Packers positives and negatives: Aaron Jones dominates in Week 5

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 06: Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 06: Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Aaron Jones’ dominant performance leads the way in the positives and negatives column for Week 5.

The Packers won a bizarre game in Dallas over the weekend to improve to 4-1.

Here are some positives and negatives from the win.

Positive: Aaron Jones

The former UTEP running back was nothing short special against the Cowboys. Four rushing touchdowns and countless big first downs both on the ground and through the air earned him the game ball against the Cowboys. The biggest thing about Jones’ performance however, was that it may have provided the Packers with enough confidence to give Jones the ball again more and more over the course of the season.

Jones provided so much balance to an offense that needed it. Aaron Rodgers and the passing offense had a solid game, but didn’t win it by themselves as they nearly did against the Eagles. Jones and the offensive line did a great job punishing the Cowboys’ front and consistently putting a good Dallas defense on its heels.

Negative: Kenny Clark

Kenny Clark said his team got punched in the mouth by the Eagles and was excited to see how his group responded. While Ezekiel Elliott didn’t have a particularly amazing day, Clark’s personal response was to stick out his chin and paint a giant target on it for the Dallas offensive line.

Once again, like clockwork, Clark was completely manhandled in the running game. For all the praise Clark has received as a potentially rising star, he’s among the league’s worst interior run defenders.

It would be one thing if opposing offensive lines simply double- and triple-teamed Clark repeatedly, but they are just lining up and winning the one-on-one matchups. The Packers cannot trust Clark to be the anchor of the defensive line, and are relying way too much on Montravius Adams and Dean Lowry to shore up one of the league’s poorest run resistances.

Positive: Elgton Jenkins

Elgton Jenkins had himself a day in Week 5. Time and again Jenkins was at the second level of the defense, repeatedly taking on linebackers and even safeties. Aaron Jones’ huge day would not have been as productive without Jenkins’ surprising athleticism and tremendous blocking chops. The Packers may have found themselves a good one in the second round of this year’s draft.

The offensive line is still figuring out exactly how good Billy Turner is, but the other guard position is set. Jenkins might well be one of the best guards in the NFL in a short period of time. Part of what is so encouraging is that for the first time in years, the Packers might have a dominant run blocker on their interior offensive line. Jenkins is a name to watch as the season progresses.

Negative: Jaire Alexander

The second-year defensive back made some nice plays against a talented group of receivers, but Amari Cooper dominated the former Louisville star wire to wire. The Packers may have assumed that Alexander was among the league’s elite cornerbacks just a bit too soon, as he was overwhelmed and overmatched by Cooper.

Perhaps this will be a humbling moment for a player with all the talent in the world. Before he is crowned as a true superstar, he will have to be better against the top competition. There is no need to panic after Alexander’s disappointing Week 5, but it is worth taking a step back and understanding that Alexander still has a lot to prove.

Positive: Matt LaFleur

Matt LaFleur has very quietly been doing a damn good job at the helm of the Packers. Setting aside how impressive it was to saunter into Soldier Field on opening night and take down the mighty Bears, LaFleur has shown his ability to make week-to-week improvements that Mike McCarthy was so poor at doing.

Davante Adams wasn’t targeted nearly enough against both the Vikings and Broncos. In Week 4 against the Eagles, LaFleur and Nathaniel Hackett schemed him open constantly in the first half. The problem in that game was the poor rushing offense and the over-reliance on Aaron Rodgers.

Against the Cowboys, it was obvious from the first snap that the Packers coaching staff had spent the 10 days working on improving the running game, and did they ever. If the season were to end today, LaFleur could be named coach of the year.

Negative: Receiving corps

GM Brian Gutekunst needs to be thinking hard about trading for a veteran wide receiver. While scoring 34 points against a good defense without Davante Adams is great, it is obvious that the team is going to need more help at the position as the season wanes.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was quiet all day, and Darrius Shepherd and Jake Kumerow just can’t provide much of anything this season at least.

The training camp injury to Equanimeous St. Brown has certainly complicated matters, but some veteran names should be on Gutekunst’s speed dial. Robby Anderson, Emmanuel Sanders, A.J. Green and Paul Richardson should all be considerations for the Packers before the trade deadline.

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The team also has extra draft capital to play with, as they received late-round draft picks for Trevor Davis, Reggie Gilbert, and Ty Montgomery. Unless one of those young guns makes a drastic improvement within the next couple of weeks, the Packers need to go get some help on the boundary.