Packers to rest Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon during preseason opener, paving way for RB3 battle

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With the third running back spot still up for grabs, the first preseason game will provide a great test for the Green Bay Packers backup ball carriers. Both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon aren’t expected to play in next week’s exhibition against the San Francisco 49ers.

“I doubt you’ll see AJ or Aaron Jones in that first preseason game,” head coach Matt LaFleur said Thursday.

That means the Packers will get an extensive look at undrafted rookies Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor. Patrick Taylor would also be a candidate for carries, but he landed on Wednesday’s injury report with a groin injury. If Taylor doesn’t heal in time, the team could end up adding another running back before the start of the preseason.

“That’s something Gutey (Brian Gutekunst) and I have talked about; certainly we don’t want to go into the first preseason game with two backs,” said LaFleur.

Taylor was Green Bay’s leading rusher last preseason but got released during final cutdowns. Instead, the team went with seventh-round draft pick Kylin Hill as the third back and signed Taylor to the practice squad.

Hill’s rookie season ended prematurely when he tore his ACL returning a kickoff against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8. Taylor replaced Hill on the roster the very next week and remained there for the rest of the season, totaling 23 rushing attempts for 89 yards and a touchdown.

If Hill were healthy, he would likely be the frontrunner for the third running back spot. However, because the injury occurred mid-season, there is still no timetable for his return. Now that Taylor is dealing with an issue, that opens the door for Goodson and Taylor.

Goodson (5-9, 197) rushed for 2,551 yards and 18 touchdowns and caught 70 passes over three seasons at Iowa. He had a strong performance in practice on Thursday, producing multiple long runs and a 20-yard touchdown during the red zone 11 on 11 period.

Meanwhile, Baylor isn’t going away quietly. The Oregon-State product has also shown flashes in camp, being able to pick up blitzes and stringing together a few nice runs himself.

The Packers RB3 battle is still in its beginning stages, but competition will heat up quickly when the preseason is officially underway.

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Story originally appeared on Packers Wire