RB Jamaal Williams Doing It All for Packers' Running Game

Like Aaron Jones' early beginnings, another Green Bay Packers rookie running back seems to have taken over and cemented himself as the featured player in the backfield.

BYU's all-time leading rusher, Jamaal Williams, torched the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of a national "Sunday Night Football" audience, giving his coaches just another glimpse of his capabilities.

While his career-high 21 carries didn't exactly catapult the Packers to an upset victory at Heinz Field, Williams still flashed with all kinds of untapped potential just two starts into his career. Ever since Jones suffered an MCL sprain against the Chicago Bears two weeks prior, Williams has exceeded at least 18 carries in his last three games.

Although he's averaging 3.2 yards per carry -- both in that three-game span and for the season -- he's become a threat in the receiving game as well. In his last two games, he's recorded eight catches for 107 yards and a lone touchdown that came on Sunday night during a perfectly-executed screen pass.

"I give thanks to [Corey] Linsley," Williams said of his run after the catch on that particular screen. "If Corey didn't make that block, they definitely would've gotten me. After that, I saw it open and I saw them overplaying. I just saw field and I was just trying to get to the end zone."

The Packers put more of an emphasis on the screen game against the Steelers in an attempt to get some of their best ball-carriers in open space. The prominent game-planning to set up multiple screen passes are also a likely attributing factor to quarterback Brett Hundley targeting just six of his 26 pass attempts 10-plus yards past the line of scrimmage. According to Pro Football Focus, 183 of Hundley's passing yards came after the catch.

"They're just trying to get us the ball, get us out there and put us in open space. They were just trying to get us some runs, miss tackles and gain some positive yards."

No other running back carried the ball for the Packers Sunday night. Not even fellow rookie tailback Devante Mays, whose first pair of career carries were both fumbles last week against the Baltimore Ravens. While coach Mike McCarthy said in his post-game presser that Williams was just the featured back against the Steelers, evidence may strongly suggest Mays' blown opportunities cost him a chance at an improved workload.

That's all fine for Williams, who has accounted for 304 yards from scrimmage in his last three games. He's proving to be a do-it-all asset in the Packers' backfield, whether being motioned out wide or even being asked to work in pass protection in certain situations. If his steady play continues, there may be more of a decreased role for Jones even when he returns from injury, which McCarthy hopes will be this coming week of practice.

Receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery is also hoping to get back soon from his reaggravated rib injury suffered against the Bears two weeks ago. His starting job was already swept from under him earlier in the season with the emergence of Jones, however, he provides a positive change-of-pace with his elusive, yet, strong running technique.

All that matters now, whether it's Williams or even fullback Aaron Ripkowski lining up in the backfield, is that the Packers have to start winning—fast.

"We just gotta keep playing, keep fighting," Williams said. "We still have a season to play and you just have to play with your brothers. Let them know you're not giving up on the season, fighting hard.

"Every game, I'm going to show them everything I got."

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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 (11)

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The TKstinator's picture

November 28, 2017 at 04:40 pm

Reminds me of Frank Gore. Solid, strong for his size, unspectacular.

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Point-Packer's picture

November 28, 2017 at 05:04 pm

Agree with Gore comparison. But to call him "unspectacular" is a tremendous stretch. Gore is currently #7 in all-time rushing yards. In front of guys like Eric Dickerson, Jim Brown, Adrian Peterson and Marshall Faulk, to name a few. By the time he is done he'll probably be #4, behind Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders and Walter Payton...

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The TKstinator's picture

November 28, 2017 at 05:42 pm

I meant Jamaal is unspectacular, as in, not “flashy splashy break 7 tackles on an 89 yard touchdown run”.
Gore has had a great career. Durable, reliable. He might not get you 60, but he’ll get you ten sixes.
If Jamaal turns out to be a Gore clone (or even a reasonable facsimile), sign me up!

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Dzehren's picture

November 28, 2017 at 10:28 pm

WILLIAMS obviously got all the touches & targets. He looked good because jones is hurt , Montgomery #88 is injured again as usual & Mays fumbled 2 times last week on 4 touches.

We picked 3 RB’s for a reason. Let’s hope we pick 3 pass rushers & 3 OL to block for AROD next year.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 29, 2017 at 02:02 am

Williams makes a nice #3 RB.

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Lphill's picture

November 29, 2017 at 05:52 am

I think Ripkowski might have had a carry against the Steelers but regardless I like the way Williams keeps pushing forward upon contact . I would say he is a number 2 back , if he has good hands and can pass block or pick up the blitz then even better.

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Handsback's picture

November 29, 2017 at 07:50 am

So much discussion about Jones and Williams taking the reins of RBs for the future and rightly so they have done a good job. Just don't think that Monty is going to rust on the bench once his ribs are healed. I think the Packers have a very strong corp of RBs and will learn to use them in tandem and provide the defenses a headache for planning. Unfortunately...this will all take place next year.

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Spock's picture

November 29, 2017 at 09:33 am

"...cemented himself as the featured player in the backfield." I think that's a lot of hyperbole. Williams had a great run on the TD screen, averaged (what?) 3.2 yards per carry, bobbled and dropped a sideline pass and ran out of bounds at a bad time (stopping clock, helping Steelers). He was essentially the ONLY option (Mays fumbles the previous weeks made him an emergency back at best). Did Williams have a good game? Yes. But "cemented himself a the featured player"? Not in my mind. Jones and Ty still are the top two featured backs when they are healthy. Williams is a nice addition to that group.

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NMPF's picture

November 29, 2017 at 09:57 am

The Jones/Williams combo looks like it very well could be the future @ RB. Now find a TE to solidify the skill positions on offense.

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billybobton's picture

November 29, 2017 at 01:28 pm

the guy is barely over 3.2/carry
he has looked good a FEW carries

I realize time are dim with the half witt teddie remaining but seriously?

we applaud dumping lacy who was 5.2 last year if I recall correctly and who was injured trying to play on a watermelon ankle

and are happy with 3.2

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 29, 2017 at 11:15 pm

Jamaal Williams still reminds me a little bit of Dorsey Levens

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