The running back position is one position that General Manager Brian Gutekunst did not have to address during the draft. The team currently has four running back on the roster, Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, Devante Mays. This does not include fullback Aaron Ripkowski. This is currently a good situation to be in, as the team has been limbo at the position due to injuries the past few years.
It is way too to select a starting running back. Mike McCarthy and running backs coach Ben Sirmans need to let this thing play out and see who emerges.
Ty Montgomery did a fantastic job of converting to a running back from a wide receiver when Eddie Lacy and James Starks got injured in 2016. He prepared himself and got into shape to be the lead dog at the position last year. Unfortunately, he suffered broken ribs and then a wrist injury which lead to the end of his season. Next up were rookies Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. Both showed promise but also got injured which limited their time.
Jamaal Williams lead the run game with 556 yards on 153 rushing attempts and four touchdowns. He was followed by Aaron Jones who had 448 yards on 81 rushing attempts and four touchdowns. Ty Montgomery carried the ball 71 times for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 23 passes for 173 yards and had one receiving touchdown. Aaron Jones displayed more speed and explosiveness and broke out with 125 yards rushing and one touchdown on 19 rushing attempts against the Dallas Cowboys on October 8. It was an impressive performance that gave the Packers brass hope that they may have found their running back of the future.
From what McCarthy and running back coach Ben Sirmans saw from Williams and Jones, maybe they will play Ty Montgomery in passing situations and let Williams or Jones carry the load. Montgomery provides the Packers with a dual threat since he can play two positions. This gives opposing defensive coordinators something else to think about when game planning against the Packers.
There is no clear starter in the group. By utilizing all three running backs, McCarthy will essentially be keeping their legs fresh for when they are needed the most and that is late November, December and playoff time. Granted McCarthy could opt to take the high road and start with Montgomery as his lead back and supplement him with Williams and Jones. Essentially letting the season play out and see who becomes the hot hand and takes control of the position.
With the wide receiver group lacking the star power of the years past, I could see Montgomery being featured more in the passing game. The running game would then be carried by Aaron Jones with Jamaal Williams spelling him. Who do you see being the starting running back?
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag