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Youth Packers Jamaal Williams Jersey Sale Discount

Jamaal Williams spent last week at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, where he talked with NFL hopefuls who played in the pre-draft all-star game.

They asked the Green Bay Packers rookie for advice on how to prepare for the draft and what it takes to make in the NFL.

But the running back, a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, couldn’t stop thinking about the advice he was given before he left Green Bay after the season. It was in his exit interviews with running backs coach Ben Sirmans and coach Mike McCarthy that the Packers’ leading rusher this past season learned what he needs to take his game to the next level.

“We were just in agreement that I’ve got to get my feet quicker and just get a little more speed happening and make sure that my knees are up,” Williams said in a phone interview during a break in the NFLPA-sponsored college all-star game near Los Angeles.

“So, I’m just going to be working on my lateral movements, speed, make sure I get my knees up, make sure my lower body’s a lot stronger.”

That will begin this week near Phoenix, where he plans to train with his uncle, Luke Neal, who also works with Cardinals linebacker Scooby Wright.

Yes, Williams rushed for a team-best 556 yards in a season in which he finally stopped the revolving door at running back. But he did so in grind-it-out fashion, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry.

He knows that Ty Montgomery will return next season after wrist surgery that landed him on season-ending injured reserve and that fellow rookie Aaron Jones will be over his two knee injuries that cost him four games this season. That means that just because he was the Packers’ leading rusher in 2017 doesn’t mean he is guaranteed anything for 2018.

“I learned that on every team, no matter what, everybody’s a superstar, and you’ve got weapons,” Williams said. “Everybody’s got to touch the ball. There’s just so many superstars, especially on my team with Aaron [Rodgers], Davante [Adams], Jordy [Nelson], Randall [Cobb]. We just spread the ball around.

“When you’re in college, you’re used to, like, two guys — two superstars — on the team who get the ball consistently. I liked it because it just shows that you’ve got to keep working hard, and every year there’s going to be a new batch coming in, so you’ve got to make sure you improve every offseason.”

But there won’t likely be many — if any — new running backs. The position appears stocked after former general manager Ted Thompson picked three in last year’s draft: Williams (at No. 134 overall from BYU), Jones (at No. 182 from UTEP) and seldom-used Devante Mays (at No. 238 from Utah State).

It’s another reason Williams knows that he needs to be more explosive. Yes, he gained more than half of his yards after contact (51.8 percent to be exact), according to ESPN Stats & Information. By comparison, NFL rushing leader Kareem Hunt got 47.9 percent of his yards after first contact, and second-leading rusher Todd Gurley gained just 39.8 percent of his yards after initial contact.

But as tough as Williams proved to be — he was the only Packers running back who didn’t miss a game this season — he lacked big plays. Of his 153 carries, he had only five explosive runs, defined by McCarthy as a gain of 12 or more yards.

By comparison, the speedier Jones had 10 explosive rushes despite carrying only 81 times.

“It just comes with time and repetition,” Williams said. “I felt like I was getting better and better at it as the season went by. So next year, it really won’t be anything new to me. I’ll just be able to come in and start where I left off.”

It was at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl that Williams signed hundreds of rookie trading cards that will be included in the 2017-18 Panini football card packets. Williams was supposed to sign over the course of a couple of days. Instead, he decided to get it all done at once in a four-hour, hand-cramping session.

“That’s the warrior mentality of playing football,” Williams said.

It helped Williams ride things out when Montgomery began the season as the starter and then Jones got the next shot. It wasn’t until both were injured in Week 10 against the Bears that Williams got his shot to be the No. 1 back, a job he didn’t give up the rest of the season.

“When Aaron and Ty went down, and they were like, ‘Jamaal, you’re going to run the ball,’ I was like, ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment, and I’m going to go out there and do what I need to do,’” Williams said. “That, for me, made me feel like all my hard work is paying off.”

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Their first four draft picks were designed to help the struggling defense, but the Green Bay Packers got their biggest rookie impact from two of the three running backs they selected on the final day.

Here’s a breakdown of the Packers’ 2017 draft class:

Grade: Below average.

Best rookie: Fourth-round pick Jamaal Williams was the workhorse running back, while fifth-rounder Aaron Jones provided the explosive change. Williams led the Packers in both carries (153) and rushing yards (556), but his average of 3.6 yards per carry suggests he’s more of a plodder. He also might be the more capable back in the passing game, both as a receiver and a blocker. Jones, despite a pair of knee injuries, showed more big-play ability. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry on just 81 attempts (448 yards) and matched Williams with four touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime against Tampa Bay to help the Packers stay alive in the playoff race at the time. Both had at least one 100-yard rushing game, and this duo looks more promising than opening-day starter Ty Montgomery as the future of the Packers’ backfield.

Most improved rookie: This one has to go to an undrafted rookie, punter Justin Vogel. He looked shaky in training camp but progressed as the season went along. He set the franchise record for net punting average (41.6), although a relatively mild weather season at home helped. Still, this spot should be solidified for next season.

Most disappointing rookie: Throughout the offseason practices, Josh Jones was seemingly around the ball at every turn. But the second-round pick couldn’t carry that over when it mattered. He bounced between safety and inside linebacker in the Packers’ nitro package, but other than the overtime interception in Cleveland that set up the game-winning score, he struggled in coverage most of the season. This was a classic case of a player who looked good in helmets and shorts but struggled when the pads came on. Top pick Kevin King also could be thrown into this category, but as cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said during the season, no one saw the real King because when he played, he was limited by a shoulder injury that eventually ended his season and required surgery.

Jury is still out on …: Montravius Adams and Vince Biegel. Both missed the early part of the season because of injuries. Adams, the third-round defensive tackle, broke his foot during the opening week of training camp and played in only one of the first seven games. Biegel, the fourth-round outside linebacker, had foot surgery in May and missed the entire offseason, training camp, the preseason and the first seven games of the regular season. The Packers hoped Adams would bolster their run defense and Biegel would provide some pass rush. Neither happened.

Undrafted rookie evaluation: The most promising undrafted rookie didn’t even see the field until Week 16. Receiver Michael Clark, a 6-foot-6 former college basketball player, caught four passes for 41 yards in the final two games combined. Yes, he struggled with drops, but his length and athletic ability make him a player to watch next summer after he has had a full year to refine his skills. Cornerback Lenzy Pipkins also looks like he might have potential.

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At this point, it might be easier to list who’s still on the Green Bay Packers coaching staff rather than who isn’t.

After major changes on both sides of the ball, here’s how things look now under coach Mike McCarthy, who is under contract through the 2019 season after he signed a one-year extension late last year:

OFFENSE

Coordinator: Position open.

Edgar Bennett was removed on Wednesday. It’s possible Bennett could return in a lesser capacity, but his three-year run as a non-playcalling coordinator is over. Top candidates include former Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, former Giants coach Ben McAdoo and current offensive line coach James Campen.

Quarterbacks: Open.

Alex Van Pelt’s contract expired after this season, and he was not retained. Van Pelt spoke late in the season about his desire to once again serve as an offensive coordinator, which he did for the Bills in 2009. Van Pelt and Aaron Rodgers worked well together, but fill-in quarterback Brett Hundley was not consistent enough after Rodgers broke his collarbone. Offensive perimeter coach David Raih worked closely with the quarterbacks this season, but Rodgers might rather have someone with NFL playing experience like Van Pelt did.

Receivers: Open

Luke Getsy, known as the coach who introduced juggling and other tricks to the receivers in his two seasons on the job, left to become the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State. If Bennett stays on staff, he could go back to coaching receivers like he did from 2011-14.

Offensive line: Position filled

Campen is a top-five offensive line coach in the NFL. He also is essentially the run-game coordinator. He developed middle-round draft picks like David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley into players at the top of their position, and is extremely popular among his players. He’s the Packers’ longest-tenured assistant coach, dating to 2004, but this job could open if Campen becomes coordinator either in Green Bay or elsewhere.

Assistant offensive line: Filled

Jeff Blasko, considered a rising star, finished his first season as Campen’s assistant.

Running backs: Filled

Ben Sirmans completed his second season with the Packers, and helped develop rookies Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones into the top two backs on the roster. Sirmans’ teaching background served him well, and he’s well-liked among players and staff.

Tight ends: Filled

Brian Angelichio has held this job for two seasons after coaching tight ends in Tampa Bay and Cleveland. Whoever becomes the new general manager needs to address the talent level here this offseason after the Martellus Bennett signing failed.

Offensive perimeter: Filled

McCarthy created this position for Raih last offseason but never really defined his role. He appeared to spend more time with the quarterbacks than the receivers.

DEFENSE

Coordinator: Open

Dom Capers survived Colin Kaepernick running for 181 yards against his defense in 2012, the NFC title game meltdown in 2014, Larry Fitzgerald carving it up in overtime in the 2015 playoff loss and a No. 31 ranking in passing defense in 2016. But his nine-year run came to an end this week, when McCarthy fired him. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt and safeties coach Darren Perry likely are the top two internal candidates, but expect McCarthy to interview Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and other experienced coordinators.

Defensive line: Open

Despite developing Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark into bona fide three-down players, Mike Trgovac was out after nine seasons. Some thought he could be a candidate for defensive coordinator, a job he held with the Panthers from 2003-08. Assistant D-line coach Jerry Montgomery could be in line to replace Trgovac.

Inside linebackers: Open

This was one of the more surprising moves given that under Scott McCurley, second-year linebacker Blake Martinez led the league in tackles. McCurley had only two other players at his position group – Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas. McCurley had been with the Packers since 2007.

Outside linebackers: Filled (for now)

This job, held by associate head coach/defense Winston Moss, also could open soon. Indications are the Packers might move on from Moss even if he doesn’t get another job. He reportedly is on the Lions’ list of head-coaching candidates. Moss has been with the Packers since 2006, McCarthy’s first season as coach.

Safeties: Filled

Perry has deep ties to Capers; he played for the Steelers and Capers was his defensive coordinator. He came to Green Bay with Capers in 2009. He’s one of the internal candidates to replace Capers. Unlike Moss, there’s a good chance Perry remains with the team no matter what.

Cornerbacks: Filled

The young and energetic Whitt might be just what the Packers need in a coordinator. He’s tough on players, but they respect him. Whitt joined the Packers in 2008, one year before Capers arrived. He’s viewed as the leading internal candidate to replace his former boss.

Defensive front assistant: Filled

Jerry Montgomery was a highly successful college coach and recruiter before he took his first NFL job in 2015 with the Packers. He’s the likely replacement for Trgovac.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Coordinator: Filled

Ron Zook, the former college head coach at Florida and Illinois, completed his third season in charge of the Packers’ special teams. He replaced Shawn Slocum, who was fired after the 2014 season (a year in which Zook served as his assistant).

Assistant: Filled

Jason Simmons has been with the Packers since 2011 and in this spot since 2015. Zook relies heavily on Simmons.

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Jordy Nelson’s season is likely over, and the same looks to be true for Davante Adams.

The Green Bay Packers’ starting receivers are unlikely to play in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Detroit, leaving both of their futures in doubt.

Nelson suffered a shoulder injury in Saturday’s shutout loss to Minnesota, and coach Mike McCarthy said the 32-year-old is a long shot to play against the Lions. Adams remained in the concussion protocol on Wednesday and hasn’t played since he suffered his second head injury of the season on Dec. 17 at Carolina.

“It’ll be tough for him to make this week,” McCarthy said Wednesday.

Nelson’s production has slipped this season, and even the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers from his broken collarbone for the Panthers game didn’t jump-start the receiver. Nelson was leading the league with six touchdown receptions when Rodgers got hurt in Week 6 but hasn’t caught one since. He has 53 catches (his fewest since 2010) for 482 yards (his fewest since 2009). Nelson has one year left on his contract and is scheduled to make $10.25 million in salary and bonuses next season.

The Packers might have to consider cutting Nelson or asking him to take a pay cut if they re-sign Adams, who would be a free agent in March if a new deal isn’t worked out by then. Adams has a team-high 74 catches for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 25-year-old’s production didn’t change much with Brett Hundley at quarterback. Of Adams’ 10 touchdowns, five came from Rodgers and five from Hundley.

McCarthy wouldn’t say whether the Packers have intentionally shut down Adams for the season because they’re out of the playoffs. “He hasn’t been cleared; that’s Davante’s status,” McCarthy said.

Without Adams or Nelson, expect rookie Michael Clark to see more action. The 6-foot-6 former college basketball player caught three passes for 36 yards on Saturday against the Vikings in his first career snaps in a regular-season game.

The Packers also are expected to be without running back Aaron Jones, who suffered a knee injury against the Vikings.

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It’s a good thing this was a meaningless game for the Green Bay Packers, given their inactive and injury lists.

Or maybe the Packers shut down so many key players before things started Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings because it was meaningless.

Either way, what looked like a marquee Week 16 game in prime time when the NFL released its 2017 schedule in April turned into a glorified exhibition game, with players looking to make an impression for next season and coaches perhaps trying to justify their employment.

Yet very few did.

Other than Kenny Clark, the second-year defensive tackle who had a couple of sacks — giving him 4.5 for the season, all of which have come in the month of December — and first-year outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert, who was promoted this week from the practice squad and hit Vikings quarterback Case Keenum more than once, there wasn’t much anyone could claim as progress in the Packers’ 16-0 loss at Lambeau Field.

The Packers were shut out at home for a second time this season. Before this year, no team had been shut out at home twice in a season since 2006, when both the Packers and Raiders were.

“I never felt more defeated, more embarrassed by a performance,” said Packers receiver Randall Cobb, who had four catches for 22 yards. “Yeah, we had opportunities, and we didn’t connect when we did.”

Quarterback Brett Hundley, making his eighth start of the season, did nothing to change the narrative that he isn’t capable of taking over a game. He threw two interceptions, which means his home season ended with zero touchdowns and seven interceptions at Lambeau.

Dropping to 3-5 as a starter, Hundley failed to throw a touchdown pass at Lambeau Field once again. He set the record for pass attempts at home without a touchdown (162) in a single season, according to Elias. Along the way, he threw his third red zone interception this season, tied with Dak Prescott for the second-most in the NFL. Only (six) has thrown more red zone picks, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

In Hundley’s defense, the Packers dropped six of his passes, their most since Week 15 of 2014 at Buffalo, another game in which they dropped six, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

When it comes to the roster, general manager Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy likely wanted to use this game — and the regular-season finale next Sunday at Detroit — to evaluate who stays and who goes in the offseason.

But after missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2009, McCarthy might have already made up his mind about changes to his coaching staff, even though Dom Capers’ defense looked respectable for a change. Still, the most likely change this offseason would be at defensive coordinator, unless, of course, team president Mark Murphy decides it’s time for Thompson to go.

Yes, the game was surprisingly still in play into the fourth quarter, as ugly as it was for the Packers’ offense, with five starters on the inactive list: receiver Davante Adams (concussion), linebackers Nick Perry (ankle/shoulder) and Clay Matthews (hamstring), cornerback Damarious Randall (knee) and guard Jahri Evans (knee). That did not include Aaron Rodgers, who went on injured reserve earlier in the week after the Packers decided to shut him down the week after he returned from his broken collarbone.

Who knows how many, if any, of those players could have played if the Packers were still in the playoff race? Then it didn’t get any better when receiver Jordy Nelson (shoulder), tight end Richard Rodgers (shoulder), running back Aaron Jones (knee) and right tackle Jason Spriggs (knee) were lost during the game.

“I mean, it’s really hard,” Hundley said. “When you’ve got two big studs [Adams and Nelson] out there and then you lose them. Your right tackle goes down on the first play, then your running back goes out. I mean, it becomes really hard, but at the same time, a lot of people got reps and experience, and you’ve got find a way to win. That’s the name of the game.

“Defense played their butts off. Offense, we didn’t capitalize on the plays we needed to, and that starts with me. I’ve got to be able to lead this team no matter who’s on the field and get us in better opportunities to put some points on the board.”

As bad as Saturday night’s game looked with all those players out, the finale in Detroit might be even tougher to watch.

“We’ve got to play better,” Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said. “We have to find ways to win ballgames. We won’t take credit for anything. We’ve just got to continue to stay together, man, find ways to win ballgames, I guess. There’s a lot of things going on down here in this locker room, a lot of guys banged up, a lot of guys not playing, a lot of guys not putting their best foot forward. We’ve just got to hold guys accountable. The ones that step on the field with us, let’s go to work. The ones that don’t want to play, just turn your pads in and wait for next year.”

 

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Another Packers player is up for the NFL clutch performer of the week following yet another overtime triumph on Sunday.

One week after rookie running back Aaron Jones  captured the award for his walk-off touchdown run against Tampa Bay, receiver Davante Adams has been nominated after his 25-yard game-winning touchdown catch in Sunday’s 27-21 comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns.


Adams led the Packers with 10 catches for 84 yards and scored two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes, 12 seconds of the contest. The fourth-year receiver is tied for second in the NFL with nine touchdown receptions and is only 172 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.Vote Adams for clutch performer of the week here. Other nominees include Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Jacksonville cornerback A.J. Bouye.

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Fumble, fumble, rush for 1 yard, ankle injury.

Talk about a disaster of an NFL debut.

That was Green Bay Packers rookie running back Devante Mays’ line from his first chance to play from scrimmage in Sunday’s shutout loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The bum ankle, which was revealed when he showed up on Wednesday’s injury report, added injury to insult.

The thing is, the Packers might need him again this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers are likely to be without their top-two running backs again this week. Leading rusher Aaron Jones (ankle) injury is out for sure, while the No. 2 man Ty Montgomery (ribs) did not practice again on Wednesday.

That leaves Jamaal Williams as the starter and Mays as the backup — if coach Mike McCarthy can trust him, that is. McCarthy admitted after the game he “lost confidence” in Mays.

“I’ve just got to show them that they can count on me,” Mays said Wednesday. “I know that they were counting on me, and I didn’t step up like I wanted to. This game, I’m going to do a better job of that.”

It was all new territory for Mays, the fumbling and the questions that inevitably followed. After the game, he sat shell-shocked in his locker and declined to answer questions.

The seventh-round pick finally was ready to address it three days after he fumbled on his first two NFL carries. Mays said he never fumbled in his two years at Utah State, where he carried 202 times. As a pro, he has two fumbles (one lost) in three carries.

“The first time, it was just not knowing the play, really, what the play was,” Mays said. “It was just everything wasn’t right on that, and then second time it was just my fault. I’ve just got to put two hands on the ball, and I know that it’s my job to take care of the ball. Just got to do a better job at that.”

Mays said he thought the first play was a handoff but instead it was a toss play, so he was off kilter from the start.

“Initially I went down when I was supposed to be going out for the toss, so that’s what happened with that one,” he said. “It was a mistake on my part with the handoff. Because if I would’ve took the right path, I wouldn’t have been there, and it wouldn’t have happened. The guy got his arm in there. And the second one, I really don’t know what happened there.”

After the game, Mays received consolation from Jones and several other players but sat in his locker with his uniform on while most other players had already showered and changed.

“Like after, I was just shocked,” Mays said. “I couldn’t believe it happened.”

Mays was back on the practice field Wednesday, although he was a limited participant because of the ankle injury.

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Aaron Jones promised that he won’t get himself into legal trouble again and insisted that he will play again this season.

In his first public comments since the news broke Monday of his arrest last month, the Green Bay Packers rookie running back offered a statement on the matter and requested that questions be limited to football matters.

Jones was charged with operating a vehicle with a controlled substance (marijuana) in his system, speeding (24 mph over the posted speed limit of 55) and operating a vehicle without a valid license stemming from an Oct. 1 traffic stop.

I owe an apology to my family, teammates, coaches, the fans and the Packers organization,” Jones said. “I made a mistake, and I take full responsibility for it. And it won’t happen again. I can’t speak on it because it’s an ongoing legal matter. Do you have any football questions?”

Jones did not play in Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Ravens because of the left knee injury he suffered the previous week against the Bears. Jones has a sprained MCL and is expected to miss three to six weeks, a timeline that would get close to the end of the season if it’s on the long end, but he said he was convinced he would return this year.

“Definitely,” he said when asked if he would play again this season.

Jones said he has experience with this same injury but to his right knee during his sophomore season at UTEP and returned without missing significant time. The fifth-round pick is the Packers’ leading rusher with 370 yards on 70 carries with three touchdowns.

Without Jones and Ty Montgomery (ribs), the Packers turned to fourth-round pick Jamaal Williams and seventh-rounder Devante Mays against the Ravens. Williams followed a 20-carry, 67-yard game against the Bears after Jones and Montgomery went down with 18 carries for 57 yards against Baltimore.

Mays played for the first time from scrimmage, and it was disastrous. He fumbled on his first two carries and finished with just three carries for minus-1 yard. Mays refused to talk after Sunday’s loss and did not talk to reporters on Monday, either.

“I just told him, ‘Keep his head up, it’s not the start you wanted,” Jones said. “But hey, people have bad starts. … [Chiefs rookie] Kareem Hunt fumbled on his first carry and look what he’s doing. Just keep your head up, don’t get down and don’t listen to what anybody else has to say. You know your ability. I know your ability and you’re a better player than that.’”

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Devante Mays doesn’t need to look any further than his own position group to understand how an NFL player must keep himself ready to play even when he’s not playing.Fellow Green Bay Packers rookie running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have excelled at doing that, and it might be Mays’ turn this week.

Jones was inactive for Week 1, didn’t touch the ball until Week 4 and is now the team’s leading rusher. Williams began the season as the backup and then slipped to No. 3 on the depth chart only to find himself as the No. 1 back again last Sunday after Jones hurt his knee and Ty Montgomery reinjured his broken ribs.

With Jones out 3-6 weeks and Montgomery’s status up in the air this week, Mays could be the primary backup to Williams on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. It’s a big jump for a player who has been inactive four times this season and has yet to play on offense let alone actually carry the ball.

“I think it’s important for all your young guys to get ready,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s tough. You make the team, then you’re not getting the reps with the game-plan reps getting ready for games. Next thing you know, you’re in there. He’ll be ready. Jamaal is definitely ready, and we’re going to need everybody, especially in that room.”

If nothing else, Mays should play a significant role on special teams since Williams likely will be taken off those units to save him for his work on offense. Williams, who rushed for 67 yards on 20 carries against the Bears, was given a game ball — but it was for his play on special teams.

“Obviously, he probably won’t get quite as many reps now because the running back situation, but that’s what it is,” special teams coach Ron Zook said of Williams. “That’s the National Football League, and the way it is. You’ve got to have the next guy up. Like I told Mays, I said, ‘Hey, now it’s going to hopefully be your job, your turn to do the same thing next week.’”

The Packers drafted three running backs — Williams in the fourth round, Jones in the fifth and Mays in the seventh — after the position was riddled with injuries last year, which prompted Montgomery’s switch from receiver. General manager Ted Thompson kept all three on the roster even though their production in the preseason was minimal. Williams averaged just 2.4 yards per carry and Mays 2.7 in the preseason. Only Jones, at 5.5 yards per rush, showed much.

With Montgomery’s status up in the air — McCarthy said he’s hopeful that he will be available this week but wouldn’t know for sure until he seems if he can practice — the Packers could be looking at a Williams-Mays running back combination, which is why Mays must be ready.

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The Green Bay Packers’ best offense without Aaron Rodgers might be their running game.

If they have any running backs left.

They nearly ran out in Sunday’s 23-16 win at Chicago, and it might make life without their two-time NFL MVP quarterback even tougher than it’s already been if they can’t get Aaron Jones or Ty Montgomery back soon.

On a day when the Packers lost their top two running backs — Jones to a potentially serious knee injury and Montgomery to another rib injury — they answered questions about whether they could win a game with Brett Hundley as their quarterback, even if Hundley didn’t make many game-changing plays.

For the first time since Rodgers broke his collarbone in Week 6, Hundley was the more effective quarterback — but just barely. He made two of the best throws of his three starts to put the game away — a 19-yard back-shoulder touchdown in the fourth quarter to Davante Adams, who has the only two touchdowns that Hundley has thrown since he took over, and a 42-yarder to Adams on third-and-10 with two minutes to play.

Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made the same mistakes that have hampered Hundley of late — the most egregious of which was holding onto the ball for far too long. It allowed a Packers pass rush that has been nonexistent to get home far more often than they have recently.

The Packers won for the first time since Rodgers’ injury, and at 5-4 they avoided falling under .500 for the first time this season. A few more of these and there might be reason for Rodgers to return late in the season; he’s eligible to come off injured reserve no sooner than the Week 15 game at Carolina. With a scuffling team coming to Lambeau Field next Sunday, perhaps there’s a winning streak in the Packers’ future.

Still, it’s worth wondering whether Sunday’s result was simply a function of their opponent. However, the fact that Adams, Montgomery and then Jamaal Williams were able to run the ball against a Bears defense that ranked eighth overall and 13th against the run should give coach Mike McCarthy a baseline for how his team can win sans Rodgers.

“The ability to run the football at the most critical times of the game I thought was a tribute to our running backs,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I thought Jamaal had a heck of a day and I thought Brett Hundley played his best game of the year. Just handling the different situations, particularly the high pressure there in the fourth quarter. We got a big play from Davante when we needed it.”

Montgomery’s 37-yard touchdown was his fourth career rush of at least 30 yards, all of which have come against the Bears. He had 54 yards on six carries before he reinjured his ribs. Before that, Jones had carried three times for 12 yards. That left Williams as the only remaining halfback active for the game, and he helped grind things out with 67 yards on 20 carries.

“I guess he was third string but it speaks a lot to him and his preparation,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “He was able to come in and knew what to do. Mentally he was ready and physically he was ready. That’s something that you want to see. Moving forward, we’ll see what’s up with our backs. Terrible to see two of them go down. He’s got the film that he can lower his pad level and get after some defensive players, so that’s going to be nice.”

In all, the Packers ran it a season-high 37 times (nine more attempts than their previous season high) for 160 yards.

“I feel like that’s my type of running style is downhill. I feel like I can be versatile, too — agile and do all the other things I need to do to get outside the tackles and try to take it for a touchdown,” Williams said. “These type of games, you’ve got to pound it, get those first downs and really just have that pride with your linemen that you can get the first downs, no matter what.”

Or maybe the Packers will have to rely on their defense, which rediscovered its pass rush. Nick Perry had as many sacks (three) as the Packers had in their previous four games combined.