Packers' Jones Provides Temporary Fix to Ailing Ground Game

It's not Eddie Lacy and James Starks, but rather Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams being added to the Green Bay Packers' injury report.

Heading into last year's Thursday night match-up with the Chicago Bears, both Lacy and Starks were scratched off as inactives due to injury, leaving the workload in the backfield to Montgomery in what was the first true glimpse into what he could do as the team's primary tailback. He also had Knile Davis and Don Jackson backing him up.

This time around, Montgomery is all but solidified as the Packers' starting running back, however, his fortunes took a turn for the worst Thursday night.

According to multiple reports, Montgomery suffered broken ribs on his first carry of the game, despite carrying the ball for five of the Packers' first six plays and earning 14 yards after contact. He'd leave the game and wouldn't return, handing off duties to rookie running back Jamaal Williams.

Four runs later, Williams suffered a knee injury that forced him to follow suit and leave the game as well.

The Packers' rushing attack was beginning to look like an all-too-familiar carousel that plagued the Packers for most of 2016. While players dropped like flies, the "next-man-up" mentality the Packers have demonstrated through their first four games of the season held true, as Aaron Jones stepped into the starting lineup in relief of both Montgomery and Williams.

The pride of UTEP's first career carry was a first down in the early stages of the second quarter, and from them on, all he did was churn momentum forward on his 13 carries.

He averaged just 3.8 yards per carry by the end of the night, but he also had a touchdown four runs into his young NFL career, set up by the 58-yard completion from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to receiver Jordy Nelson.

Jones (33) celebrating his touchdown run. (USA TODAY NETWORK)

"It meant a lot. I've been dreaming about this for a while," Jones told Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his touchdown run. "I go to sleep at night thinking about that."

It took a couple of unfortunate injuries for Jones to see the field, but what he did with his limited reps may lead to him playing more of a role in 10 days when the Packers travel into Dallas to meet with the Cowboys. As it stands right now, Jones is the Packers' starting running back.

He was all they could turn to in a time of dismay. Fellow rookie tailback Devante Mays was one of the seven inactives announced 90 minutes before kickoff, so realistically, Jones and fullback Aaron Ripkowski were all that was at the Packers' disposal.

Jones first showed flashes of his abilities in the preseason after a handful of impressive runs, including eight rushes for 48 yards and a receiving touchdown in the finale against the Los Angeles Rams. Each of the Packers' three rookie running backs showed something unique with their running styles, hence why they were praised so heavily entering the season. But so far, the team sports a 27-ranked rushing attack entering week four, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It's the least of the worries in a pass-heavy scheme, but there's a chance Jones could prove as some kind of temporary fix to an ailing ground game moving forward. Thankfully, the Packers will have 10 days before their next game to get healthy or potentially make some kind of roster move for an extra running back if they feel it's a true deficiency. 

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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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Comments (60)

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Packer_Pete's picture

September 29, 2017 at 05:39 am

He's a better runner than Williams. Don't understand why he hadn't had more snaps so far this season.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 29, 2017 at 06:24 am

All about that pass pro bro...

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Duke Divine's picture

September 29, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Must be the pass pro. He passes the eye test as a better runner than Williams.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 29, 2017 at 05:55 am

I've been hoping to see Jones for a while now, thinking he was the 2nd best RB on the Packers right now. I think he showed he's definitely the 2nd best RB on the Packers right now behind Montgomery. He's much more decisive runner than Williams and way, way quicker. Give him 10 days to play with the starters before the Dallas game and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he's tearing up Dallas 10 days from now. He did what he did behind an O-Line of 4 Guards and a center.

It's unfortunate about Williams, I wish him well. But I think Jones showed more than Williams has all season last night against Chicago.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:05 am

I have been right there with you Nick. I have been wanting Jones since week 1. I think Jones maybe the best pure RB on the roster overall...

Jones has terrific vision, makes great cuts and runs with power and speed.

I hope Williams injury isn't significant. Hopefully he will miss a short amount of time. But I think right now anyways Jones is the better RB then Williams

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:57 am

I don't know about tearing up Dallas. They can stop the run, they just get eaten up in their secondary. I suspect the Packers go pass-heavy next week, but that gives Jones a chance to contribute as a receiver.

Given how much the Packers have split out #88, an extended absence for him and Adams means the Packers will likely have a very different look against Dallas next week.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 29, 2017 at 06:23 am

Hey RC...i believe we had a conversation this week about ol #88...

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:06 am

yeah, yeah, yeah... lol.

I know. i still don't think he is injury prone, but honestly this injury isn't helping my case at all.

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:58 am

I just don't think of injuries like broken bones as being injury prone.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:34 am

I agree. And none of his injuries are the same ones either.

RB's take a pounding in the game.

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Spock's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:17 am

I agree with dobber. Ty had his ankle rolled on last year and took a hit to his unprotected ribs from the SIDE this year. That's bad LUCK, not injury prone stuff. Why is it the Bears always seem to take out our best RBs? I remember Eddie Lee Ivory getting his knee torn up two years in a row by the Bears and he was never the same runner again (sigh). I just hope that Ty's rib injuries are of the more "minor" variety. I broke and displaced four ribs in a biking accident 15 years ago and couldn't even MOVE for 6 weeks (although I was an interesting combination of red, purple, and blue from my hip to my arm pit, LOL). Re-broke those 4 plus another two a few years ago in a fall and was fine a month later. It all depends. The fact that Ty kept playing after they were broken tells me it's more likely it wasn't as severe (fingers crossed) and his adrenalin kept him from thinking it was a bigger problem. At least that's my hope. I still can't get over Jordy going in to play and make plays with his broken ribs and a flak jacket last season. What a warrior! In the next ten days "mini bye" let's hope we can get some of the walking wounded back; we're going to need them against Dallas!!!

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EdsLaces's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:56 am

De-Nile ....its not just a river in Egypt...

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:05 am

They have a HUGE problem with conditioning and being in game shape to take hits on this team. Look at mashed potato Mike and tell me what you think he knows about conditioning.
Players mirror their coach to some degree.
I wonder when was the last time that guy got on an exercise bike, or did some jogging around the neighborhood?
If he doesn't care about his own personal conditioning, how much urgency/priority does he place on it for his players?

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

I wonder if Andy Reid's teams have these problems...hmmm.

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:54 am

McCarthy makes Andy Reid look like an Olympic athlete.

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Yeah, not quite.

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Spock's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:47 am

Finwiz, No conditioning protects you from broken bones. As to MM, he's a COACH and spends all his time sitting in meetings, looking at film, etc., for long hours every day. Of course he's not going to look like a toned athlete; that's a ridiculous comparison. Also, IMHO, It doesn't make your comments very convincing if you continue to name call the head coach with derisive stuff like "mashed potato Mike". That's pretty juvenile in my opinion. I value some of your comments, but stuff like this devalues your other comments (at least to me). Not trying to pick a fight (I'm a lover, not a fighter, LOL) with you. Just my two cents. Take it for what it's worth - or not. :)

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:59 am

I'm sure Bellichik spends all day in meetings too, so how come he isn't 300 pounds? Or Mike Zimmer - he's even older. Or Pete Carroll. The list goes on..you get the point.

I copied the moniker from others, and I think it applies.
As a coach you project an image to your players.
It doesn't appear McCarthy cares much about the necessity of all that.
If I were him I'd be concerned about my health carrying all that excess weight. Wonder what he does in the off season? Switches from mashed potato's to potato pancakes?

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croatpackfan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 06:37 am

If Packers will sign any RB, I expect to bring back Joe Kerridge and use Rip as RB.

I do not see the need for additional RB as they have now Aaron Jones and Devante Mays as 1 and 2 and Rip can always come in as support. Ty will be back not later than 4 weeks from yesterday, only question is what is the type of knee injury Williams suffered.

I agree that Aaron Jones surprised Fox and that he showed a lot of good stuff on his first game. I'm happy for the young guy!

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Handsback's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:47 am

I'm not that sure Monty will be back in 4 weeks. I just had a cracked rib and 4 weeks is OK if you can stand the pain of heaving your chest cavity every time you take a breath. I bet 5-6 weeks or more for that rib.
With the new rookies and Rip....their running game will be OK.

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:58 am

I think Mays will get a chance to show what he can do next week, too.

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Spock's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:33 am

Croat, I appreciate your optimism, but see my comments above regarding cracked ribs. From personal experience I can tell you that, if severe enough, it hurts to BREATHE. If Ty was lucky his ribs were just slightly cracked, if not, four weeks isn't realistic no matter how many pain killers you inject. I'm just glad we kept all four RB's this year.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 02:38 pm

To Handsback and you.

I also have own experience with broken ribs (3 times in my life). No one was severe. But when we are talking about normal human organism, I except that returning to normal will take 6-7 weeks. Here we are talking about highly trained organism, and in connection with modern medicine (expensive one) you can speed up healing of the broken bones at least double if not more... Only thing you can not speed up is structuring healing parts of the bones to previous structure and characteristics. Toady you can regenerate broken ribs in one week - than you need to wait for 3-4 week for mentioned process. Younger and stronger organism, shorter time for that...

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 06:55 am

I really like Jones. IMO he should have been playing ahead of Williams to begin with.
What I saw from Jones compared to Williams last night was that he has better vision. That cut he makes to score the TD, I really don't think Williams finds that hole.

I'm not trying to talk negatively about Williams as I think he is going to be really good, I just think Jones is better right now.

Jones plays with speed, power and has really good vision.
Hopefully against the Cowboys they will be able to have their normal OL intact. I do look forward to seeing what Jones can do behind their number 1 OL.

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GBPDAN1's picture

September 29, 2017 at 06:57 am

On a separate note, its become evident In my opinion, that Randall simply sucks!

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:09 am

I really don't know what is going on there.

From the way it sounds he has some serious attitude issues. After he gave up that TD, he kept throwing up his hands like it was someone else's fault. I really didn't like seeing that, and then he got benched and I saw reports that he was sitting on the bench by himself sprawled out and not caring what his fellow defenders were doing on the field. Later on twitter everyone was saying they hadn't seen him and wasn't on the sidelines.

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:04 am

On this note, I'll be curious to see just how many snaps #24 played last night.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:35 am

I saw him on the field but don't know how much.
I don't think we can completely judge the snap count though based on last night. They have been using Burnett as the Nickel guy.

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:42 am

He was playing gunner opposite Janis on some of Vogel's punts, but I didn't see how many.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:10 am

There are rumors the packers have suspended Randall pending a trade or being out right waived. I don't buy that. On the play Randall expected help over top, Clinton-Dix had shaded over for run support, Brice didn't back pedal and left Randall pretty naked out there. His reaction on the sideline was to say the least, extreme. I thought Perry was going to punch him right then and there. MM really pissed, if looks could kill... (yes, I was at the game last night)

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:20 am

"There are rumors the packers have suspended Randall pending a trade or being out right waived."

Yeah, I agree: I think it's too soon for the Packers to have made a decision on that. Suspended? Maybe, but the trade/waive thing?

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HankScorpio's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:39 am

I have to figure the players will get some time off until the normal weekly schedule hits next week. So there is plenty of time for them to iron things out or let cooler heads prevail.

But a player leaving the sideline during the game is not a good sign.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:57 am

Friend jokes after the touchdown about lighting up the Gunter signal. dobber you had to see it, Randall had a complete meltdown, he was mentally gone. Perry had no choice but to pull him. House was talking to him, hard. I mean hard. Nothing House said got though, Randall was gone, completely checked out. He had the 'stare'. Sending him home was the right thing to do. Something else is going with him, and getting burned lit his fuse.

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:21 am

I saw him muttering when he walked off the field like he wasn't at fault.
I didn't realize all this happened on the bench. How come we don't have reporters on the sidelines tweeting or writing about this as it happens?

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:42 am

I haven't seen any of those rumors. Where have you seen them?

I didn't see any of that stuff. I didn't like his reaction after allowing the TD.

thats interesting though about him.

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

here's the only article I've seen addressing his benching temper tantrum. http://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2017/09/29/packers-c...

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flackcatcher's picture

September 30, 2017 at 06:58 am

Network reporters are the only one allow on the sidelines, some ex-players from time to time, and special guests of the team. It varies from team to team, but the NFL comes down hard on teams who play fast and loose (Cowboys) with the rules. My family has season tickets, but I was there as a guest last night. The Packers are very, VERY careful on who they allow on their sideline. These players are huge, and if you're not aware... There are strict area off limits for side line guests, and for good reason. Frankly, you are better off in the stands, or box. The sideline field of view is really one dimensional. Normally, I would not comment, but this was so out of the norm for these players, well I was surprised. On the play it self, either Brice or Bennett were suppose to provide over the top while Randall had the flat. The broken coverage was not Randall's fault. Beyond that, you know as much as I. The rest is speculation.

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porupack's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:28 am

I liked what Jones brought. Imagine if he has the starting Oline to block for him. While he only got 3.8 yards per carry, it was coming in as sub, with patchwork Oline, and against a good front-7 bears' defense.

Give TT credit for keeping a deep RB group on the 53 roster.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:32 am

Just yesterday a lot of people were asking why we were keeping Mays on the 53. Well last night is a prime example why. In 1 game we lost 2 RB's.

I really, really like Jones.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:29 am

This way Ted is the GM of this team. We all like Jones now too.

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fthisJack's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:24 am

there were some nice holes for Jones to run through created by this patchwork OL and Jones found them. i thought they played really well.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:32 am

Jones has very good vision. He does find the little holes.

That TD run was a perfect example. He just made a quick cut right through the only tiny hole there was.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:49 am

If this report is correct:

http://www.espn.com/blog/green-bay-packers/post/_/id/41115/damarious-ran...

and if Damarious Randall is offended by benching I say show him the doors... There is no way that kind of behaviour is acceptable no matter how important to team you are...

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:19 am

So the prima-donna didn't even stay on the field till the end of the game.
That's BAD. What does he have to complain about, he's played like crappola and lucky to have a job. It's been awhile since we've had a player with this type of bad attitude. He's going to be disciplined to some degree or released. Modern day athletes with no appreciation for the game and not enough respect for themselves to take responsibility for their performance.

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Savage57's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:52 am

Bruised ribs? Hurt like hell
Cracked ribs? Do I have to breathe?
Broken ribs? Anyone have a gun?

Monty's got his hands full just sleeping for a while. Running a football isn't in his foreseeable future.

Here's to Mssr's. Mayes and Jones stepping up

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:03 am

Having had cracked ribs, myself, I think you summed this up very nicely.

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Spock's picture

September 29, 2017 at 01:06 pm

Savage, Like dobber I've had injured ribs. The first time they were broken and "displaced" (Doctor said one was a quarter inch from hitting my lung). I'm guessing you've been there, too, as your description of the varying feelings on rib injuries is spot on. Well done, sir.

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Colin_C's picture

September 29, 2017 at 07:55 am

Sometimes it takes an unfortunate event to get a better player on the field (see Tom Brady). I love Williams personality, and in college he certainly had his moments, but currently Jones is way better than him. On Jones first or second run, he swept right, saw nothing there, and reversed left for 5 yards. That's a play Williams wouldn't have made (at least for now). Jamaal just needs to have the game slow down. Once that happens, he'll look a lot better.

I like the idea of a Monty/Jones combo. From what I've seen so far, Monty actually runs more like a power back with some finesse. Jones is more your big play guy. His lateral quickness and top end speed seems much better than 88's. If he get's the start at Dallas, I'm expecting over 100 yds for him.

(Also, can we just all acknowledge how amazing Taylor did staring at LT)

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:02 am

I have to admit that I never saw this coming from Taylor. I think my comment from yesterday was, "Who thinks that Lane Taylor could be a LT, anyway?"

I humbly eat crow.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:23 am

Here's to hoping we never see Taylor at LT again to give you the opportunity to, uh, expel the crow.

He held up once. There is no guarantee he would hold up again.

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Spock's picture

September 29, 2017 at 01:19 pm

Hank, While I wholehearted agree with hoping we never have to see Taylor at LT (that would mean players are back), I was stunned to learn that Taylor NEVER played LT at any level. Kudos to him, Patrick, and McCray for playing WAY better than I think anyone expected. You have to give some praise to coach Campen as well; it was one heck of a coaching job to get that makeshift OL to play as well as it did with only 4 days of practice. I couldn't be more proud of those players!

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Donster's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:11 am

Broken ribs is going to take quite a while to heal up. Then he will have to wear a flak jacket to protect them for a few games. I guess I missed something, but it didn't look like he got hit that hard to break ribs. Hell, Taylor looked like he made the most contact on the play. Maybe Monty got hit on a previous play?

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Finwiz's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:29 am

If they can school him up for pass pro, he's the best pure RB on the Packer roster at present. I thought that after the preseason. He has better vision to the seams in the line, and overall better ability than Williams, by all appearances. Williams is just your typical RB that runs into the line and doesn't have the vision or patience to look for the seams.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:06 am

No choice now, both Jones and May have to play. Monty's gone till the last 6 weeks of the season if the Packers are lucky. Packers got some hard roster decisions to make. Heck, at this rate I'm wondering if some 'evil' owner (hint: JERRY JONES) put a curse on this team.

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 09:19 am

I blame Las Vegas.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2017 at 08:37 am

First play, you could see it when he came off the field, wincing on every step. Didn't tell the staff, and went out on the next series. Tough, tough dude.

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lou's picture

September 29, 2017 at 10:04 am

Jones showed in the pre-season he was the most instinctive RB they had lets hope he continues to play well. Give a lot of credit to James Campen, he ran out 1 center and 4 guards and they more than held their own against a solid Bears defensive line, the Game Ball goes to him.

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Qoojo's picture

September 29, 2017 at 01:08 pm

Jones had some good moves. Not taking anything away from him when I say that I want to see more of Mays. Because I would like to see Mays be a Sproles like RB, where he is just a pain to deal with catching the ball out of the backfield.

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dobber's picture

September 29, 2017 at 01:24 pm

Mays has got, what, 40 pounds on Sproles?

But Sproles could be Mays...if he ate Tarik Cohen.

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Nononsense's picture

September 29, 2017 at 06:50 pm

Randall should be suspended a couple weeks for conduct detrimental to the team for leaving the stadium during the game.

Really glad to see Jones finally get some snaps on offense, can't wait to see what Mays can do also. Screw the pass pro excuse, Monty cant block either but he gets to play the majority of the offensive snaps.

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