When are the Packers going to wise up and let Aaron Jones carry the load? Every time they give him the ball, good things happen. When they use their other tailbacks … not so much.
Jones, recall, had a pair of 100-yard games in a limited role as a rookie, averaging almost 2 more yards per carry than their other two backs. And it was more of the same on Sunday against Buffalo. Jones gained 65 yards on his 11 carries. Jamaal Williams was their official starter (for both halves of the game) but gained only 27 yards on his 11 carries.
Including Ty Montgomery, all three tailbacks were on the field for 20-29 plays. It’s a committee – but Jones is definitely the best runner.
Since the start of 2017, 63 running backs have carried the ball at least 80 times. Only one of those backs (Alvin Kamara) has averaged more yards per carry than Jones. Williams and Montgomery aren’t nothing, but they’re both under 4 yards per attempt.
|RUNNING BACKS WITH 80 CARRIES (2017-18)|
|Alvin Kamara, N.O.||176||1,003||5.70||13|
|Aaron Jones, G.B.||98||555||5.66||5|
|Matt Breida, S.F.||146||778||5.33||3|
|Mark Ingram, N.O.||230||1,124||4.89||12|
|Kareem Hunt, K.C.||343||1,616||4.71||11|
|T.J. Yeldon, Jac.||98||458||4.67||3|
|Dion Lewis, N.E.-Ten.||223||1,039||4.66||7|
|Todd Gurley, LAR||358||1,643||4.59||17|
|Kenyan Drake, Mia.||166||751||4.52||4|
|Alfred Morris, Dal.-S.F.||159||714||4.49||2|
|Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.||315||1,409||4.47||9|
|Tarik Cohen, Chi.||114||509||4.46||2|
|Devonta Freeman, Atl.||202||901||4.46||7|
|Giovani Bernard, Cin.||139||613||4.41||5|
|Alex Collins, Balt.||257||1,131||4.40||8|
|Orleans Darkwa, NYG||171||751||4.39||5|
|Christian McCaffrey, Car.||163||706||4.33||2|
|Marshawn Lynch, Oak.||275||1,191||4.33||10|
|Bilal Powell, NYJ||217||937||4.32||5|
|Corey Clement, Phil.||101||433||4.29||5|
|C.J. Anderson, Den.-Car.||257||1,082||4.21||3|
|Wayne Gallman, NYG||121||508||4.20||0|
|Jay Ajayi, Mia-Phi.||245||1,028||4.20||4|
|Malcolm Brown, LAR||81||339||4.19||1|
|LeGarrette Blount, Phi.-Det.||208||861||4.14||2|
|Isaiah Crowell, Cle.-NYJ||248||1,024||4.13||6|
|Duke Johnson, Clev.||94||388||4.13||4|
|Dalvin Cook, Minn.||110||452||4.11||2|
|Chris Carson, Sea.||94||385||4.10||1|
|Melvin Gordon, LAC||338||1,381||4.09||10|
|LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||321||1,291||4.02||9|
|Tevin Coleman, Atl.||210||838||3.99||6|
|Rex Burkhead, N.E.||88||350||3.98||5|
|LeSean McCoy, Buff.||308||1,223||3.97||6|
|Ty Montgomery, G.B.||87||345||3.97||3|
|James Conner, Pitt.||95||376||3.96||3|
|Derrick Henry, Tenn.||230||907||3.94||5|
|Jordan Howard, Chi.||340||1,325||3.90||10|
|Leonard Fournette, Jac.||288||1,111||3.86||9|
|Latavius Murray, Minn.||235||906||3.86||8|
|Marlon Mack, Ind.||103||392||3.81||3|
|Jerick McKinnon, Minn.||150||570||3.80||3|
|Carlos Hyde, S.F.-Cle.||323||1,223||3.79||13|
|Alfred Blue, Hou.||100||378||3.78||2|
|Lamar Miller, Hou.||296||1,113||3.76||3|
|Mike Davis, Sea.||92||344||3.74||2|
|Joe Mixon, Cin.||216||805||3.73||5|
|Devontae Booker, Den.||90||335||3.72||1|
|Frank Gore, Ind.-Mia.||296||1,100||3.72||3|
|Matt Forte, NYJ||103||381||3.70||2|
|Javorius Allen, Balt.||179||653||3.65||7|
|Peyton Barber, T.B.||158||571||3.61||3|
|Adrian Peterson, 3 tms||212||765||3.61||5|
|Jamaal Williams, G.B.||200||718||3.59||4|
|DeMarco Murray, Tenn.||184||659||3.58||6|
|Kerwynn Williams, Ariz.||120||426||3.55||1|
|Mike Gillislee, N.E.-N.O.||120||426||3.55||5|
|Theo Riddick, Det.||89||313||3.52||3|
|Samaje Perine, Wash.||175||603||3.45||1|
|Jonathan Stewart, Car.-NYG||204||697||3.42||6|
|Ameer Abdullah, Det.||165||552||3.35||4|
|Chris Ivory, Jac.-Buf.||143||463||3.24||2|
|Doug Martin, T.B.-Oak.||163||504||3.09||3|
I bring this up because forces seem to be dictating that the pass-oriented Packers run more than usual this week. Neither Randall Cobb (hamstring) nor Geronimo Allison (concussion) has practiced this week. Davante Adams (calf) was limited yesterday and didn’t practice today. Adams should play, but Cobb and Allison very likely will be missing, meaning Aaron Rodgers will have to rely more on some of his receivers they selected in the draft with later round picks. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown haven’t shown much yet. Valdes-Scantling filled in for Cobb last week but was hardly a factor – 1 catch on 3 targets.
The Lions, meanwhile, rank last in run defense. In all three of their losses, they’ve allowed at least 169 rushing yards (against the Jets, 49ers and Cowboys). So it would logically make sense for Green Bay to make more of an effort to use the running game this week. Jones is their best runner, so why not give him close to 20 touches and see what happens?
Montgomery is the best pass-catcher of the group. With their injury issues with wide receivers, he could pick up some of the pass-catching slack. A converted wide receiver, he’s pretty good in that area anyway. Montgomery has caught 8 passes for 105 yards in the last two games.
Jimmy Graham has been lightly used so far, averaging only 4 catches for 42 yards, with one touchdown in four games. He’s another guy they’ll probably look to use more.
But Aaron Jones is the Packer I am interested to see in action this week.