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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.”

Cheap Green Devante Mays Jersey-Packers NFL Shop

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.

Cheap Green Aaron Jones Jersey-Packers NFL Shop

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.’”

Cheap Green Devante Mays Jersey-Packers NFL Shop

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.