Jamaal Williams Remains Reliable Entering Contract Season

Don't forget about Jamaal Williams and what he brings to the offense. 

After Aaron Jones put the NFL on notice with his 23-touchdown season and the Packers drafted bruising running back A.J. Dillon out of Boston College in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, it made sense that Jamaal Williams kind of became the forgotten man in the Green Bay backfield.

I’m here to tell you why that absolutely cannot and should not be the case this year, despite both Williams and Jones entering contract seasons. I’ve been a huge Williams fan since his draft selection in 2017, and while he’s never put up gaudy statistics like his counterpart Jones has, he’s proven to be a reliable force both in short yardage situations and as a threat in the receiving game. 

During his rookie season in 2017, Williams put up some impressive numbers with none other than quarterback Brett Hundley under center. Against the Steelers, Williams had 135 total yards, one rushing touchdown, and one receiving touchdown. The following week against the Buccaneers, Williams had the first of only two 100-yard rushing games in his career going for 113 yards rushing (and three receiving) and one touchdown. Against the Browns the next week, he had 118 total yards with one receiving touchdown and one rushing touchdown. That’s five touchdowns and 369 yards in a three-week span. 

Williams ended the 2017 season starting seven games, rushing for 556 yards with four touchdowns, and 262 receiving yards with two touchdowns. He also played on 42% of offensive snaps and 15% of special teams snaps. To wrap up his rookie season, he had a catch percentage of 73.5%. 

In 2018, Williams’ played 49% of offensive snaps and started eight games for the Packers. He had 464 yards rushing with three touchdowns, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. He hauled in 27 receptions for 210 yards with no additional touchdowns and had a catch percentage of 65.9%. 2018 was his lowest scrimmage yardage total with 674, despite the increase in playing time. 

Then came 2019 where Williams put up some sneaky good numbers behind Jones in the backfield. For starters, Williams tied Davante Adams for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with five. Williams started only two games for the Packers but led the team by a significant margin with a catch percentage of 86.7%. He was targeted 45 times and made 39 receptions for 253 yards. Despite playing his fewest snaps on offense with only 35%, he still added 460 yards and one touchdown on the ground, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.

Williams is at his best as a change of pace back, and while his numbers won’t leap off the page like Jones’ might, he’s as reliable as they come as both a pass blocker and a pass-catching back. When given his opportunities, Williams has proven to be a dependable option regardless of who’s throwing or handing him the football. 

We know Jones will be the bell cow once again going into 2020, and Dillon wasn’t drafted to sit, but we could see Williams’ best season yet statistically if his role increases in certain packages. With three talented running backs on the roster, we should see more 21 personnel from the Packers this season (two running backs on the field at once). 

Head Coach Matt LaFleur had emphasized the need for his team to have three talented running backs even before the combine. The Packers only played in 21 personnel 12% of the time (132 snaps) in 2019, and with the stable of Jones, Williams, and Dillon, that number should go up. Green Bay spent this past offseason adding pieces to the roster that will allow LaFleur to run his preferred style of offense, and that aligns really well with the skillset Jamaal Williams brings to the roster. 

 

----------------------------

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV, podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said, and hosts a weekly live show called Happy Hour through Game On Wisconsin. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

NFL Categories: 
6 points

Comments (18)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

July 07, 2020 at 02:08 pm

Fresh Legs go along way. Good Atitude, Hangs on to the Ball, good receiver, runs hard, plenty of snaps. Thats not someone you have to make a case for. The Packers need him. But how badly do they WANT HIM? The running game has changed. Scheme has come to Green Bay. And with it; players that create mismatches. Confusion! Things that Change a game in a second. And pressure the defense into mistakes. Williams is a good back. But he must do what LeFluer wants. If Williams can make the most of his chances. The packers won't think twice about giving him opportunities. Williams is still in a good position.

+ REPLY
11 points
11
0
gkarl's picture

July 07, 2020 at 02:44 pm

Good analysis of what Jamaal bring to the table for the GBP. Who knows what will happen in the future he could very well earn a second contract in GB, best of luck to him in 2020 and beyond, he seems to be a quality person and teammate.

+ REPLY
8 points
9
1
nostradanus's picture

July 07, 2020 at 05:56 pm

“Spongebob” Williams is by far the best interview in the locker room!
He is a Helluva player and one of the all time Packer characters and dancers.
I hope they find a way to keep him.

+ REPLY
4 points
7
3
Guynorge's picture

July 07, 2020 at 06:33 pm

My question is this. If they play more 21 (2 backs) and one is Jones, would they/could they motion him sometimes into the slot? If so, that would seem to give more opportunities for Williams/Dillon and create confusion in the defense.

+ REPLY
5 points
6
1
Guynorge's picture

July 08, 2020 at 05:42 pm

A Bare’s fan downvoted me?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PDX_Packfan's picture

July 07, 2020 at 06:34 pm

This post is right on. Williams is a really underrated receiving threat. Our backfield stable with Dillon should be top 5 stuff at worst.

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
packerbacker-53's picture

July 07, 2020 at 06:38 pm

Williams is solid, Jonesie is solid, Adams is a top tier, The Rodge--well you know, and that's the offensive threats we have. TE is a mystery, remaining WRs a mystery, 2nd year coach a mystery, 3rd year GM a huge mystery, but the offense did NOT cost us the championship game against San Fran. The defense did. 10 seasons since a superbowl and a top 10 defense and they still don't have one. Offense was never the issue. I don't have a problem with not drafting a WR because it takes 2-3 years to develop them generally, and while the defense improved in certain areas it still lacks toughness and consistency overall. Fix it and win the SB. The Rodge and the offense will do what they always do.

+ REPLY
-3 points
1
4
Oppy's picture

July 09, 2020 at 07:53 am

Don't be an offensive apologizer.

The offense was atrocious in that game, too. If the Packers can sustain drives and score some points, it changes the entire complexion of the game.

The defense couldn't stop the run, no question. But if the offense responds with points and keeps a close game, it's highly unlikely the 9ers can afford to keep it on the ground all game long, either.

Enough of a difference to win the game? I don't know. But I'm tired of people giving a free pass to the Aaron Rodgers led offense that can only fail because of the defense. It is willfully ignorant.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

July 09, 2020 at 06:59 pm

Double post deleted.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
taarons420's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:04 pm

There are dozens of "Williamses" in the NFL.
Seems like a good guy.
His next team will be glad to have him.

+ REPLY
-6 points
1
7
Stroh's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:35 pm

Williams is the epitome of JAG. Just A Guy. Only thing he does well is pass blocking. He has no elusiveness. Just a plow horse type. Good backup but won't get a 2nd contract in GB. Might get a bit over vets minimum in FA.

+ REPLY
-1 points
4
5
Oppy's picture

July 09, 2020 at 08:07 am

Williams over his short time in GB has made the most of his opportunities and was reliable to move the sticks on 3rd down. He may not be an all-pro, but he runs the ball well on the inside and out, knows how to let a play develop, and has proven he can be a threat out of the backfield as a receiver.

Just because a back doesn't spin move and juke like barry sanders doesn't mean he has no elusiveness. Look again; Williams does the little things that net him the extra yards. He's more than a JAG. Not flashy, but He's a sound back.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Stroh's picture

July 10, 2020 at 12:47 am

I don't care about spin moves or being Sanders-esque. Williams is a nice enough backup for sure. But he only is a plow horse type of runner. He lacks speed, he lacks any degree of elusiveness. He can run into defenders really well and sometimes power past one. He is the epitome of JAG. Again, Just A Guy.

His best trait is that he's an excellent blocking back. He doesn't even have a 4 yd per carry average for his career. Good enough receiver, excellent blocker, but below average runner.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

July 10, 2020 at 07:37 pm

I mean, you're wrong, but that's what makes sports great.

Average for career, sure. But in 2019, he averaged 4.3 YPC, which was as good or better than 13 other team's starting running backs in 2019.

2019 he was an over 85% reception rate and chalked up 16 first down receptions (career 75%, 39 total receiving 1st downs). Not a one trick pony.

...And, if you watch the man play, you'll see he is not just a snow plow. He is a good back and does show elusiveness on many of his plays. He sets up blocks, subtly feints, and can get small in the hole.

He's a good back, better than JAG.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Ryan3468's picture

July 07, 2020 at 11:58 pm

To go from James Starks and Eddie Lacy to having Aaron Jones, and AJ Dillon is pretty wild, and to also have Jamal Williams is pretty exciting. The TE/FB/HB rookie in the mix. Should be wild if we can safely have games.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Packers0808's picture

July 08, 2020 at 02:24 pm

Hell of a good player, crazy not to keep if nothing just great insurance, but he is much better than that role!

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
wildbill's picture

July 08, 2020 at 05:19 pm

Love Williams heart and energy level. Every team should have someone like him on their roster. That being said he brings a lot of skills to the table but is not great at explosive plays. I would love to resign him but only at the vet minimum as RBs of his caliber are easily replaced in the draft

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
CoachDino's picture

July 10, 2020 at 04:33 am

Jamal Williams is a great guy, teammate, human being. He is not a great running back. He is not a starting caliber player and certainly not a good short yardage back. I don't even think he's a change of pace back. he's not faster or quicker and isn't a power runner. He is a reliable pass blocker and receiver. Both of which AJ will not be for at least the 1st half of his rookie season if not longer. There is a place / need for Jamal in 2020. If Jones leaves I'd wouldn't mind seeing them sign Jamal for a bargain basement contract.

What does one think he will be paid by the Packers or any other team in 2021? I like the guy and am hoping he has a great year and gets paid but ODDS are he won't on either point. If he does want he has in the past and fills his role than expectations will be met IMO.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.