The Packers didn’t have as rough of a weekend as it’s been made out to be. Sure, the offensive gameplan was incredibly conservative, but they were a couple of third and shorts away from having a chance to win the game. I excluded Brett Hundley from this list, so we can dig deeper into his situation later in the week. Here are the youngin’s.
Jamaal Williams: The rookie running back has fallen out of the carries rotation, sitting behind Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery. This past week, he showed up on special teams. He made a sliding ankle tackle on a kick off, taking the returner down at the 16. He also got called for a holding on an impressive Trevor Davis return, costing the Packers about 30 yards in field position. I thought it was a so-so call, and overall really liked that Williams brought a lot of energy to his new assignment.
Geronimo Allison: Allison has gotten the crumbs of the cake the past four weeks. He managed to catch a 14 yard pass from Brett Hundley against New Orleans, putting him near the leader of receiving stats on the day. It came on a third down, giving the Packers a first down and a little hope in the second half. Allison is a receiver that has been working with Hundley for two seasons with the second unit. It could be a great idea to special gameplan a few snaps for the back up receivers.
Josh Jones: Similar to Geronimo, Jones hasn’t had a top level performance since the week three win over Cincinnati. He finished with three tackles this past week. The Packers have been rotating Jones, Brice, and Cinton-Dix as the safety showing in the front seven. The rookie has spent a lot of time protecting the back end of the defense since Morgan Burnett went down. He’s done a good job, the defense hasn’t given up an over the top big play in the past two weeks. Expect Jones to make more plays when he’s able to play to his strengths. Interesting enough, the Packers put Ha-Ha Clinton Dix in a similar situation last season, with Burnett out, they’ve allowed him to play in the front seven, and the one time Pro Bowler has finally gotten to attack the line of scrimmage. Jones will get his opportunity someday, could be next year, but it’ll come.
Kevin King: On the bright side, the rookie finished the game with five tackles. He once again proved he’s willing to throw his body recklessly into the ball carrier. On the others side, he continued to struggle with predicting the cuts of his opponent. The Saints seemed to have scouted this, going after the rookie with double moves twice, hitting big on both. I trust the competitiveness of the Oakland resident. Matched with his impressive physical skills, he’ll be a lot better this time next season.
Kentrell Brice: Brice produced for the defense yet again, but also limped off the field once again. He was trying to throw haymakers all game, which is a needed addition to the defense. He missed his target again. Sometimes big plays come with the con of missed opportunities. The first year starter has the talent to become a Pro Bowler, but he needs to improve his consistency. All I know, is that I get excited watching him play.
Kenny Clark: The second year 21 year old came is having a fantastic sophomore season in the NFL. When he first dropped last season as the youngest player in the NFL, he wasn’t winning the battle at the line of scrimmage until late in the season. Now, Clark has become a budding star alongside Mike Daniel for the Packers defense. He made a key play once again on Sunday, blocking the Saints extra point to hold the Packers 14-13 lead.
Blake Martinez: The second year linebacker had another incredible week, recording a team high 16 tackles. It felt like Martinez was the teams last line of defense on Sunday, not because the secondary was missing tackles. The Packers leading tackler spent a lot of time all alone in the middle of the field, if he didn’t take the back’s legs out, the ball carrier was into the secondary at full speed. Martinez saved the Packers from being completely gashed, he took the Saint’s running backs down for multiple medium gains.
Youngin’ of the Week:
Aaron Jones: The rookie running back keeps building off his opportunities. This week he gave the Packers a chance to score enough points to beat the Saints. He tallied 131 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. More importantly he does an incredible job of turning nothing into positive gains, twisting his body into tight gaps, with the elusiveness to squeeze through the hole. This is incredibly important for the young Brett Hundley, Jones was critical to his success, putting him in convertible third down situations. The Packers struggled on third down, going four of eleven, but that’s part of their plan for success, getting into convertible third down situations. It’s been a long time since the Packers best offensive weapon was a rookie running back, how exciting.