Green Bay Packers need to lean more on run game

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images /

The Green Bay Packers have three dynamic running backs who all need to touch the football more going forward.

The Green Bay Packers have more than one reason to increase their running plays in Week 5. They will take on the Detroit Lions are who currently fielding the worst run defense in the NFL. That, and it’s quite possible their three starting receivers may not be available.

Mike McCarthy told the media on Thursday wide receiver Davante Adams would be held out of practice after suffering a calf injury on Wednesday. Adams joined Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison who have yet to practice this week in preparation for Detroit. Cobb is dealing with a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Week 4’s matchup and he’s been ruled out again while Allison is still in the concussion protocol.

A banged up receiving corps pushed the Packers to sign free agent DeAngelo Yancey to the practice squad. The team selected the Purdue product in 2017 during the fifth round. He spent last season on the practice squad before being released a week prior to the 2018 season opener. The move could mean Green Bay is preparing to roll with Yancey and their three rookie wideouts until their guys get healthy.

Fifth-rounder Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the only one who has actually caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers all season.

Rodgers has been able to carry the offensive load before, however, it’s asking a lot of a player still healing from a sprained knee. If the Packers want to handle the Lions and regain control of the division, then they should ask less of their All-Pro quarterback and lean more on their running backs.

Right now they are averaging a little over 22 carries per game and that must change not only this week but for the rest of the season. Though, in limited opportunities, McCarthy has been pleased with the body of work from his backfield committee to this point.

“I like the way all three guys are playing,” said McCarthy after Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills.

The trio of Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery, and Aaron Jones are averaging 3.7 yards per carry with Jones the leader at 6.3. Jones known as more of a slasher is also the only one on the team with a rush for over 20 yards.

Williams, who is averaging just under 12 carries per game, may be the Packers go to back right now but anything can happen when someone has a hot hand. We saw it last week when Jones matched Williams’ 11 carries but ran for 38 more yards.

Jones has been their most impressive running back this season as he grades out as the third best NFL rusher according to Pro Football Focus. The fanbase is clamoring for more touches for the former fifth-round pick but the Packers are playing it smart. There’s no point in burning out a running back in the first two months of the season leaving him with nothing left in the tank come playoff time.

Expect the carries spread to look similar to what it is now, but expect an increase in volume. Williams will continue to be the power back, Jones the slasher, and Montgomery the dynamic threat who can run and catch passes out the backfield. The Packers may have limited weapons this Sunday making it a great opportunity for all three rushers to carry the offensive load. If all goes well it could be a sign of things to come.