Packers likely without top three running backs vs. 49ers

Green Bay Packers, Jamaal Williams (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jamaal Williams (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Packers could be without their top three running backs in Week 9.

The Green Bay Packers enter one of the biggest games of the season on Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers, but will likely need to do so without their top three running backs.

Both Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon have already been ruled out, and it looks unlikely Aaron Jones will be ready to return.

Dillon was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Williams and inside linebacker Kamal Martin were “designated high-risk close contacts” which means they need to isolate for five days, ruling them both out for Thursday’s game.

Jones has missed the Packers’ past two games due to a calf injury. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, there is “pessimism” that Jones will be ready to make his return against the 49ers.

So, this means the Packers, who have one of the deepest backfields in football, will be thin at running back.

What does this mean for Thursday night’s game?

Unless the Packers sign a free agent running back which, considering there are just a couple of days to go until the game seems highly unlikely, they will have to go with Dexter Williams and Tyler Ervin in the backfield.

Realistically, Matt LaFleur will likely need to turn to the short passing game as a replacement for the run game.

Being without Jones and Williams hurts this offense not just because of their talent running the football but also their work in the passing game.

Both teams will be without key starters on both sides of the ball, which should make for an interesting game.

Without their top three backs, LaFleur will need to be creative to ensure the offense can remain balanced against a talented 49ers defense.