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Like Aaron Jones Did, Jamaal Williams Answers the Call at RB

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Like Aaron Jones Did, Jamaal Williams Answers the Call at RB

At one point over the summer, Green Bay Packers rookie running back Jamaal Williams appeared to have unseat his colleague Ty Montgomery for the starting gig in the backfield.

Montgomery may have entered the regular season as the starter, however, Williams hung around -- only to drop further down the depth chart a month into the season.

It took a rib injury for Montgomery on Sept. 28 against the Chicago Bears, and not long later (about four carries later), Williams suffered a knee injury that didn't cause him to miss a game. These blessings in disguise are what led to the emergence of another rookie running back -- Aaron Jones.

He'd go on to have two 100-yard games over the next four weeks, making his own case for a lead role in the Packers' backfield. By November, he was the lead running back.

Against the Bears on Sunday, both Montgomery (ribs) and Jones (MCL sprain) were knocked out of the game. Similar to how Jones got his shot, Williams took full advantage of his opportunity and carried the ball 20 times for 67 yards en route to a victory.

"I felt like I came in, sad for Aaron [Jones] and Ty [Montgomery] to go down, but they prepared us enough for next-man is up, ready to go," Williams said after the eighth consecutive win at Soldier Field for the Packers. "I was just ready to go make sure I can go in there and help the team win."

Jamaal Williams celebrates a tough run in the second half against the Bears. (Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)

While his stat line may look uninspiringly average, Williams did much more than what could possibly show up on paper. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams earned 55 of his yards after contact and broke seven tackles.

"I love running hard, I love running down-hill. I want to show other things I can do, finesse and jukes and stuff like that. But, it was a little rainy out there, you can't really get your knees up.

"But, the time will come and I'm just taking every opportunity as I can to make sure I'm doing whatever I can to make sure the team wins."

Williams entered Chicago with just 11 carries on the season -- a sample size of eight games. He nearly doubled that against the Bears, showing with almost each carry that he was able to pick up tough yardage and lower his shoulders into contact -- a nice change from Jones' elusive running style.

The depth chart may have undergone a little renovation since September, however, one narrative remains the same: The Packers have an impressive stable of running backs, and that was once again on full display. This is also without another rookie running back in Devante Mays, who has been inactive in all but three games this season.

"As long as we put our mind to it, nobody can stop us," Williams said. "As long as we execute to the way that we practice -- and we know that we can -- we can always score. It's always us just making sure we're all together, being one and being productive at the same time."

Williams may be a big part of the game plan moving forward, but that also may depend on the injuries to the two running backs that were initially ahead of him. Even so, Montgomery's re-aggravated rib injury and Jones' carting off the field in Chicago will likely be a sign that Williams gets starting reps. It may even pave the way for Mays to get his first carries of his career in the coming weeks.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected]m.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Really glad he started using his vision. Before he was just running into the pile. Guys like him are great for protecting a lead...

The TKstinator's picture

Yes, agreed, but remember: running successfully with a lead is “good strategy”, while running UNsuccessfully with a lead is “conservative”. ~~~ (heavy sarcasm)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

If it's funny, it is a good joke.
If it isn't funny, it is mean-spirited.

It is a fine line sometimes.

Spock's picture

TGR, Agreed. But TK "walks the line" pretty well. Hmmm, maybe somebody should make a song about that, LOL.

RCPackerFan's picture

Williams really impressed me with his hard running. He finally showed his vision which is what looked different compared to preseason and early in the year.

While I don't think its good that Jones is going to miss 3-6 games and Montgomery we don't know yet, what it will do is it will give Williams and Mays more opportunities.

Williams showed that he can gain tough yards. The one run still stands out in my mind where he breaks 2 tackles and runs through another for about 4-5 yards to get a first down.

I am looking forward to seeing what Mays has to offer. We know he has power and has some good speed. But still looking forward to seeing him in live action.

Point Packer's picture

He certainly stepped up to the challenge. Never hurts to have a young player with a lot of reasons to be motivated come in to the game. And given how he ran, he certainly came across as wanting to be there. Good for him. Likely see a great deal more of him given the injury situation.

al bundy's picture

Maybe they should look to bring back that very reliable back Eddy Fat Ass Lacy. LOL Ya he can run one series for us and get hurt and miss half a season. Oh, wait, he is already doing that in seattle.
They will never trade with us again.

Steve Cheez's picture

I would have thought they'd stop after Vinson for Green.

Nick Perry's picture

Am I missing something here?? The Packers didn't trade Lacy to Seattle, he left all on his own as a FA. Seattle thought they were being smart by giving Eddie a contract loaded with incentives for taking off and keeping off weight. It seems without all that fat he gets injured even more. I guess he needs all that extra padding to be somewhat effective. My guess is the Seattle O-Line is probably at fault too.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yes Nick. you are missing something. Al Bundy is a vikings fan who comes here to troll the website. That is all...

Spock's picture

While I wasn't able to watch the game (couldn't get it to stream and #%&# Fox wasn't showing the game yet again) I did listen to it on Sirius and have now seen some highlights. What I really like about Williams is the obvious enthusiasm he brings. He was really excited for the opportunity and I'm happy for him. One thing the spate of injuries has done for the Packers is to give the young guys more chances to earn playing time. THAT will make this team much more battle tested if, somehow, they can back into the playoffs (Hey, I'm a fan. I can hope, right?). Hundley appears to be getting better each week and appears to be an at least adequate QB. If this team can actually get healthy at the end of the season, who knows? We all know it's not necessarily the BEST teams that get into the Super Bowl; it's usually the best HEALTHY teams that get there. For me it's fun to watch the growth of younger players as it bodes well for the future of this team. I haven't given up on this team just as I never have in previous seasons. I know a team w/o AR has a far more perilous mountain to climb, but I'll be there to watch the journey. As always, Go, Pack, Go!

OrganLeroy's picture

There's no reason why this team can't go(and must) 3-1 the next 4 games, the schedule is actually in our favor right now. By the 5th game @ Carolina, Hundley will hopefully have improved enough to give us a 50/50 chance of an upset, Carolina is inconsistent and their defense isn't that good. This team can still go 10-6 (though the odds says 8-8). The Vikings will lose at least 3 and maybe 4 more games.

CheesyTex's picture

Carolina's "defense isn't that good"? Leads league in fewest yards allowed per game going into tonight vs. Miami.

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