Cory's Corner: Packers' Success Starts On The Ground

There is plenty of panic around Packers Country. 

Randall Cobb has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Detroit with a hamstring injury, Geronimo Allison is still in concussion protocol and Davante Adams is battling through a calf injury.

Those three have accounted for 63 percent of the team’s targets, 64 percent of the receiving yards and 86 percent of the team’s receiving touchdowns. Even if just one member of that trio plays, that’s a lot of offense to make up.

But there is still a way for the Packers to be successful. And his name is Aaron Jones. It just so happens that the Lions are awful against the run and it also just so happens that Lions’ starting defensive end Ziggy Ansah has been ruled out with an injured shoulder.

The planets have aligned for Jones. He has been giving nothing but appetizers of what he can do. In two games he has a grand total of 17 carries — yet he has the team’s longest run by 14 yards.

Jones is the most dynamic running back on the roster. According to Pro Football Focus, he is averaging 3.47 yards after contact. That’s ranks him 14thin the NFL, right ahead of highly heralded rookie Saquon Barkley. Jones has two runs over 15 yards and four runs over 10 yards. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Jones is the second-best running back in the NFC North behind Jordan Howard. 

Now I’m not saying that Jones should be getting 20-plus carries because I think Jones is more valuable with both Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery being involved. However, Jones does need 15-17 carries to keep this offense humming, Williams needs to wear down defenses with his powerful running and blocking and Montgomery must continue his versatility role.

That may upset a lot of folks that want Jones to eat up 25 carries a game while letting Williams and Montgomery fight for scraps.

Jones may be the lone wolf in the backfield by the end of the season, but right now blocking is a high priority and with Rodgers still hobbled, Williams and Montgomery have to play.

The Lions are dead last in rushing defense by giving up 157 rushing yards a game and they are also 30thby giving up 5.3 yards per rush. 

The time is now for Packers coach Mike McCarthy to truly trust his running game and let them literally carry the offensive load. It would also prevent Matthew Stafford from getting on the field and throwing to some of the best receivers in the NFC.

After the Packers win, Rodgers can again say that the offense looks terrible but this team hasn’t played a complete game yet and this is Week 5. What should be imperative for this team is to continue to rack up wins while its offense looks to get its footing.

Rodgers is the best passer in the game, but the Packers’ answer remains on the ground.

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (33)

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Lphill's picture

October 06, 2018 at 06:24 am

Yes we all will be hoping Jones gets more carries tomorrow, even if all 3 receivers are out the Packers still have their tight ends the young receivers and don't forget Montgomery who can play the slot . But I would hope Jones gets 15 to 20 carries .

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Turophile's picture

October 06, 2018 at 06:38 am

Aaron Jones is the saviour of the world, walks on water, scores 10 point touchdowns and is the only man to stand between us and Armageddon...........this is getting old. Please.

Am I the only one not panicking ? I very much doubt it. I expect Adams to play. Graham is virtually a receiver, Montgomery used to be one, and the Packers have three young WRs who have little experience, but plenty of size and speed.

Multiple WR injuries would have hurt the Packers much more in the past, than they do now. What we have here, is a great opportunity for the young guns.

The running game is not a one-headed monster, it has three heads, all of which work very nicely. Yes Jones is the most dynamic back with the ball in his hands, but Williams and Montgomery are very nice complements, each bringing different strengths. Sure, a good running game will keep defenses honest, but it's there mainly to set up the pass

The game will be won and lost with how well the passing game works (which is pretty much always the case). Don't sleep on the Packers defense, either. That is so much more exciting than anything seen in the recent past.

You can categorise my mental state (regarding the game) as 'very interested'............that's a long, long way from 'panicked'.

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Coldworld's picture

October 06, 2018 at 06:53 am

This could force MM to use 2 back and multiple TE sets as well as to use MVS on go routes to stretch the field and, equally importantly, put Rodgers in a position where throwing to them is unavoidable.

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Since '61's picture

October 06, 2018 at 08:47 am

Turo - I agree with your comment. I posted on another thread here yesterday that the Packers can go with Monty in the slot, Lewis a TE with Graham and MVS as the wideouts and Jones/Williams in the backfield. Or we can also utilize more 2 TE and/or 2 backs sets. I expect that we will be fine. Jones should get 15-20 snaps and Williams the rest. Our defense should be bolstered with the return of Kevin King. If we can get a pass rush on Stafford we can force a TO or 2. Thanks, Since '61

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Nick Perry's picture

October 06, 2018 at 09:13 am

'Yes Jones is the most dynamic back with the ball in his hands, but Williams and Montgomery are very nice complements, '

I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head here.... Williams and Montgomery are nice COMPLIMENTS, not the other way around. It should be Jones who starts the game and gets first crack at the Lions, not Williams or Montgomery.

I think this week more than any other game this season is important for the Packers to score first. How great would it be to watch a 12 play 75 yard drive to start the game featuring Jones for the most part with a smattering of Montgomery and Jones or a combination of one of the two other RB playing WITH Jones. We've watched them all line up in the slot or wide at one point or another. With the shortage of proven WR's it seems this is a week to be as versatile as you can be with your versatile RB's.

And please for once don't defer to the 2nd half. Most times I'm cool with it but lets get the Packers going first tomorrow.

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Since '61's picture

October 06, 2018 at 10:34 am

Nick - I agree with your post, especially the last paragraph. I'm a believer in taking the ball first on the road and hopefully getting the first score. I'm fine with deferring at home but on the road I want the ball and I want to try to take the crowd out of the game with the first score. Thanks, Since '61

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Bearmeat's picture

October 06, 2018 at 07:35 am

I do think Jones should get 20 carries tomorrow. The Lions can't stop the run, and I think our game plan should revolve around it. Aside from lowering the reliance on the wounded WR core, running the ball 25 times would also have the benefit of keeping our untested defense off the field much more. Let's keep in mind that Stafford is the first top 10 QB GB will have faced and that the only other top 20 QBs we have faced so far have absolutely shredded the defense for half of their games.

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ReaganRulz's picture

October 06, 2018 at 07:49 am

I’m just glad that we are not playing a top team this week. But.....the Lions always play well against the Packers, so keeping Stafford on the sidelines is a good strategy. Relying heavily on the running game with AJones dominating the carries will help with this. Especially with how the Lions D have performed against the run this year. Finally, AJones is on my fantasy team :).

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The TKstinator's picture

October 06, 2018 at 08:16 am

I think everything starts with pad level. I checked mine as soon as I got up this morning, and had to clean it up in order to hit the target and be optimal.

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Since '61's picture

October 06, 2018 at 08:49 am

Way to go TK. Keep working on those fundamentals. Thanks, Since '61

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

October 06, 2018 at 09:26 am

Don't forget about leverage. Perfect pad level won't do you any good without leverage

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The TKstinator's picture

October 06, 2018 at 09:39 am

Lots to keep in mind. We’ll just keep grinding our way along the warriors’ path.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

October 06, 2018 at 12:54 pm

And stacking successes

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4thand10's picture

October 06, 2018 at 03:20 pm

Priceless TK.

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mrtundra's picture

October 06, 2018 at 08:54 am

I see Ty Montgomery used more as a receiver and Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams running the ball a lot against the Lions. I'm hoping the lack of healthy WRs forces MM to incorporate our TEs into the game plan more than he usually does. I expect to see as many, if not more, running plays than pass plays against the Lions on Sunday.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

October 06, 2018 at 09:30 am

Aaron Jones gets 10 carries. Max. I don't think McMuffin is smart enough to actually look at mismatches or other factors anymore. Hes highly successful, hasn't changed and doesn't have to. The "game plan" will be the same regardless of opponent, injuries, doesn't matter. I see Adams, Yancey, MVS at receiver tomorrow. And the same old tired ass offense

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Since '61's picture

October 06, 2018 at 10:36 am

Yancey is on the PS so I don't think we will see him at any position tomorrow. Thanks, Since '61

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

October 06, 2018 at 01:31 pm

They still have a few hours and he had a ton of reps in practice this week. I could easily see him coming up and Darius Jackson getting cut

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

October 06, 2018 at 08:53 pm

This is what i am hoping for and to send the rookies down field as a threat to keep the defense honest.

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fastmoving's picture

October 06, 2018 at 11:44 am

we do not have a lack at WR!! we have a lack of experience there but plenty of speed and size to make up for. and dont forget the TE group.
other than that, did the passing game (this season) clicking on all cylinders with the veterans and all the trust AR put in them???

we got a good D and even better running game than the years before.

no idea what a lot of guys talking about, I looking forward to an interesting game.

and for the Yancy talk, I thought he is just on the PS?

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stockholder's picture

October 06, 2018 at 09:50 am

The average Lions fan has NO respect for A-Rod anymore. Quote,"1 good hit and he'll be done for the game, and so will the packers chances. Their high on their secondary. They show fear against the run. The run will help the OL and their back problems. I see MM running. I don't think much of are starting Wrs now. And they won't be considered good, until the guys behind the starters PRODUCE! So to me it's A-Rods problem. I don't think Moore, MVS, or St Brown will be productive short. And to go against the strength of the lions team would be a mistake. Here's hoping Jones ,Williams and Monty get the passes.

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Oppy's picture

October 06, 2018 at 02:14 pm

It's probably a good thing that the level of respect the average Lions fan has for Aaron Rodgers has exactly zero bearing on how the game is played or the outcome of the game itself.

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Rufus's picture

October 06, 2018 at 10:06 am

Develop a run game early. Makes Rodgers more efective

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Lphill's picture

October 06, 2018 at 10:30 am

With the receivers banged up we might actually get to see what we have been waiting for , different personnel and packages , more runs , Gee we might actually see some offense ingenuity, what a great concept .

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PatrickGB's picture

October 06, 2018 at 11:07 am

Liphill, I hope you are right. And I think it just might happen. But if it doesn’t then there is a very good chance we lose this one. Right now I think that this offense is “ same oh, same oh”. But I do think that MM has a bag of tricks gathering dust in an old file cabinet. If he uses some of it he will be able to start to “ stack success”.

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Lare's picture

October 06, 2018 at 02:42 pm

We haven't seen much creativity out of McCarthy in a long time, I doubt if we'll see anything different tomorrow.

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Lphill's picture

October 06, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Yes Patrick adversity may actually force McCarthy into being a creative play caller .

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Tundraboy's picture

October 06, 2018 at 06:47 pm

What me worry? Yes.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

October 06, 2018 at 08:55 pm

Rogers has to be careful not to try and scramble all over the place to find an open man. I say if the play is not there then just toss it out of bounds. We cannot afford to get Rogers hurt over the dumb lions.

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CAG123's picture

October 06, 2018 at 09:28 pm

I suggest some of you go watch the All22 of the Redskins game if you think MM hasn’t shown creativity the plays were there and guys were open AR either didn’t see them, didnt make the throw or it was dropped. MM has definitely added some new wrinkles

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PAPackerbacker's picture

October 07, 2018 at 05:01 am

A heavy dose of Jones, Williams, and Monty should be the game plan against the weak run defense of the Lions. This will set the pace of the game and keep the ball out of Stafford's hands. Stafford has a very strong arm and can easily throw the ball 65 to 70 yards before it reaches the receiver. Once the run is established the play - action becomes a very effective play for the Packers. And Rodgers can toss it 65 to 70 yards as well. The speedy young receivers should have a few long catches if the running game is established. Mix in some short passes to the TE's and backs, some screens, to keep the defense off balance, and the Packers will have a great day. Keep the offense on the field for long sustained drives that eat up a lot of clock and reduce the opportunities that Stafford and the Lions offense has. Forcing them to be one dimensional and play catch up football. And if the Packers defense can perform like last week this will be in the win column. A pick 6 by the defense would be sweet and a couple of other turnovers as well. By all means, do not take the Lions lightly. Stafford is a seasoned veteran, and a damn good one.

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Chuck Farley's picture

October 07, 2018 at 09:25 am

If the lions are going to turn it around, this would be the game. Just not sure their coach is head coach material. Could be a long one and done for him.
Stafford looks confused this year as does the run d.

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leaerin4's picture

October 07, 2018 at 11:39 am

I predict Aaron Jones will have a big game today running the football. With Anzah out Rodgers should have time to find his rookie receivers open. Why not play the tight end Tonyan who looked very good in preseason.

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