Packers: Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones combination gives life to run game

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 03: Jamaal Williams
GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 03: Jamaal Williams /

With Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones healthy, the Green Bay Packers may have finally found their best combination at running back.

Williams and Jones are good friends off the field, and they could now form one of the best running back tag teams in the league.

The pairing gave fans a taste of the thunder-and-lightning combination they can provide in Green Bay’s backfield. But their journey together started before they were even members of the Packers.

“We’ve been together since we started the combine to being together all the time,” Williams said, via “We have the same agent and everything. Roommates, when we first got here, too. It’s nothing new to us. We’ve been together for a while.”

In February they were together at the combine. Fast forward to November and they form an exciting combination as the Packers’ premier running backs. But until now they’ve rarely been healthy at the same time.

It was an injury to Williams in Week 4 that opened the door for Jones to lead the backfield. And not until Jones went down himself did Williams get another opportunity.

Both rookie running backs have risen to the occasion when featured as the lead back.

Despite missing the past two games with a sprained MCL, Jones is still the Packers’ leading rusher with 390 yards and four touchdowns on the season. He’s a home-run hitter, and has four runs of over 20 yards to his name.

Williams is a powerful back who can carry a heavy workload. He is tough to tackle and is particularly effective on short-yardage situations. Improving by the week, Williams has shown better vision to find the open lanes.

Both Williams and Jones found the end zone in Sunday’s win over the Bucs, but the two plays were total opposites. Williams refused to go down short of the goal line, pushing forward and carrying would-be tacklers with him into Tampa’s end zone.

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Jones, meanwhile, bounced outside on a run designed to go between the tackles because he saw green grass to his left. He flew past defenders before leaping into the end zone to win the game in overtime. It was a smart play by the rookie on his first carry of the day.

How Mike McCarthy utilizes his backs moving forward will be interesting. Both have thrived with a large share of the carries, which could lead to an even split between the two. Both Williams and Jones deserve their share of carries.

Williams has the power to wear defenses down, and Jones can take advantage by burning them for big plays.

“We came out and wanted to run the ball,” Jones said postgame, via “Jamaal did that. He was great all night. I feel like he wore them down and set me up for the knockout punch.”

It’s the kind of combination the Packers’ backfield has cried out for since Eddie Lacy and James Starks‘ production dipped in 2015.

Injuries forced McCarthy to feature his rookies. Week 1 starter Ty Montgomery is out for the remainder of the season with a wrist problem.

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For the first time the Packers have a healthy combo of Williams and Jones leading the backfield. It might just be the duo that helps fuel a playoff run.