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With Aaron Jones Back, How Will Packers Divide Touches?

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With Aaron Jones Back, How Will Packers Divide Touches?

After last week's debacle, it feels good to be looking ahead and focusing more on the Washington Redskins, who the Packers will play Sunday.

After the bizarre tie with the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday at Lambeau Field, the Packers need a win. The team was one penalty flag (well a couple actually) or a Davante Adams catch away from having a lot of momentum after two weeks of the season.

Right now, the talk in the NFC is about the Rams. Well, if the Packers close the deal last Sunday, everyone is talking about Green Bay too, along with Tampa, the surprise team of the NFC right now.

But, as the saying goes, the past is the past. Green Bay needs to move forward and for those looking for positive news, here's some: Aaron Jones is back with this week. 

Yes, Jones, the guy many believe is the Packers top running back, returns after a two-game suspension this week. The question is, how will Jones be reincorporated into the mix and how will it affect both Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery?

So far, the running game has been solid. In 42 rushing attempts, the Packers have churned out 167 yards, which is an average of 4.0 per attempt. That's respectable, even if it's not outstanding. 

What has been missing though, are the explosive runs, the runs that go for more than 20 yards. In two games, the Packers have zero. Montgomery has a long of 16 and Williams, who is more of a power back, has a long of 11. 

That's where Jones comes in and based on what he did last year, the Packers would be foolish not to incorporate him into the offense immediately. Last season, despite just 81 rushing attempts, Jones ripped of six runs of 20 yards or more, ranking 11th in the NFL. Williams, on the other hand, had just one run of 20 yards or more in 153 attempts. 

Montgomery also has a solid history of big plays. In 2016, when he carried the ball 81 times for the Packers, he produced five runs of 20 yards or more. He also used to be a wide receiver and had 40 yards in six touches against Minnesota, meaning he should get more touches too.

That's what will make this week interesting. Jones averaged 5.5 yards per rush last season and so far this season, Montgomery is averaging 5.3, while Williams is averaging 3.4 after posting an average of 3.6 last season.

Part of it is that Williams is the Packers short-yardage guy. He gets the tough carries and gets tough yards. I don't think Green Bay should go away from him. But at the same time, the Packers have to get Jones touches and Montgomery more as well. Those are the two best players in the backfield and through a combination of runs and pass targets, Green Bay needs to get them the ball.

Aaron Rodgers should still be the focal point of the offense, but both Jones and Montgomery are good receivers and each should get the chance to take advantage of the favorable matchups they are sure to find in coverage. Green Bay hasn't done this enough in the past, but with Rodgers playing basically on one leg, it seems like a good time to try.

No matter what, Green Bay has three good running backs, which isn't a bad thing, it just has to make sure its using all of them effectively. 




Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Since '61's picture

I posted in preseason that I thought the Packers should try to get each RB, Jones, Monty, and Williams about 10-12 touches per game. That includes rushing and receiving. If the Packers run about 65-70 plays per game on offense they should be able to at least get close to those numbers unless they are playing from behind and need to go pass heavy.

If the Packers play with a lead they should be able to give all 3 backs a reasonable number of touches unless one of the three is having a bad game for whatever reason.

While Jones and Williams would likely get most of the carries Monty should get 5-8 receptions out of his 10-12 touches per game. This would get Monty out in space and give the opposing DC yet another receiving threat to try and cover giving our WRs and TEs even more opportunites for 1 on 1 coverage.

Looking forward to seeing more versatility from our offense with all 3 RBs and our TEs. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

Christopher Gennaro's picture

Well said my only thing I could add is way more 12 formations. (2te, 2rbs, 1 wr) I understand right now its tough with G-Mo playing so well, but love to see a few series with that group, just to grind a defense, and how they react.

Oppy's picture

12 is one RB, two TE

4thand1's picture

We should have a running game that defenses respect. Our o line has been in pass protect mode for so long it would to great to go downhill and get some big run plays. A Jones is healthy and should give the Pack a huge lift. After week 3 we should know what kind of team we have. IMO it's going to be a team that depends mostly on offense, the defense is still a work in progress. We can't rely on a secondary to cover for to long, hopefully Pettine is going to come up with some wrinkles to get pressure.

TheVOR's picture

So having a running game thats respected starts with Aaron Jones. MM's constant BS about what he thinks his running game is, well, quite frankly its BS. Nobody dislikes Montgomery in either role, if you're will to realize he'll miss 1/2 the season with injuries. Williams? I like the kid, but his field vision blows and he has no genuine quickness, but he's a banger!

Now, Aaron Jones? HES A GAME CHANGER! Do the math and quite stating all this nonsense. Play the real running back, and worry about who carries what later. If Jones doesn't produce, then find out who the hot hand is, but Jones is the real deal..

Archie's picture

If the main intent is to use the run game, Jones is your man. Williams/Montgomery are relief only and/or 3d and long.

If the intent is to use the pass game, Williams looks like the best blocker and blitz pick-up though Ty Montgomery is a close 2nd.

The good news by golly is we have 3 very useful pieces at RB.

I have no interest in LeVeon Bell. Non-stop drama that we don't need.

Earl Thomas would make a perfect addition to our defense. And it would get HHCD off the field or off the team. The effect on our defense would be dramatic. I'd give a #2 and Spriggs for ET. They need OL. I think that deal would get done.

Next year for our HC - Mike Pettine!

TheVOR's picture

So having a running game thats respected starts with Aaron Jones. MM's constant BS about what he thinks his running game is, well, quite frankly its BS. Nobody dislikes Montgomery in either role, if you're will to realize he'll miss 1/2 the season with injuries. Williams? I like the kid, but his field vision blows and he has no genuine quickness, but he's a banger!

Now, Aaron Jones? HES A GAME CHANGER! Do the math and quite stating all this nonsense. Play the real running back, and worry about who carries what later. If Jones doesn't produce, then find out who the hot hand is, but Jones is the real deal..

The TKstinator's picture

Jones has got to be trustworthy in the passing game, both with pass pro and receiving. I think we all agree he is BY FAR GB’s best ball carrier.

But it’s still 12 and the passing game that stirs the drink.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Jones was known for his receiving skills in college. Agree on the pass pro.

The TKstinator's picture

Giddy up!

stockholder's picture

Any situation can change with fumbles. MMs running game is for change of direction only. Monty still will have more success if they throw the ball to him. The biggest problem is injuries. There is No need to worry. It will play out. Don't Fumble!

Denise Chanterelle's picture

I would love and enjoy seeing a strong running game on Sunday. Anything to help ease Rodgers workload so he can go easy on that injured knee. The less he needs to do on Sunday, the better. Last week was very demanding for Rodgers. Too much IMO. Thank you.

Lare's picture

I think the Packers could have a strong running game, but for that to happen McCarthy & Rodgers have to let it happen.

Fordham Ram's picture

I wholeheartedly concur D. AJ all the way!

The TKstinator's picture

I really loved the Dan Fouts Chargers of the 1980’s. They were able to run the ball because of how potent their passing game was. How come GB can’t be like that? (Of course, having Chuck Muncie and James Brooks didn’t hurt, either.)

Spud Rapids's picture

I've heard a lot of talk about Jones being a perfect change of pace back and how he doesn't need to "settle" into a game to get going. Given that he can come in on one play and break one off (see game winner last year vs. Cincy) I think they'll pound it with Williams as the primary (he is the best pass blocker too) and use Monty in situations and sub in Aaron Jones for change of pace. That being said I think snap breakout will look like this:

Williams 50% 12 carries
Monty 30% 6 carries, couple pass touches
Jones 20% 8 carries

Christopher Gennaro's picture

Hmm would love to see all those numbers a bit higher, I think that three headed monster can take over games. Less relying on Rodgers the better.

Matt Gonzales's picture

Considering MM has previously cut or benched players for breaking curfew on road games, I can't imagine he's going to budge from his position that Jones is starting from the bottom of the chart after returning from suspension. I'm extremely excited to see him back on the field, but I don't see him getting more than 4-5 touches this game, and then moving upwards from there.

White _tornado's picture

Who. Did MM cut? I dont remember that
Im of the mindset nothing sends a message better than an empty locker for poor performance or rule violations.

Jersey Al's picture

the cornerback Burton they had just picked up off waivers from the Falcons.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Did Aaron Jones break curfew? When?

Matt Gonzales's picture

I was referring to Alonzo Harris, who was cut (along with Lacy being benched) for breaking curfew before a road Lions game.

Archie's picture

That is so old school. Given that MM's job is on the line this year, he may be much more forgiving towards one of his top 4 offensive players.

1 - AROD
2 - BAK
3 - TAE
4 - AJ

We have lots of good supporting players on offense but those 4 are our super heroes. Jimmy Graham in his prime would obviously rate here but those days are long gone. He is just a nice contributing piece these days. He's nice to have but we way overpaid him.

Can we stop Alex Smith and the RPO this week? I think we will. Nice to be getting Burks back for this one. Josh Jones may even play a role. Hell, we know HHCD is worthless.

4thand1's picture

No less than 20 touches for Jones. We have a running back, run him. No pussy footing around.

Tundraboy's picture

For a team with with so many possible options on offense, we sure don't seem to use most of them as much as we should. I'm really hoping this is a year where we see that happen more. Giving a token amount of snaps to some very talented players just seems counterproductive.

Lare's picture

Especially if it puts your QB at risk.

Tundraboy's picture


Archie's picture

Keep on hoping. MM is not very creative if you haven't noticed. Nagy changed the face Bears' offensive football overnight. MM has not done it once in 10+ years. Ty is being wasted. If MM ever had to work with an average QB it would get ugly fast. AROD's greatness gives cover to MM's mental deficiencies. This team won't be completely right until all of TT/MM's decisions are undone.

SJ EC's picture

Definitely excited to see what Jones can bring to the run game this season - he looked like he hadn’t accumulated much rust in his preseason action.

Of course, the amount he plays will be decided by McCarthy, and we all know how his personnel usage can sometimes leave us scratching our heads from time to time...

Jonathan Spader's picture

“Jamaal and Ty have been playing good football,” McCarthy said. “I understand what Aaron gives us, but his role will be secondary. Jamaal and Ty will be in the first slot. And how we use them, that’s why we play the game.”

I'd be shocked to see MM use Jones effectively on his return. Ever go on the highway and see a really nice mustang going 5 miles below the speed limit? That's how I view MM's usage of the RB position. Hopefully MM proves me wrong and we have Rodgers shred Washington's defense and use the running game to rest our defense.

Tundraboy's picture

Lol. Yeah,why use your best weapon at RB? Also then why did we stop using Ty last game.

Archie's picture

There's good football and there's great football. Obviously MM is satisfied with good football. The guy is an anchor. For a decade he exploded at anybody who suggested Capers was the problem on defense. That's a long time be wrong on something as big as that.

PAPackerbacker's picture

If the running game is successful stick with it. It will slow down the pass rush and keep Rodgers from having to scramble so much when he does include some passes mixed in the game. This will keep him from getting hit to may times and reduce the chances of reinjuring that knee and give it more time to mend. Jones should provide a better running attack and take some of that pressure off Rodgers and that bad knee. When he does pass they should be short passes or screens and when the pass rush slows down just enough he can unleash one of those long passes to Adams, Allison, or Cobb and maybe even Graham. This may be a good game to test the skills of the younger receivers and see how they perform in a regular season matchup.

Tundraboy's picture

Who knows?

Dash Riprock's picture

Rodgers needs to be the decoy this week so he can rest that leg. Run to daylight!!

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