The Green Bay Packers had ample time to prepare for not having running back Aaron Jones for their first two regular season games. It was announced this past July, Jones would be suspended for the first two games because of his marijuana arrest last season. Although the Packers running game did what was needed during his absence, there is no doubt that the Packers are happy about Aaron Jones return. Aaron Jones looks like a play maker in the Packers running game.
Aaron Jones made his season debut against the Washington Redskins and provided a spark. He didn’t go over the 100 yard rushing mark, just six carries but for 42 yards, but he did display something the Packers had been missing in their first two games. With a 7.0 yards per average carry, Jones showed that he is capable of busting out some good yardage carrying the ball.
Jones continued to produce this past weekend in the Packers 22-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Not only did his carries increase, but so did his yardage. Jones finished the game with 11 carries for 65 rushing yards with one touchdown. He also chipped in one reception for 17 yards. Although it was just a small taste of what Jones is capable of doing, it did provide hope that the Packers have another play maker on their offense.
While most Packers fans who witnessed the past two games are champing at the bit to get Jones more carries, they shouldn’t be holding their breath. Even before training camp began, head coach Mike McCarthy declared that they would be a “running back by committee” team. While most fans will hate reading that, it actually might be for the best.
All three of the Packers running backs have their own abilities. Aaron Jones is the more natural runner of the three. He has the ability to take a crease and bust out for big chunks of yardage. Jamaal Williams, who has been the starter so far this season, is the best pass protector of the three. He also has shown that he is capable of getting the tough yards when it is necessary. In the past, McCarthy would utilize the fullback in short yardage situations. But without carrying a fullback on the roster so far this season, Williams has and will be called upon more to pick up the one to two yards needed in short yardage situations.
Ty Montgomery is the best receiver of the bunch. That is one of the benefits of having a converted wide receiver as one of your running backs. His receiving ability out of the backfield was on display this past Sunday against the Bills. In a third down and four situation, he was able to bust out of the backfield and catch an Aaron Rodgers pass that went for a 43 yard gain. That help lead to a Rodgers to Jimmy Graham touchdown. Although Montgomery might not be able to carry the ball more than 10-15 times a game, he does provide another pass catching option. He has the ability to not only line up in the backfield, but also in the slot.
All three running backs have the ability to cause opposing defenses headaches. But still, it would be best to get Jones the most carries. While Williams and Montgomery are capable runners, neither has the natural running ability that Jones has. Jones has the ability to take a small crease and take the ball the distance. If McCarthy can get Jones at least 15 carries, it could increase the production from the Packers running game.
Increasing the Packers running game would be best for the Packers offense right now. With Rodgers still hobbled by a knee injury, having a consistent running attack would take the pressure off Rodgers and the rest of the passing game. While Williams and Montgomery have done an adequate job taking pressure off, having Jones home run ability would make the opposing defense respect the Packers running game even more.
Every offense needs play makers and Aaron Jones, from last season and so far this season, has shown he is a play maker in the Packers backfield. He won’t be getting 20-25 carries like most Packers fans are hoping he will, he will get more as the season goes on. When he does, expect his production to increase and for the Packers to have one more play maker on their offense.