5. The Running Game
In 2017, there were a few bright spots on the team. Their names are Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. The two backs together did everything they could to pick up the slack from a lacking Brett Hundley to try and sneak into the playoffs. The two complement each other well and, unfortunately, were never healthy at the same time. It was always Jones playing well with Williams out or vice versa. In 2018, they will finally be healthy together and can possibly be the Packers thunder and lightning.
Jones sat in the beginning part of the year and was second or third on the depth chart. He gradually had more playing time because of injuries to Williams and Ty Montgomery. Finally, his first start came against the Dallas Cowboys and was a big reason the Packers had won that game. Jones carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. Showing he wasn’t a fluke, Jones still produced against the New Orleans Saints with 17 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown.
For being a shorter running back he runs very physical, but has the weight to keep running well between the tackles. Jones also was among the top backs in yards per carry average with 5.5. I expect Jones to rush on 150 carries for 780 Yards rushing/105 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.
Williams ended up getting hurt earlier in the year and had to wait his turn to get his time to shine. Sadly it took Jones getting hurt for Williams to get his playing time. He ran with the opportunity though and showed he was a late round steal as well. He ran to a streak of three games with 100 all-purpose yards or more and added a fourth one in Week 17 in Detroit.
Williams has shown he is the same rushing and receiving threat he was while he was at BYU. A stallion with a jump cut that gains speed quickly as his strides get longer and have exceptional hands as a pass catcher. I expect to see Williams with 120 carries for 520 rushing/310 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
This combination of the thunder and lightning will pay dividends for the Packers and especially Rodgers. He doesn’t need to haul the load on his shoulders anymore with this dynamic duo that will keep defenses honest and keep guessing. Anybody else getting Deja vu of Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett? This is what I am seeing with Jones and Williams.