Aaron Jones was activated this week after serving a two game suspension, stemming from a Marijauna charge. In his first presser after the activation, Mike McCarthy said, “Jamaal (Williams) and Ty (Montgomery) have played good football. I know what Aaron gives us, but his role will be secondary. Jamaal and Ty will be in the first slot.” This sent some into a tizzy on Packers social media, as Williams who has been the primary running back has not had impressive numbers, with the touches is has gotten. But one can’t take McCarthy at face value. This week Jones may be limited but he will be given opportunities to earn additional playing time in the near future. McCarthy could very well be sending a message to Jones, who is clearly the most gifted runner of the three, that it isn’t all about rushing, but it is also about assignments and pass protection.
Jones’s numbers in his limited amount of playing time last year are remarkable; 81 carries, 448 yards, 5.5 yards per carry. Compare that to Jamaal Williams who has 184 carries, 662 yards and 3.6 yard per carry, in his career. Both have had limted touches in the passing game, though Jones has looked natural in that area; Last preseason he had a couple TD receptions and he had a very savvy catch last year vs The Cowboys along the sideline. Its easy to forget how good Jones is with the ball. But if you did, take a look at these highlights vs the aforementioned Cowboys last year. His lateral cuts are quick and decisive. But most importantly his runs with incredible vison and patience. He carried that through the rest of the year, when he was on the field, all the way through the Carolina game when he had 3 carries for 47 yards. Mike McCarthy inexplicitly didn’t give him more than the three very productive carries in that game.
In an ideal world, with all other things being equal, Jones would get all Jamal Williams touches. But of course, other things aren’t equal. Watch the clip below. It is something. Williams manhandles Anthony Barr as it if were Joe Thomas blocking Kyler Fackrell. Last year, Jones showed some good things, but he wasn’t the best in the area of blocking. It hard to recall a time when Williams missed a blitz pickup or was overpowered. This off course cannot be overlooked as one, mistake in the area could be a drive killer.
Jamaal Williams is a boss pic.twitter.com/kzplqT0lQR
— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) September 17, 2018
Meanwhile, Ty Montgomery possesses a unique skill set that blends a little of everything you would like to see from a modern running back. He is good with the ball in his hands and has big play ability. It’s easy to forget that he has an impressive 4.9 lifetime yards per carry. And he is certainly not a liability in pass blocking. In today’s modern NFL, many of the great offenses have a pass catching running back, as I wrote last winter. Montgomery shouldn’t be a primary call carrier, but rather his role should resemble this game against the Bears in 2016.
This is as diverse of a skill set, from three running backs that a team can have. You have dynamic runner. A great pass protector. And a pass catching back. All add something that is valuable. While McCarthy is prasing the play of Williams and Montgomery it is going to be impossible for him to keep Aaron Jones from getting snaps. The stable of running backs is something that McCarthy and Philbin need to take full advantage of and by doing so, it is more likely they will able to keep all three relatively healthy for the season. It will be tricky however, as there is only so many snaps and one ball. But that what coaches have to do. The Patriots find a way to get James White on the field, though he isn’t their primary runner. The Saints last year were able to incorporate Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Wide Receivers are the more valuable position. They make the far more money because the position is more important. While that is true, each back is put in the best positon to utilize each of their best skills, the offense could benefit greatly, especially in the long run.Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz