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Bleacher Report: Packers' RBs Ranked 27th in NFL

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Bleacher Report: Packers' RBs Ranked 27th in NFL

-- For as many people as there are who believe the Green Bay Packers' backfield is one of the brightest spots on the team and arguably one of the top rushing duos in the NFC, there's always going to be just as many who disagree.

At least in this case, there's just one.

Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox ranked the Packers' backfield No. 27 on a list that ranked all 32 running back depth charts in the league.

Jones was the only running back to average more than 4.0 yards per carry, and the Packers averaged just 107.8 yards rushing per game (17th in the NFL). Though Jones did average 5.5 yards per tote, the Packers largely employed a committee backfield, and that may be the case again this season. 

For now, Jones will be sharing carries with Montgomery, who converted from receiver, and Williams. They averaged 3.8 and 3.6 yards per carry last season, respectively. Williams led the team with 153 carries and added 25 receptions. Montgomery had 23 receptions.

According to Knox, having a starting quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers -- and eventually Brett Hundley in 2017 -- helped Jones and Williams' numbers significantly. Nonetheless, that wouldn't necessarily be plausible.

With Rodgers at the helm, the Packers' offense strays far from the concept of balance; an overrated ideology. It's a pass-heavy attack that leans on Rodgers engineering lethal harm to opposing defenses.

A lot of the time, Rodgers checks out of any run calls at the line of scrimmage depending on what said defense is showing him. A good example of that is his first game back after breaking his collarbone -- week 15 in Carolina last season. Despite running the ball the best he'd done all season, Jones just had three carries in the entire game.

That isn't because coach Mike McCarthy just doesn't like giving Jones the football and cringes at the thought of success through the ground game. Rodgers just changes the play.

As for Hundley, the Packers' offense looked anemic at times in 2017 after Rodgers was sent packing to injured reserve after his week 6 injury. If anything, the prolonged stints of incompetence puts more weight on the shoulders of the running backs to find success.

It also means they'll get more opportunities and more opportunities mean more chances to showcase what they can do. A big reason why the tandem of Jones and Williams looked so promising in their rookie season, and a big reason why there's so much to look forward to between them moving forward.

The only question of these tailbacks is their longevity. When Ty Montgomery injured his ribs in the week 4 game against the Chicago Bears last season, Williams stepped in. Four carries later, his untimely knee injury led to Jones' 13 carries for 49 yards in the Packers' win.

The following week -- 20 touches for 134 yards and a touchdown -- against the Dallas Cowboys was Jones' signature game of the season. An MCL sprain, however, sidelined him briefly a month later.

The best thing about the Packers' backfield is that they have a potent carousel to cycle through and that the options are ultimately endless -- until they're not, of course.

Montgomery has also shown that he's more than capable of being the starting running back if he can stay healthy, but he's someone you'd almost rather use as a chess piece that you can motion out of the backfield and into various positions for the mismatch potential.

It's only May, but when the Packers ran through running back drills in their first open OTA practice of the spring, Williams led the group, followed by Jones, Montgomery and then last year's seventh-round (No. 238) pick, Devante Mays.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

GB Jacker's picture

I predict that in a years time this ranking will prove to have wildly underrated the Packers RB group.

TheVOR's picture

Wish I agreed with you, this team has exactly 1 legitimate NFL running back on the roster, Aaron Jones.. The rest are complete fodder, including Williams. Williams couldn't see/anticipate a hole that a semi truck could drive thru. I hear the offensive lineman are contemplating pad for the backs of their legs and backs, because they're so tired of him running up their backsides.

If fact I'll go further, it's embarrassing. If we had a legit running game, this offense with Rodgers would be in the Superbowl all the time. Shame on the organization for ignoring it.

Finwiz's picture

>The rest are complete fodder, including Williams. Williams couldn't see/anticipate a hole that a semi truck could drive thru.<

He was even worse earlier in the year, but improved quite a bit with his vision by year end.
I get your point though, and can't say I disagree all that much. He isn't a gifted back from a quick reaction, "seeing the running lane" point of view.

Lphill's picture


Nick Perry's picture

Sigh....Now who in the hell is Kristopher Knox? There's just too many damn experts out there now and this one I've never hard of.

It will be interesting to see how much the Packers run the ball. Not only does Rodgers change the play but the O-Line is comprised of O-Linemen who are better pass blockers than run blockers. McCarthy tends to get away from the run real quick when his RB run for carries of 1, 2, -1, 3, 1, and 2 yards to start a game so it IS hard to get a idea what these guys could do without a QB who is lethal like Rodgers or completely incompetent like Hundley. But at the end of the day I like Jones, Williams, and Montgomery.

Bearmeat's picture

The "rankings" stuff is all click bait. All of it. Not worth getting angry about. So, some dude thinks that the names of GBs RBs aren't "householdy" enough? Meh. They'll be very effective in what the offense wants to do.

Moving on.

flackcatcher's picture

It's funny Nick. McCarthy does really like to run the ball, but with QB1 that gets cut down (a lot). Classic example is the away game vs Bengals in 2014. When Starks got banged up early Rodgers started checking out of every run call. McCarthy got really upset on the side line and chewed out Rodgers in front of everyone. (TV caught only a small part of it at the end.) But after that, Rodgers did a a lot less check outs, and the Packer running game became very effective of the last half of that season. K.U.H.N...................(had to thrown in there....0:)

GBPDAN1's picture

I hope we sign Mercedes Lewis. PFF rated him highly as a blocking TE in 2017. He could help out RBs . He's not a receiving threat, but could release occasionally to keep Ds honest. Graham is our TE passing threat.

I like that the packers value a FB. Using Rip to lead block in curtain situations is beneficial . We definitely have a power backfield when needed. Rip leading Williams is fun to watch

dobber's picture

I can't help but think that Mercedes Lewis might be a "what if McCray and Murphy/Spriggs on the right side turn out to be garbage once the real games start?" insurance plan. Certainly 'he-who-must-not-be-named' was kept in-line at TE a lot early last season to help support a depleted OL...could be what they're doing here. Besides, if it's looking like Graham is going to essentially be a big WR, and they like 11 personnel, they need another 1.

Bearmeat's picture

That's very possible, Dobber. Good take.

RCPackerFan's picture

lol, yeah umm ok. They are ranked 27th right now. I doubt they will be ranked 27th by the end of the year.

Just curious where Minnesota is ranked, because all I keep hearing about is how good Dalvin Cook was and how he will change the Vikings. Lets not forget he is coming off a torn ACL.

Let me compare Dalvin Cook to Aaron Jones.

RB-1 had,
81 carries for 448 yards (5.5 average) long of 46 yards, 4 TD's. Also had 6 carries for 20+ yards

RB-2 had,
74 carries for 354 yards (4.8 average) long of 33 yards, 2 TD's. Also had 4 carries for 20+ yards.

Thats right Aaron Jones was RB-1 and had the better numbers. Jones looks like a stud in the making.

Now we also have Williams who improved each and every game. His vision, patience really improved. Don't be surprised if Jones and WIlliams are considered one of the best duo's in the league when the season is over.

HankScorpio's picture

I might think the same way if I had only looked at the numbers and didn't actually watch the games. Late round picks, converted WRs, injuries, not great yardage totals. All that adds up to a poor overall ranking.

The video shows a different story, IMO.

stockholder's picture

No Game changer. Whats to think about here. These guys are, " take what the defense gives you." They just need to hang onto the ball. No one is special. And this is a pass first offense. The best man will win here. He just can't get hurt.

RCPackerFan's picture

Just curious. Did you watch Aaron Jones at all?

stockholder's picture

Bet Jones still does not start. We saw this with the Wrs, and how they stayed with Adams. Jones brought fresh legs. Still think Monty will start first.

Oppy's picture

Still with the Adams thing, huh?

Handsback's picture

Experts (ex: meaning is “a has been” and pert: “last drop of liquid to fall from a faucet”; therefore a has been drip) tells everyone that Green Bay’s running game was one of the worst in the league. Are we supposed to be shocked? Green Bay's offense was one of the league’s worst last year. Wow, I mean what can you expect when you sign a street FA Oline guy one day and play him the next weekend? How about your team used a second string QB that never passed for a TD during a home game?
Of course the WHOLE offense, including the running game, went into the toilet when Rodgers went down. The important issue at hand isn't the stats from last year, but does Green Bay have the RBs to win in the NFL? The answer to that question is of course YES. The fact that they didn't draft a RB nor did they sign one in the UDFA group. (I may be wrong on that, but it's a Thursday so I can be wrong on Thursdays)
In the games I watched, my eyes tell me they have a pretty good group of RBs and while I'm no scout, I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express so there!

hodge555's picture

Our only other RB is Joel Bouagnon who we signed on the 10th Jan. He's 6'1" or 6'2" (depending on who you reference), 230 Lbs, 40 in 4.66, RAS of 8.84. I don't know anything about him personally so here's his info from
Three-year starter who earned First Team All-MAC in 2015, rushing for 1,285 yards and 18 touchdowns on a team-high 283 carries. Was named Second Team All-MAC in 2016 after racking up 182 carries for 885 yards and eight touchdowns. Had 44 career receptions for 368 yards and three scores.
Productive college ball carrier best running downhill. Runs hard on the inside, is resilient and keeps his feet moving on contact. Powerful, breaks tackles and carries defenders for extra yardage. Does not go down without a fight, gives effort blocking and gets results. Displays vision, waits for blocks to develop then picks or chooses his spots on the inside. Grinds it out, falls forward when tackled and picks up extra yardage. Displays a burst through the hole.
Not a creative ball carrier that’s going to make defenders miss or avoid piles. Lacks the speed to turn the corner. Average pass catcher out of the backfield.
Bouagnon is solidly built and projects as a potential short-yardage back for the next level.

billybobton's picture

Wow, I mean what can you expect when you sign a street FA Oline guy one day and play him the next weekend?

When AROD is your QB you expect to win and you do win, that's what people who know football expect.

Your answer is wrong. If AROD plays we have the RBs to win. If another QB plays we have the RB backs to lose. It is that simple and the fact is the packer RBs are bottom five feeders until AROD elevates them and even with AROD they are B A D at pass blocking with one guy who is low average and two below average.

Our main RB last year averaged TWO YARDS PER CARRY less than lacy before his ankle injury yet by fan comments and the writers here you would think it was Lacy who had two less yards per carry.

I suggest an eye test and bi focals!

DD's picture

Based on stats and how MM uses running backs probably very true. That's okay, can you say chip on the shoulders!! Go Pack.

fthisJack's picture

who cares what Bleacher Report thinks?

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I refused to date my wife until BR okay'd it.

But that's just me.

gr7070's picture

Packers people overrate Williams, greatly. Non-Packers folks underrate Jones, greatly.

Descarte's picture

Spot on. The Packers need more speed and explosiveness in their offense. Jones provides that more so than Williams.

kevgk's picture

Packers people underrate Williams and overrate Jones.
I won't dispute their strength and weaknesses, but williams provides continuity and dependence, as well as pass protection. Jones may become a threat teams have to respect, but he isn't that currently. Williams can be trusted to put the passing game in favorable positions reliably, and is better is pass protection, and thus way more important to the offense, regardles if Jones is a better pure rusher. Thats why McCarthy gave him the snaps. He is a bruiser that won't go down easily, where once teams have more tape on Jones, they can gameplan his intangibles better.

PatrickGB's picture

Bleacher Report!...? really? somebody actually reads and quotes it???
Come on man!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I don't exactly know where I'd slot the Packer backs, but looking at the RB talent around the league, 27th seems pretty fair.

None are reliably healthy, and Jones is the only threat. Heck, 27th might be too high.

billybobton's picture

If you take the time to watch MONTY try and pass block you will be amazed we have a coach who believes he is a RB. If you subtract his stats padding v the suckwad bears you will wonder how ANYONE can call him a real running back. He is not and that is aside from the injuries.

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