Analysis: How Packers running backs will revolutionize offense

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Jamaal Williams
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Jamaal Williams /

For many years, the Green Bay Packers offense has been all about having a lethal passing attack. But now that may not be the main element.

Though many have criticized Ted Thompson‘s work as the Packers general manager over the last few years, it’s hard to disagree that he struck gold in the 2017 draft.

In the fourth round (pick 134), Green Bay selected running back Jamaal Williams from BYU. And in the fifth round (pick 182) the Packers picked running back Aaron Jones from UTEP.

Many expected Ty Montgomery to be the feature back heading into the season, but Williams and Jones had something to say about that.

Thunder and Lightning Part 1

If you remember back to the 2013 draft, the Packers tried out this strategy by drafting Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin. This was supposed to be an epic “thunder and lightning” combo.

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Both backs were extremely gifted and worked well together. Sadly, Franklin suffered a career-ending injury in his rookie season.

Lacy went on to have two 1,000-yard seasons before suffering multiple injuries. He wasn’t re-signed following the 2016 season.

Thunder and Lightning Part 2

In the 2017 season, Williams and Jones did what Franklin and Lacy couldn’t. They were equals in almost every way and gave the offense a dimension it hasn’t had in a long time.

In their debut season, both players ran for over 400 yards and each grabbed four touchdowns. This marks the first time in Packers history that a duo of backs has achieved those numbers.

Aaron Jones: 81 carries 448 yards, four touchdowns

Jamaal Williams: 153 carries, 556 yards, four touchdowns

Everything they affect

There is so much that these two backs bring to the table. With Aaron Rodgers back healthy in 2018, you can expect the passing to be deadly.

But with the threat of these running backs always present, it opens up the playbook so much. The play-action pass should be more effective, and their running ability will noticeably reduce the amount of work Rodgers will have to do.

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It is not beyond possible to think that Green Bay’s offense could average more than 100 yards rushing a game this season. Couple that with the elite group of WRs and Jimmy Graham, and this offense could be unlike anything we have seen before.