans. Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- At first glance, AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones look like opposites.

There’s Dillon with his 247 pounds and massive lower body. There’s Jones at 208 on his slender frame.

Regardless of what they look like, one of them thinks they can give the Green Bay Packers the best running back tandem in the NFL.

“You look at us and you see thunder and lightning, which absolutely we are,” said Dillon, the second-year back. “But you know, the lightning guy, Aaron, he can also grind out some yards. And the thunder guy, myself, I’d like to say I can still beat some guys running away from them.

“We both definitely have our strengths, but we [are both] capable guys that can do it all.”

The last four years, it was the Jones and Jamaal Williams show. While they never quite became the best tandem in the league like Dillon believes he and Jones can become, they were a formidable duo. Jones became the star, turned into a touchdown machine and cashed in with a four-year, $48 million deal this offseason, while Williams left for the Detroit Lions in free agency.

Enter Dillon, who some believed was selected in the second round of the 2020 draft to serve as Jones’ eventual replacement. Instead, the Packers somewhat surprisingly invested in Jones.

Even with a limited role as a rookie, Dillon quickly became a viral sensation because of his massive legs. He played sparingly, battled COVID and settled in as the No. 3 back. That was until Week 16 against the Tennessee Titans, when Dillon burst onto the scene with a 124-yard, two-touchdown performance. In that game, Dillon and Jones combined for 218 of the Packers’ 234 rushing yards -- 143 of which came after contact.

That game could serve as a blueprint for how the Packers might have to play this season if they don’t have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. If it’s Jordan Love or Blake Bortles, then they’re going to need more of Dillon and Jones.

“You can see he’s a lot more comfortable,” Jones said of his running back partner. “He has the playbook down, and he’s just ready to go out there and fly around. I’m excited to suit up with him.”

Both have the dynamic personalities to match their talents.

Dillon has embraced the talk about his legs. He conducted his Zoom interview following Tuesday’s OTA wearing a sweatshirt that read “The Quadfather.”

He also goes by the nickname, “Quadzilla.”

“I put out a thing on Twitter and I did a little poll and it was like 51-49 for ‘Quadzilla’ and ‘Quadfather,’ and somebody brought up the idea of one leg being ‘Quadzilla,’ the other one being ‘Quadfather,’ so I'm gonna roll with that,” Dillon said. “Either name is applicable, and I'm fine with that. I'll definitely respond to it.”

Earlier this offseason, Dillon could be found on TikTok smashing watermelons between his legs.

“Well, I haven’t seen too many guys with legs that he possesses,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “You guys will have to ask him about how we tried to do the watermelon crushing contest in our first live team meeting. I’m skeptical about whether those watermelons were pre-sliced or not.”

LaFleur isn’t skeptical about what Dillon can add to the offense, especially after seeing what he did late last season.

“Obviously that gave us a lot of confidence in him,” LaFleur said. “I think that confidence really grew as the season progressed. Certainly he missed -- he was out of the building there for a while when I think he was kind of getting into the groove. It set him back a little bit. It took him some time to come back from that, but he is a really intelligent guy that gives great effort on a daily basis, and we’re just really excited about what the future holds for him.”