Jones was listed as questionable on Saturday’s final injury report, still dealing with a hamstring injury, although he did play on a snap count during the Packers’ previous matchup with Detroit 10 days ago. Jones participated in practice each day this week in a limited fashion, but on Saturday, he did not immediately join the team at the start of practice. However, afterwards, Matt LaFleur would say that Jones workload that day remained the same as what it had been.
As always, my guess is the Packers will give Jones up until game time to see if he can go or not.
The Packers run game has struggled to get going this season, to put it mildly. Green Bay ranks 29th in yards per carry this season, and that inability on the ground has had a negative trickle-down effect to the passing game. Those issues on the ground have put the Packers predictable passing situations, which puts the defense in advantageous situations, and forced Green Bay to rely heavily on a passing game that is not consistent enough to shoulder that workload.
With that said, the offensive line should be getting Elgton Jenkins back tonight and it appears Jon Runyan will be available as well after being on the injury report this week. This is also a Raiders defense that has not held up well against the run in 2023, allowing the seventh-most total rushing yards per game this season at 4.3 yards per attempt – which ranks 19th – and they’ve allowed the sixth-most rushes of 10-plus yards as well.
Simply put, AJ Dillon, who is averaging just 2.7 yards per rush, should have the opportunity to get going against the Raiders. This, in turn, should open up the passing game, specifically off of play-action, and take some of that playmaking burden off of Jordan Love and his young pass catchers. Green Bay is going up against a Raiders’ secondary that is banged up and allowed 337 passing yards per game.
If Dillon and the run game continues to have issues, then there are some real problems in the Green Bay backfield and on the offensive line that will have to be addressed over the bye week.
If Jones in fact cannot go, the Packers will then likely have sign Patrick Taylor to the 53-man roster to give them a third-running back option. With Taylor being out of elevations, he has to be signed to the game day roster, which means a corresponding cut or moving someone to IR would have to follow to make room for him. The logical move would be placing safety Zayne Anderson on IR, who was a healthy scratch the first two games and now has missed the last three with a hamstring injury.
Taylor has appeared in three games this season as a core special teams member, and when one offense, someone who has held his own as a blocker and pass catcher.
This offense is never quite the same when Jones isn’t involved. His playmaking abilities as a ball carrier are unmatched and he’s been one of the top targets in the passing game for the Packers in each of the last two seasons. Love is still yet to have his full complement of skill position players and preferred five on the offensive line in any game this season.