Don’t Forget Aaron Jones

Going into last spring’s NFL Draft, the Packers were ailing at the running back position, as Eddie Lacy and his lacking workout regiment, James Starks and his unproductiveness, and an injured Ty Montgomery tempered general manager Ted Thompson into a full-blown restoration. Besides Montgomery, Green Bay’s backfield done-away with, as the team proceeded to make the position one of its most important in the draft. BYU running back titan Jamaal Williams was noted for his lower-body, bullish strength, and his ability to hold onto the football. Hometown El Paso kid, Aaron Jones, came out of UTEP, with a game that mimicked pyrotechnics, ripping off runs, of 40 yards or more, 13 times. Another physical and most-patient runner, Devante Mays, came from the seventh round, like Jones, pushing for a roster spot upon joining the team.

It was clear that the front office wanted to bring a zoetic bag of talents, one that could be opened anytime, to pair with the supreme pass-catching ability and savvy of Montgomery, for seasons to come. And, here it stands, with holes in it, emptying marbles of contention, as Montgomery is out yet another week. (He reinjured his broken ribs last week in Chicago.) Jones is sidelined for the foreseeable future, with an injury to his MCL. And, suddenly, Jamaal Williams, and Mays have the reigns to all of the Packers’ backfield talent.

I’m not going to outright dismiss Williams or Mays as the starter, once the other two find the field again, because this quartet hasn’t been consistent at all. In the stretch of games sans Aaron Rodgers, coach Mike McCarthy has looked lost with his play-calling, often abandoning the run way too soon, with the lone win coming on the back of the defense, not the arm of Brett Hundley, who has been flustered by every defense he’s faced, taking sacks and not finishing his reads.

What I saw from Jones against the Cowboys and Saints, was a fearless confidence, a surefire slew of bursts through the hole, and great ball protection. In the latter game, which was a defeat, he singlehandedly kept the Pack around, and tried to take pressure of Hundley, who finished with only 87 yards through the air.

When holes collapse, the 22-year-old Jones finds, if not creates, new ones, and runs with a desire to want more touches. Yes, Montgomery has had his share of 100-yard games, but the running back position has taken its toll on the former receiver. If someone like Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson, both of whom will be unrestricted free agents in 2019, unexpectedly gets cut or dealt, a la Josh Sitton at the beginning of last season, there’s a real possibility that Montgomery finds himself at wideout again.

Keep in mind that Jones didn’t get his first carry until the fourth game of the year, and has already proven himself, whenever his name gets called enough times. Unless Mays or Williams play convincingly against middle-of-the-road run defenses like Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Jones should have the starting job for not only the rest of the season, but until he feels the need to relinquish it.


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