What to Watch in Packers vs Rams: How Many Touches for Aaron Jones?

Matt LaFleur said Jones is ready to be "cut loose" this week against the Los Angeles Rams.  

Who is playing quarterback for the Rams?

Clearly, this is the biggest factor which will help decide this week’s game.

Matthew Stafford is questionable for Sunday’s matchup as he deals with a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. The former Lions quarterback has not practiced all week, and veteran Brett Rypien would be in line to start if Stafford cannot go.

If the Packers do see Stafford on Sunday, it will not be a compromised version, and even at full health, it has been an underwhelming campaign for Stafford so far. He has eight touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season, with a passer rating of 82.

Whether it is Stafford or Rypien, the Packers defense should be able to make some hay versus the Rams passing attack.

Carrington Valentine

Just how much joy the Packers have will depend on their ability to hold up on the back end, a task made harder when Rasul Douglas was traded to the Buffalo Bills this week.

With Eric Stokes on injured reserve and Keisean Nixon deployed primarily in the slot, that means rookie Carrington Valentine will have to step up on the perimeter opposite Jaire Alexander.

Valentine was picked on at times by the Denver Broncos two weeks ago and would rank as the NFL’s 93rd cornerback out of 116 per PFF if he had enough snaps to qualify.

For his part, Alexander has been a shell of himself this season, but will hope to put his back injury firmly behind him and return to All-Pro form. Quarterbacks will still be reluctant to throw Alexander’s way, so Valentine can expect to be busy.

Facing the impressive tandem of Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua (provided he overcomes a knee injury which has limited him in practice this week) will be a stiff test for the rookie corner.

Aaron Donald

Speaking of tough assignments, Josh Myers and the interior of Green Bay’s offensive line will have their work cut out for them as they face the irrepressible Aaron Donald.

Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich and general manager Brian Gutekunst have gone out of their way to give Myers a vote of confidence, with both saying the third-year center is playing “the best football of his career”.

Well, we are about to find out. Donald will be able to take full advantage of any weak link, meaning Myers, Jon Runyan Jr., and Elgton Jenkins – who has fared well against Donald in the past – to be on top form to prevent him from taking over.

How many touches for Aaron Jones?

The Packers have been cautious with Jones as he returned from a hamstring injury which has lingered from week one, with the star running back even wearing a red ‘no-contact’ jersey in practice this week.

However, head coach Matt LaFleur said Jones is ready to be “cut loose” on Sunday, indicating any limitations to his play time may be removed.

Jones is yet to have ten carries in a game this season. He had not had more than 15 since the Green Bay last faced LA in December 2022.

It is no secret the Packers have not leaned as heavily on Jones as they could, or perhaps should, during his career. Feeding him the ball, both as a runner and as a pass catcher, could be the spark this sputtering offense needs.

Stay in the fight

How strong is the spirit of this Packers locker room?

On a four-game losing streak, having just seen one of the team’s best players and most vocal leaders traded away, it would be easy for such a young team to fold.

Sunday will provide a glimpse into how much fight this team has left, especially if they fall behind, and what they want the rest of the season to look like. It will also reflect the leadership of LaFleur, which has come under scrutiny during his team’s downward spiral.

 

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @MarkOldacres

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5 points
 

Comments (24)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
ricky's picture

November 04, 2023 at 03:56 pm

"Sunday will provide a glimpse into how much fight this team has left, especially if they fall behind, and what they want the rest of the season to look like. It will also reflect the leadership of LaFleur, which has come under scrutiny during his team’s downward spiral."

Oh, boy. This could indeed be a long season. Some teams would run through a wall for their head coach. Others hit the wall because the coach doesn't inspire them.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 04, 2023 at 04:07 pm

" Some teams would run through a wall for their head coach. Others hit the wall because the coach doesn't inspire them."

I could see, hmm, maybe 90% of the Packers' roster willingly running *around* a wall for LaFleur. The other 10%, Barry's guys, would stay eight to ten yards from the wall.

17 points
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PackerBO's picture

November 04, 2023 at 05:36 pm

LMAO, great post!!!

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 04, 2023 at 05:37 pm

Blue ribbon award for Joke of the Day.

3 points
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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2023 at 07:56 pm

Love this. I now picture 3 players running in circles, looking for a hole in the wall,before one hands off to another, reverses direction then hesitates, looks for it and runs into the wall. Nyuuk,Nyuuk, Nyuuk

2 points
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TKWorldWide's picture

November 04, 2023 at 11:17 pm

You win the internet today!!

2 points
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splitpea1's picture

November 04, 2023 at 04:15 pm

Since the offense can't be counted on anything this point, including what Jones being "cut loose" means, the spotlight goes on the defense. I don't care who is playing QB, if our patchwork secondary can't hold up and/or our front seven can't exploit the Rams' less tha stellar pass blocking, then we're going to have a tough time winning.

If we're in supposed tank mode, I would like to see a lot more of Van Ness--what do we have to lose?

6 points
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jlc1's picture

November 04, 2023 at 04:16 pm

Yes we will see about the fight in the Pack. But we already know they lack it. How can MLF rally them when his game plans are measurably the worst in football? When his defense knows they need to win the games. And they don't just know it, they say it. Rams up by double digits before the Pack puts points on the board and thus even if Jones is part of the game plan, which I doubt because MLF has said he would be many times before and it hasn't happened, that deficit will eliminate any run game.
It's one more get right game for a GB opponent.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 04, 2023 at 05:35 pm

Just read the article in the ATHLETIC about Fouts and Air Coryell. LaFleur would be advised to watch the Film and free up his TE and pump 4 wide go routes. Just Fling it around, forget about the RPO disaster.

0 points
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ImaPayne's picture

November 04, 2023 at 04:43 pm

Running jones means love doesnt have to pass.
Running jones means the d doesnt have to be on the field. Running jones means o line doesnt have to pretend pass block .
You can bet LeFleur is wetting himself.

-3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

November 04, 2023 at 07:45 pm

As usual, you're clueless.

Our O line is far better at pass protection than it is run blocking.

MLF declared himself incompetent last season with how many times he said he needs to get #33 more involved in the game yet he's never done it. He should've gotten himself a power of attorney by now.

4 points
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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2023 at 08:07 pm

This is insane the way they don't use Jones. I mean how many years has this been going on. This is another one of the biggest problem with the teams brain trust. When we do draft someone who actually pans out, we don't capitalize on it. It's goes back to McCarthy. And worse sometimes when we do use him to spark the team get into any kind of rhythm, as with the last Detroit game we set himup to get blasted with a combination of predicable play calling, horrible blocking or, mental errors. Or we bring in Dillon for a quarter.

All I want for Christmas is...... A return to sanity for starters. New management. But a top 3 pick star WR, or OL will certainly do.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

November 04, 2023 at 06:31 pm

Murphy addressed Love ,Douglass, etc.
Whatever-

-3 points
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bleedgreen's picture

November 04, 2023 at 09:21 pm

Not sure what they mean by "cut loose". I just hope he doesn't get killed trying to run behind that awful offensive line.

2 points
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joejetson's picture

November 04, 2023 at 10:12 pm

What to watch for:

Rams QB- expect Valentine to get targeted frequently, until he shows he can cover his man without safety help. He wasn't great vs Denver, but at least he wasn't ten yards deep on third and eight. Hope to see him improve.

Aaron Donald- they had no plan for Raiders' Maxx Crosby, so I cringe at the prospect of Donald making life miserable for Love.

Aaron Jones- they'll try to finally get him more touches but the O-line will open no running lanes. He'll create some gains on his own, hopefully break off a couple decent gains.

Stay in the fight- they have actually managed to get themselves back into these games in the 2nd half, but when they do fight back finally on offense, the defense collapses and they fall two scores behind again.

Final thoughts- I think the dropped passes last week was an anomaly, most of their guys have pretty good hands and have made a lot more good catches than drops. I will be surprised if the drops continue.

Prediction-
I think they can beat the Rams, especially if Stafford is out.

1 points
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Mister Chievous's picture

November 05, 2023 at 11:45 am

who has made a lot of good catches? doubs has made a couple. i must be watching a different packers team than you are.

-1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

November 04, 2023 at 10:38 pm

60 touches if leFleur had his way. LOL

0 points
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TKWorldWide's picture

November 04, 2023 at 11:24 pm

I guess there’s just a lot I don’t understand.

Need to involve Jones? Turn around and hand it to him.

I don’t understand how a “pitch count” helps a hamstring. You can either run full speed, or you can’t.

Alexander’s back injury was/is a “contusion”? Isn’t that just a fancy word for “bruise”?

3 points
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jont's picture

November 05, 2023 at 10:52 am

"Alexander’s back injury was/is a 'contusion'? Isn’t that just a fancy word for 'bruise'?"

Pretty much, but the bruise (which you can also call a subdermal hematoma) is usually the relatively minor part of the injury. What caused the bleeding under the skin is usually the real problem. For Jaire it is likely that he took a serious hit on the part of his back not covered by a pad. That muscle is what's bleeding.

"Bad news, son, you've got a bruise."
"Is that why I can't bend over?"
"Oh, no, that's because your latissimus dorsi is smashed like ground beef. But that is a nasty looking bruise."

0 points
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PAPackerbacker's picture

November 05, 2023 at 05:15 am

Saying you will cut Aaron Jones loose and then doing it is a different matter. The coaching staff has been the biggest reason for the position the Packers are in right now. There are many areas that need improvement for sure but it all starts with game planning and preparation. And I just don't see any of this from either side of the ball. There is plenty of blame to go around, no doubt. A well coached team will overcome these adversities and show improvement as the season progresses. It just isn't happening. How can the team learn from mistakes when they keep making the same ones over and over again? It's time for the coaches to quit making excuses and take responsibility and start coaching. Mistakes will be made by a young team, even by a veteran team, But one must learn from the mistakes and improve from it. Not continue on the same path.

1 points
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BAMABADGER's picture

November 05, 2023 at 07:54 am

On Defense: D-line play will make or break this game. They have to stop the run and provide consistent pressure with the pass rush. If both can't be accomplished our DB will be picked apart.

Offensively, AJ has got to be involved heavily in both halves. MLF better call shorter pass plays for JL. Take what the D gives you. Crossing routes shallow to mid-level will help Love's confidence. Enough with the passes and TE screens to the sidelines. Utilize the TEs between the LB/Safety over the middle. Let the WR/TE catch vertical shorter passes and then go for YAC. Hoping our O-line can hold up for one solid game.

0 points
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TxFred's picture

November 05, 2023 at 09:08 am

I expect the wheels will be getting wobbly and get worse as the winless season wears on. The backs have to totally fed up with the O Line uselessness. Not NFL standard as are the staff of assistants. Absolutely not one bit of improvement, on the talented &COACHABLE team. Players comments will be popping up in lockerroom Q& A's. If the get TOUGH questions. Just a matter of time. First, indignation will be an assistant firing, then another. Just a matter of time.

1 points
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Mister Chievous's picture

November 05, 2023 at 11:41 am

twenty touches for jones. 15 or so carries and another 5 through the air. jones has had an intentionally light workload his whole career. time to use him before gutty makes another stupid decision and unloads him this off season. of course, the line probably won't be able to open up lanes for him. we all remember how often rodgers threw downfield to jones and all the spectacular contested catches he made. jones is not only our best runner, but also our best receiver. that on a team without a legit 1 or 2 caliber pass catcher. watson looks like he wouldn't make most nfl rosters right now. hope that changes today.

0 points
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joejetson's picture

November 05, 2023 at 11:53 am

If they want to get Jones more touches, why not motion him or put him in the slot. Eventually they'll get some mismatches with linebackers or bring a safety down to create single coverage for WR's. Either way it's an advantage for the offense. Plus it's a great way to get him the ball in space instead of plowing him into the line where nobody has created a running lane. Maybe reduce the number of big hits he takes by linemen who weigh twice as much as Jones.

0 points
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