Packers Maven

McCarthy confident in Packers’ ground game

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (30) had a team-high 47 yards in the season opener.Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers covers up a lot of warts for the Green Bay Packers.

There was no better evidence than a season-opening 24-23 win over the Chicago Bears, when Rodgers returned from a knee injury to throw three four-quarter touchdown passes as the Packers erased a 20-point deficit.

Rodgers heroics in sparking the stirring comeback helped Green Bay to overcome what was a big concern entering the season a suspect running game.

The Packers finished the contest with 69 yards on 18 carries, with Jamaal Williams receiving the bulk of the work with 15 rushes for 47 yards.

While those numbers were held down due to the fact Green Bay needed to rely on the passing game after falling into a big hole, the longest run for the Packers was a 15-yard gain by Rodgers before he was hurt.

I do have confidence in the run game, said McCarthy, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I think this could be one of the better run-game productions when we sit here at the end of the journey. I really like the way training camp has gone, the amount of work that weve put into that, the combination of the new adjustments and scheme that you make every year.

The Packers were a middle-of-the-pack rushing unit last season, ranking 17th in the league with an average of 107.8 yards per game. Even then, those numbers were compiled with two-time NFL MVP Rodgers missing nine games due to a collarbone injury.

Green Bay never was able to settle on a lead running back in 2017. Williams paced the team with 556 yards on 153 attempts as a rookie, averaging 3.6 yards per attempt.

Aaron Jones, who was also a rookie last season, contributed 448 yards and four scores. He flashed the most explosiveness among the backs, including a pair of 100-yard games. However, Jones is serving a two-game suspension to start the season for violating the leagues policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery also is in the backfield mix. He finished with 271 rushing yards on 71 carries but missed eight games due to injury a year ago. Montgomery, who also had 23 receptions for 173 yards in 2017, had two carries for seven yards last week.

I think our backs are all a year better, said McCarthy. Theyre all more confident in what were asking them to do this year as opposed to last year. We did some good things in the run game last year. The goal, in my hope, is that well improve off of that.