Every party has its pooper. I submit to you that the Packers are trending downward. This shouldn’t be happening, but instead of the rookie head coach picking up steam, maximizing his players’ talents, and learning from his mistakes, LaFleur’s coaching has become both inconsistent and non-innovative.
Let’s Take Turns
We’ve seen this coming, but on Sunday Coach Matt LaFleur fully implemented his equal opportunity employment philosophy: my running backs are co-equal, so I’ll just switch back and forth on each offensive possession. So, in LaFleur’s mind, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones are indistinguishable. Interchangeable. Equivalent. Either or.
Let me ask this: when contract time comes up, in a year, on our tandem of running backs, who thinks Jamaal and Aaron will receive commensurate deals?
Here’s how LaFleur’s take-turns scheme unfolded on Sunday.
On Drive 1, Aaron got one carry for nine yards, Hampered by a false start penalty, the Pack quickly went three and out.
Since he only got one play, the coach apparently allowed Jones to stay on the field for Drive 2, which was a beauty: seven plays, 75 yards, 3:43 time consumed, and capped off with a 5-yard TD run by Jones, who had three carries for 10 yards. The key plays were passes to Lazard, Adams, and Kumerow for 19, 15, and 11 yards respectively.
Drive 3 came with a minute or so left in the first quarter – when LaFleur replaced Jones with Jamaal Williams. Due to an offensive pass interference by Lazard, however, it was another quick three and out.
With good starting field position, and Jones getting his next turn on the team’s fourth offensive drive, the Pack marched 52 yards in five plays, and capped it off with another Jones touchdown burst. Jones contributed but six yards in three carries on this one.
With 5:07 remaining in the half, it was Jamaal’s turn. The ensuing 13-play drive featured a little bit of everything: a Jimmy Graham TD pass reversed by the officials, seven rushes for 14 yards by Williams, and also a false start by him on a first down and two to go with 19 seconds left. Instead of an 11-point lead, the Packers were up at the half by only a 14-10 margin.
The third quarter began with Jones on the field for Drive 5, a 5-play dandy resulting in a 13-yard TD run up the middle – Aaron’s third score of the day. His sole catch of the day, for 16 yards, was nullified by a holding penalty.
Following Tramon’ Williams’ end zone interception, Drive 6 commenced on the 19-yard line. Williams had the honors, leading 11 plays later to a 51-yard field goal by Crosby. In some of Williams’ best work as a Packer, Jamaal reeled off consecutive runs of 15, 10, and 16 yards. The score was now 24 to 10.
The Panthers responded with a 10-play TD drive of their own, making it a seven-point game with 12 minutes to go. Drive 7 started off with a bang, nine- and 13-yard rambles by Jones, but then three pass attempts for four yards resulted in a punt.
Carolina punted the ball back after five plays, leading to the Pack’s seventh and final offensive possession. With Jones getting but five yards on two carries, the Packers punted the ball back. Second-year quarterback Kyle Allen then shocked the crowd with an 18-play drive to the Packers’ 2-yard line – consuming only 2:25 on the clock. As time expired, the final plunge by Christian McCaffrey ended inches short of the goal line.
How cockamamie is LaFleur’s platooning strategy? Let’s go back to the end of the first half. On October 31 – following the victory over the Chiefs courtesy of Aaron Jones – I published my own succinct philosophy about the team’s use of running backs:
“Yes, [Aaron Jones is] still being under-worked in my opinion. Whenever this team is near the opponent’s goal line Jones needs to be on the field. And whenever the Pack reaches the red zone. And whenever the team gets to third down. These should be no-brainers.”
It’s apparent to me that Jones, tied with McCaffrey as the league’s most prolific touchdown producer, should have been the running back at least when the Packers reached the red zone, and for sure as they neared the goal line. I can’t guarantee you that would have produced a touchdown, but it’s likely: the percentages clearly favor such a result. Good head coaches should be basing their personnel decisions on something other than flipping a coin to see whose turn it is to be put in the backfield.
On rare occasions, I’ve witnessed such platooning before, but it certainly has never caught on. Is this LaFleur’s idea of creative innovation?
No, I don’t think I know more about the game, or these players, than does the head coach. I’m not asking him to heed my advice, or even to follow what is the clear consensus of Packer Nation. I’m just asking him to listen to his own statements. We’ve been down this road too many times already in LaFleur’s 10-game head-coaching career.
LaFleur, from all observations, didn’t think Jones was anything special through the first four games of the season. His Game 2 production in the important Vikings win (23 runs for 116 yards, 4 catches for 34) must not have impressed the coach, as Jones in the next two games only got the ball 10 times against Denver and 13 times in the loss to the Eagles.
Next up was Dallas, in Game 5. Jones led the team to a road victory with 19 runs for 107 yards, and 7 catches for 75 more. So what happens in the next two games? Aaron gets 11 and 12 carries, for 47 and 50 yards.
Game 8 had to be the awakener for Coach LaFleur, right? Against the Chiefs, Aaron goes for 67 yards in 13 carries, and he also catches 7 balls for 159 yards – this was the first time in two-and-a-half years that Aaron’s receiving ability has truly been recognized and utilized. What does LaFleur do with this new-found receiving prowess? In the two games since, Aaron has one catch, for a loss of a yard. The inconsistency of LaFleur’s game planning and play calling has become mind-boggling.
You’ll probably also remember that it was Jones who ran out the clock against the Chiefs, with five consecutive runs accounting for two game-sealing first downs. This was also the “Let’s give it to Jonesy” moment, when LaFleur gambled by passing on third down. The recipient of that game-saving pass was once again Aaron Jones.
I’m left to ponder whether LaFleur has severe memory loss, whether he just doesn’t have the smarts to process a plethora of information and data, or what else is going on that causes him to slight one of the league’s premier running backs and game-changers. True to his egalitarian feelings, our play caller parceled out 13 carries each to Jones and Williams against the Panthers.
Speaking of top RBs, here’s how the league’s top four rushers (in order) fared in their most recent outings: Dalvin Cook, 26 carries, 97 yards (and 7 catches for 86 more); Christian McCaffrey, 20 carries, 108 (and 6 catches for 33); Nick Chubb, 20 for 116; and, Derrick Henry, 23 for 188. The average carries for the foursome: 22.25.
Funny, but I don’t yet see the Minnesota, Carolina, Cleveland, or Tennessee coaches adopting LaFleur’s brilliant platooning strategy. The Vikings’ Dalvin Cook has already carried the ball 68 more times than Aaron.
We Need Action, Not Talk
After the Vikings and the Cowboys games, Matt LaFleur effusively praised Aaron Jones. After the Chiefs’ game, LaFleur actually got apologetic over his light usage of Jones. But in the aftermaths of all three of these great wins, LaFleur has made no visible effort to take proper advantage of Aaron’s skills.
After the Carolina win, both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams indicated that Aaron Jones should be in the conversation for league MVP. But how can that occur, when Aaron has been handed the ball 13 or fewer times in eight of the team’s 10 games to date?
Even a fuddy-duddy aging coach like Mike Zimmer gets it. In their great win against the Cowboys, not only did he and his coaches have Dalvin Cook handle the ball 26 times, but Cook also snared seven passes for an additional 86 yards. Cook, who has already caught more passes than he did all of last year, is being fully utilized. If the Packers don’t fight fire with fire, Cook and the Vikings are going to crush Green Bay on December 23.
I’m tapped out from all our head coach’s empty platitudes. I’ve decided to no longer pay attention to what LaFleur has to say to the press. Sorry, but I don’t find Matt LaFleur credible at this point.
Coach, instead of repeatedly telling us how great Aaron Jones is, how about showing us? You can do this by calling his number, say, 20 times per game, not 13 or so. You can make sure he’s on the field in critical offensive situations. And you can start targeting your tandem of Jones and Williams with eight to 10 passes per contest, not the one target and zero catches we witnessed on Sunday.
Or, you can continue to mimic Mike McCarthy – and see what that does for your career.
The Packers had everything going for them on Sunday: home field, favorable weather, great incentive to bounce back from the Chargers fiasco, about to enter the bye week, facing an undrafted second-year quarterback with just a few NFL starts, and with the Packers’ roster experiencing extraordinarily good health. This game shouldn’t have come down to seconds and inches.
Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with you. This is about Jones still being fairly fresh at the end of the year. Running backs are getting a lot of usage in this offense, and they will be important in January. Their running styles are different and will be effective in different situations. There have been several examples of running backs being heavily used and then their productivity nosediving. Jamaal Williams actually is averaging more yards per carry than Jones. He also happens to lead the team in TD receptions. Sorry, but I think think you are way off base here.
I’m midway between Rob and Kato. I think Jones should be used more, but not too much more–not Cook/McCaffrey more. This platoon is keeping him fresh, and he looks really healthy out there.
But yeah, I’d use him more than we have, especially in the passing game.
Cook/McCaffrey seem pretty fresh to me!!!
Rob, I think you hit it on the head when you use the Chiefs game as an example of how Jones should be used. What would you say if I told you that after the Chiefs game Jones has shown up on the injury report with a shoulder? Jones was limited in practice with the shoulder for 2 of the 3 report days prior to the Chargers game. Jones also showed up on the injury report with the shoulder in week 10 of the Carolina game. The injury reports did indicate Jones was a full practice participant in week 10 practices.
We do not know how bad Jones shoulder is. My guess is it is not major, something nagging, but could get worse if not addressed. As a running back you are going to take hits on the shoulder.
I think you as much as anyone would acknowledge that LaFleur, the training staff, and medical staff have done a good if not great job of keeping players on the field. When you look at the weekly injury reports you see a long list. You also, for the most part see those players get in the game. However, many times the players who are limited in practice, or have just come off a prior limited week of practice appear to have their snap counts reduced or monitored by rolling in other players for some snaps.
I think Kato is correct about keeping Jones fresh. I also believe Jones did come out of the Chiefs game with a shoulder issue that LaFleur and the Packers staff do not want to see get worse, so they limit snaps.
Damn, I only read snippets….but damn….lol.
We all love Aaron Jones and he’s been effective in finding alternate ways to win in absence of a proven receiving core.
but lets not get it twisted about being in the MVP conversation. Nobody outside the City limits of Green Bay thinks he’s in that conversation, at least no one that matters. Yea, at times he could have been used more, which LeFleur admitted. Give the man credit, how many times did McGravy admit anything. Kato is right, these 2 backs bring a different skill set. IMO…they complement each other and are both valuable. Also, it looks like for the first time, Jones might make it through the whole season without significant injury.
I don’t see a problem with judging a first year head coach, but, will he make mistakes? (Gee, idk). Is there a learning curve? (idk, but i’m going to guess there is).
Big picture time……This team is what?…..8-2? Are you kidding me with this shit? (Respectfully)
I’ve been saying that we need to give jones the ball more since halfway through his rookie season. That being said…. he’s not built to be a work horse back, and he has shown signs of being slightly injury prone. As long as he’s getting 15 touches a game, and able to impact. That’s fine by me.
Good points being made all around. The ability of Jones to withstand the rigors of the game seems to be on the minds of many Packers fans. Though it’s difficult to predict injuries, Jones has such a unique running style that I seldom see him make a reckless move or take a violent hit. McCaffrey, on the other hand, recklessly launches himself into fray after fray – but has yet to miss an NFL game. Most workhorse RBs are subject to injury – goes with the territory. Dalvin Cook had ACL surgery and missed 12 games in his rookie year. Eddie Lacy’s ankles couldn’t bear the stress/weight. I don’t think getting lots of carries makes one more susceptible to injury on any given play, though playing when already nursing an injury can be counter-productive (Lacy again). Keeping Jones “fresh” is an argument often heard. But then why do so many other coaches subject their star RBs to 20+ carries game after game and year after year? Most of the game’s all-time great runners (Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson, Jerome Bettis, Eric Dickerson, Jim Brown, Jim Taylor) were high-carry guys, but they also enjoyed lengthy careers. While Aaron has an injury history, I think he’s very well-built and compact – he’s a pretty tough cookie. Injury risk is a fact of life in the NFL.
I wonder how Bill Bellichick would respond to your argument. He has increased the number of packages he has at his disposal by using multiple running backs, Not a bad idea to emulate a master. I wish that Matt had followed Lombardi’s ways by kicking a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down at the end of the first half.
I agree with that first assessment, more teams us running backs by committee than not.
As far as kicking the field goal, i didn’t have a problem with that mindset of touchdown or bust, we had 8 chances within the 20, and i’m guessing 4 tries inside the 5. The problem isn’t the mindset, the problem is with the offense. Can’t Jimmy high point a pass being 6’7″? Adams can’t get open? The O-line can’t get us 2 yards? Rodgers can’t roll out and throw a pass or run it in? If you have Aaron Rodgers, our running and receiving backs, Adams, and a 6’7″ tight end making 10 million, a new offensive innovator for a coach, and you can’t get home on 8 tries. Good luck in the playoffs.
I heard a report on the radio today that said, Jim Brown,Barry Sanders and one other great that I can’ t recall, laughed when they were asked if limiting their snaps to preserve their bodies was something they would have gone for, when they were playing
I can easily think of 2 or 3 backs, who have carried the ball 1,500-2,000 more times than Jim Brown. So maybe it’s easier to laugh when you took so many less hits.
Maybe it’s easier to laugh when you’re tougher than fuck. You can think of a whole 2 or 3 backs that carried it 2000 more times. You’re a stats wizard I can tell.
There are a shitload of backs with more carries than Brown, should i have listed them all to make you happy? Stop sniveling…. I picked 2 off the top of my head to make a point, 1,500-2,000 is a ton of hits. Especially when you consider modern day athletes are much faster and stronger and aren’t smoking cigarettes on the sideline.
It does make perfect sense to use his backs as he sees fit. Large victories, do not factor well in playoff situations. Sharing the workload keeps both of these backs at the top of their game. It’s going to be nice, having them both on the field in the upcoming playoff games. With each carry of the football, also is there a risk of injury. With the Vikings subjecting Cooks to 30 more carries than Jones, they are also placing their playoff hopes in jeopardy. The object of the game is to win, and further still to win the big game. Some of the more elite teams, may even sacrifice a game or two, in order to increase the odds of winning the big one. So if Zimmer would like to ram Cooks into a wall 30 more times than LaFleur chooses to use his back/s in this fashion, then let him. He hasn’t put a team in the big game yet, nor is he likely to in the near future. Cooks will be of little to no help to his team, sitting on the sidelines all busted up, while other backs eventually have just as many carries, and some bling to wear on their fingers.
When you mention the queens, and putting one of their teams in the “big game”. You gots to go back some time. the year 1976 is ringing a bell though. I think the Model T was Motor trends car of the year then.
S.A., like Rob you need to research better. The Vikings back up running back (Alexander Mattison) actually takes more carries per game than does the Packers #2 RB (Jamaal Williams). The Vikings do run the ball much more successfully than the Packers and, as a result, do have more overall carries. But more carries is a good thing and obviously protects your QB better from hits by having fewer pass attempts.
The false image you and Rob construct of the Vikings overusing Cook is just exactly that. False.
R E L A X……
I was watching one of the talking heads (forget which one) but they said the chargers keyed on aaron jones in the pass game and really screwed the pack up by doing so.
In the last game the weather turned awful and William’s was a good call to grind some runs out.
My biggest takeaway from the game is the defense has morphed in to complete shit. They let scrub Kyle Allen look like an all pro qb and greg Olsen look like he was still running routes at miami.
I almost think…if Jimmy Graham had the opportunity to line up against this d he could still threaten to set career single game marks… despite his physical limitations.
Are we ready for the george kittle show? I’m sure as fuck not.
Not sure Kittle will play against the Packers. I would say questionable at best right now. They already ruled him out for this week. The fact that he didn’t play last week, and has been ruled out this week already tells me this is likely an MCL injury. Probably a four week injury. Still will possibly deal with him in the playoffs though
To me, Jamaal Williams has earned touches. He has been the most improved Packer on the offensive side of the ball, he has benefited a lot from LaFleur’s offense. I think his YPC is much higher in this offense than his career average, and he just seems more comfortable and natural than he did before. Jones is actually averaging fewer yards per carry than his career average going into the season. Not that it is bad, 4.4 is still pretty solid. This is a good problem the Packers have in my opinion. They have 260 touches between them for 1400 yards and 20 TDs. Through 10 games. That is damn good production. I think LaFleur has done a good job of identifying the personnel he has and running the offense through his best skill position players, which happen to be Jones, Williams, and Adams. I couldn’t imagine McCarthy trying to force this offense to succeed through the receiver position. If there is one thing I would like to see from this offense, it would be seeing more touches for Vitale. But I don’t see practice everyday, maybe he shouldn’t. I trust the offensive coaching staff here
L O FUCKIN L
I knew this day would come eventually. Can you hear it now? It’s coming..
Welcome to the Total TMZ Packers circle jerk of stupidity.
See what happens when you don’t get help Lonely Boy? If you find yourself crying yourself to sleep at night like this poor soul, maybe it’s time.
??? What the????
Cut down on the psychedelic mushrooms Piffle. You’re seeing me at night when you get up to pee aren’t you?
Why are you watching him pee at night, ya weirdo? I thought tethers were supposed to notify the authorities when you cross state lines…
Agree with most commenters. Remember we are getting into cold weather. Sharing the workload will be critical as the weather gets colder and colder. Jamaal always seemed to be the workhorse type, hell wear you down until he breaks through. Aaron seemed more the sproles type, hard to bring down and shifty as hell but not a barrel through big guys type of runner.
In other news….The Smith brothers aren’t the only ones making a living sacking QB’s.
Our own Mike Daniels tallied a sack for the Detroit Lions against the Bears. Somebody on the Bears offensive line must have had a plan in defending Daniels. Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth.
Along with his recent sack, Daniels has rewarded the Lions for his 9.1 million dollar contract with an additional 2 solo tackles.
While Daniels expressed how glad he was to be out of Green Bay, i’m guessing the Lions wish he would have stayed in Green Bay.
I remember a time when Daniels was great, Like the last time he had a forced fumble…back in 2017. The second FF of his career.
9.1 million dollars?…..Only in America.
I guess Russ Ball isn’t the only one. if you want to negotiate a wealthy contract with Russ Ball, You had better get up pretty damn early in the morning and pack a lunch, if you want to make your 8:00 am tee time and don’t want to eat golf course food..
Daniels has achieved those gaudy stats in a mere 86 snaps. Wish the packers could get that kinda production….
that being said i think his foot is just fucked but man he fell off a cliff fast.
That gives Daniels 3 sacks in the last 2 seasons. 2 of those sacks are against the bears, Everyone gets sacks against the bears. In Madden, my 87 year old grandmother got a sack on the bears.
Daniels has almost as many sacks as Kenny Clark in about one seventh the number of plays. Daniels was #5 in interior pressures last year in the entire NFL.
He’s injured and has been most the year Piffle. Wake up.
What will you compare next? How Rodgers has more passing yards than Ben Roethlisberger this year? How Kareem Hunt isn’t nearly as good as Jamaal Williams because Williams has more rushing yards?
1) I didn’t put a nickle in you.
2) I wasn’t comparing. Reading is one thing, comprehending what you are reading is another matter entirely. If your sickness is going to keep you here where your clearly not wanted. Please have someone explain to you, what you are reading.
3) Thank you for understanding
In the redzone it should be Aaron Jones. Still, I hope to have a fresh Aaron Jones for a deep playoff push.
In the red zone it should be anyone who can get the job done. I don’t care if it’s Jimmy, Jones, Williams, Adams, Lewis, MVS, Allison, whoever. Just no more 8 and outs….please
My .02 on the Garrett scuffle with Rudolph. It’s a no brainer Garrett shouldn’t play another snap this season, maybe even sit out some of next season. Some may argue he should be arrested for assault and i don’t disagree.
Maurkice Pouncey could also face discipline in that ordeal for punches and kicks on Garrett. I don’t like the Pounceys, ever since they wore the “Free Hernandez” hats. But….Pouncey fought back for his teammate and i’m good with that.
Same. I cannot even believe people are defending Garrett because “Rudolph started it”, it’s insane. I am getting brain tumors just reading it. I tell these people, if you saw your son on a football field getting a football helmet swung at his unprotected head, how would you react? Or, if this is about “getting what you deserve”, if your two sons are arguing, one shoves his brother, and the other retaliates by shoving his sibling off a 10 foot balcony that could have resulted in a terrible injury, do you not punish your son for “giving his brother what he deserves.”
He did start it, Rudolph isn’t clean here. but regardless, Garrett went way over the line. It’s the hood mentality.
Bill Micheals was saying that it was totally out of character for Garrett to act out like that. Maybe i’m wrong and i didn’t look it up, but didn’t Garrett get fined for punching someone? If true, i don’t know how “out of character” it was.
Kudos to the NFL for the quick reaction. Not having to run through multi-level meetings, or putting it in front of a focus group of 25 housewifes. This one wasn’t hard.
Last thoughts…..Is this the nail in Kitchens coffin? And …will they fire him before the season is over to name McCarthy coach, or wait until Black Monday?
Then there is this….Myles Garrett will appeal (good luck with that) his punishment by the NFL with the backing of the NFLPA,
Keep in mind that part of the responsibilities of the NFLPA are to make sure their players are safe. Ironic isn’t it?
Now….is Damarius Randall next?
Lol. I always thought it was interesting that the players association backs players up in appeals when the infraction involves the safety of others in the association.
Ah yes, former Packers great Damarious Randall, lovely hit to the earhole of a defenseless receiver, resulting in him bleeding out of his ears. Hopefully he is banned the rest of the year, but it’s doubtful because this might be his first offense.
I gotta imagine Kitchens time in Cleveland is up, or will end at the end of the season. Even when the win, there is a lot of undisciplined play, which can sink a team a hell of a lot faster than sparse talent.
“I want to apologize to Mason Rudolph, my teammates, our entire organization, our fans and to the NFL. I know i have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake and i fully intend to do so. – Myles Garrett
That sounds like it’s coming from Garrett’s heart, not written by his agent. What a genuine sincere apology, now…… good luck with that appeal.
I hope he does, because that would suck for him to piss away the talent he has because he is a dirty piece of shit. If this was a packer, I would be losing my mind
Here to give the Vikings fan perspective!
A couple things. It is smart to keep your best players fresh and injury free. For the playoffs. This is the Kyle Shanahan way which is what the Packers signed up for by hiring Lafleur. Look at the 49ers, 3 RBs splitting carries. 15th, 20th, and 41st in yards per game. Aaron Jones is 16th and averages .6 yards per carry less than the 49ers Breida. Which brings me to this: No, Aaron Jones does not deserve consideration for League MVP. Are you sh#tting me?
You made this statement: “I don’t yet see the Minnesota, Carolina, Cleveland, or Tennessee coaches adopting LaFleur’s brilliant platooning strategy. The Vikings’ Dalvin Cook has already carried the ball 68 more times than Aaron.” Minnesota absolutely platoons. Alexander Mattison actually averages 7.9 carries per game as opposed to Jamaal Williams’ 7.2 per game so you could argue the Vikings platoon MORE than the Packers. While Cook does have 68 more carries, that works out to 6.8 more carries per game and the Vikings run the ball much better and much more than the Packers. Basically, the Vikings run 8.3 more times per game and Cook gets 6.8 of those extra carries.
Look at the Broncos. A real good running team despite a poor offensive line. They have the #13 and the #32 RBs by yards per game — Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman vs. the Packers #16 and #46. Soooo… Phillip Lindsay should be ahead of Aaron Jones in MVP consideration?
There is no doubt, with Cook being healthy all year, all those Mattison carries could have been his and he’d have 389 more yards rushing and would be entirely blowing away the rushing title and maybe MVP as well. But each carry risks injury and cumulatively wears down the runner — then they are not available or 100% in critical games and the play-offs.
Platooning is about putting the team goals before the individual goals.
Who keeps putting a nickle in him?
Here ya go Rob, according to ESPN
“In 180 snaps with him on the field and Williams on the sideline, the Packers have averaged 0.22 EPA per play, which would make them the best offense in football on a play-by-play basis. In 127 snaps with Williams on the field and Jones sitting out, though, the Packers have actually been a net negative on offense at -0.05 EPA per play, which is the equivalent of the 2019 Giants, who rank 25th in expected points added.”
I wonder if part of what makes Jones effective is limiting his touches? It is interesting that advanced analytics point toward a Packers offense with Jones on the field is the best in the NFL
-0.o5 EPA per play….WOW. why haven’t i seen that in the box score? Holy shit.