Every Friday or Saturday, I’ll be posting six videos from the game played earlier in the week. The videos won’t be of obvious plays like touchdowns, but of plays that I found either important or at least interesting. Here’s this weekend’s six-pack:
On Wednesday, coach Matt LaFleur opined that Jamaal Williams (#30) looks “twitchier.” I couldn’t agree more, and here’s an example of this newfound trait. The veteran running back has enough twitch to turn what might’ve been three yards earlier in his career into 11 yards and a first down this season. And while I think better vision gained through experience also played a part in this run, there’s no question that Williams – a free agent next March – looks lighter on his feet than he did just nine months ago. Don’t think for a second that general managers around the league won’t notice.
Kevin King came into the league with a bad shoulder, and it showed in his play. He often seemed to shy away from contact – something you don’t want to see from any cornerback, let alone one of the league’s bigger cornerbacks. But with his shoulder no longer an issue, the former second-round pick is beginning to show the toughness that scouts admired prior to the 2017 draft. Watch how King (#20) deals with 220-pound Adrian Peterson (#28) on this run. If not for King’s quick reaction and sure tackle, the future Hall of Famer might’ve turned a 4-yard gain into a long touchdown. Even Peterson was impressed at the end of the play.
Aaron Jones was credited with a franchise-record 236 yards of total offense on Sunday, but that number might as well have been 277. That’s because a 41-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling would never have happened if the 5-foot-9 running back didn’t keep a blitzing 230-pound middle linebacker away from QB Aaron Rodgers. Watch how Jones (#33) holds his ground, even though Jarred Davis (#40) has the advantages of 25 pounds and a full head of steam on his side. This is something I never thought I’d see from a player whose pass protection was a weakness when he arrived in Green Bay three and a half years ago.
It’s still early in the season, but there’s reason to be a little concerned about Adrian Amos. The veteran strong safety looks a half-step slower in coverage, and that’s a half-step he didn’t have to spare. On this play from the second quarter, watch how easily Marvin Hall (#17) runs past Amos (#31) on his way to a 24-yard score. Granted, Hall is very fast, but no wide receiver should be so open on a play like this unless the safety falls down. Amos also struggled in coverage in the opener, although he never looked quite this bad.
Even with a healthy Kenny Clark, the Packers aren’t very good on the defensive line or at inside linebacker. This will always make stopping the run a challenge, and that task becomes even more daunting when an outside linebacker doesn’t do his job. Watch how Pro Bowler Za’Darius Smith (#55) fails to set the edge on this 24-yard scamper by Adrian Peterson (#28). Even on 2nd and 9, Smith can’t simply abandon his responsibilities against the run in order to get upfield and pressure the quarterback. This has happened too often in the first two games, and you can bet that every offensive coordinator left on the schedule has noticed.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis is 36 and runs like he’s 56, but that’s just fine as long as he continues to be an effective blocker. And after a couple of games, he’s been more than effective. Watch how Lewis (#89) manhandles outside linebacker Jahlani Tavai (#51) and helps clear the way for Aaron Jones (#33) to get up the field for an easy 12 yards. Lewis isn’t as dominant a run blocker as he was in his early days with the Jaguars, but he’s still pretty good, and he’s without question the best of the four tight ends on the roster.