No Peterson…..No Problem
In recent days, the media has been buzzing with the news that Adrian Peterson has been quoted as saying that he would be a good fit to solidify the Packers rushing attack. With all due respect to the aging future Hall of Famer, these sentiments could not be further from the truth. Why would the Packers take a shot on an aging running back who is always hurt and has very little left in the tank?
This media buzz and speculation of a match between Peterson and the Packers have been populating news feeds and grabbing headlines for the last couple years but has yet to gain any real traction.
This is not much of a surprise this year because the Green Bay Packers already have two talented up and coming young running backs who can lead their rushing attack for years to come, and because they do not generally do business with aging players past their prime.
Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones’s standout rookie campaigns have primed them to have breakout seasons in 2018. The running back tandem took over for the perpetually injured Ty Montgomery during the early part of last season and was able to develop nicely as the season progressed.
They provided solid production, timely third-down conversions, and explosive impact plays in both the rushing and passing attacks. Their solid rookie performances have caused many to believe that their best days could be just on the horizon.
As we inch closer to the 2018 season, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones will look to improve on their combined 1,004 yards rushing from last season and focus their eyes on rushing for 1,000 yards individually this season.
This may sound like a huge jump from their first season to their second season, but it is important to remember that they will be playing behind a healthy Aaron Rodgers and an array of weapons in the passing game which will force opposing defenses to respect the passing game and not stack the box.
This will create a balance in opposing teams defensive formations and will allow Williams and Jones to benefit from more space and wider running lanes which will allow them to frequently reach opposing defenses second level.
Like any successful running back tandem, Williams and Jones possess different strengths in their respective games. Williams has proven to be more of a north to south runner with the ability to find the early hole and pound his way for extra yards after contact.
Jones has shown the ability to excel a bit more east to west which has given him an ability to make defenders miss in the open field, which led to a number of big plays in 2017, including a game-winning touchdown against Tampa Bay on his only carry of the game.
Part of being a winning NFL franchise is having the ability to draft players who can develop into solid contributors in their rookie season and have them continue to progress into standout players during their second, third, fourth, and fifth seasons.
This will alleviate the need to continually shell out money on short and longterm free agent contracts to fill needs at every position, which is crucial in a salary cap driven sport like the NFL.
The Packers took this approach last season with the running back position and saw flashes of brilliance with Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. From this starting point, the Packers can now feel confident that both players will continue to progress and show more consistent flashes of brilliance over a full season and a heavier workload.
Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones have earned the right to become the Green Bay Packers primary running backs of the future, which means that Adrian Peterson will have to look elsewhere to find a good match for his services.——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave