The Packers should rest Aaron Jones this week to make sure he’s fully recovered from a calf injury.
Jones missed practice on Thursday. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Jones has a “very mild calf strain” which he suffered in practice and he’ll be a game-time decision on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
Well, Coach LaFleur, I’m making that decision for you. Sit Jones this week.
I get it. Jones is a superstar and so important to this offense. If his injury is minor and he feels OK, why not let him play?
The Packers tend to be cautious with rushing players back from injury, and that’s the correct way to go. They should do the same with Jones. Why risk making his calf injury worse? A significant calf strain could keep him out for multiple weeks.
Aaron Rodgers played through a calf injury in 2014 and it limited him for many weeks. As he attempted to play through the pain, he re-aggravated the injury in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions causing him to miss a couple of series, and even a bye week in the playoffs wasn’t enough for him to be at 100 percent the rest of the way.
And Rodgers is a quarterback. A calf injury could limit a running back as explosive as Jones even more.
That’s not to say Jones’ injury is anywhere close to as serious. The fact Pelissero described it as “very mild” is good news, as is the fact he could still play this week. But the point here is that even if his calf feels good enough to play this week, the fact he’s below 100 percent means there’s additional risk the injury could be worsened. All of a sudden, a minor injury becomes a nightmare scenario for the Packers.
Also, this is one of the benefits of having a deep backfield. The Packers can get by without Jones for a game. Jamaal Williams is a fine backup who can play on all three downs like Jones, while rookie AJ Dillon has impressed in limited action, averaging five yards per carry.
And it’s a great matchup for Green Bay.
Houston’s defense ranks bottom in the league against the run with the unit giving up 177.5 yards per game on the ground. A combination of Williams and Dillon will give this defense plenty to worry about. And after watching the Texans’ attempt at tackling Derrick Henry last week, giving Dillon more opportunities isn’t such a bad idea anyway.
The good news is that Jones’ injury is minor. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Jones is confident he can play after feeling tightness in his calf on Thursday.
However, the Packers’ medical staff are often cautious. It’s the right approach to take and they should do the same with Jones.