Packers running back Jamaal Williams and linebacker Kamal Martin have been designated as high-risk close contacts with running back A.J. Dillon, according to a report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. As a result, both have been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Packers will now be extremely shorthanded at running back, even if Aaron Jones has recovered enough to play. According to Monday’s injury report, Jones would have been a limited participant in practice, though the Packers were not on the field yesterday.
Other than Jones, the Packers only have quasi-running back Tyler Ervin on the active roster. Ervin is as much a wide receiver as a running back at this point, if not more so, and hasn’t had more than four offensive touches in a game since he joined the Packers last season.
2019 sixth-round pick Dexter Williams is currently on the practice squad. While he’s a common-sense choice as a short term option, he is underwhelming as a prospect. He’s only been on the active roster for five games in his brief career, carrying five times for 11 yards.
At linebacker, the Packers have slightly more flexibility than they did the last time Martin was absent. In addition to Krys Barnes, Ty Summers, and Oren Burks, the Packers also have James Burgess available. Signed from Atlanta’s practice squad in late October, Burgess made his debut for the Packers last week, logging 11 snaps on special teams and recording a single tackle there. He was fairly productive in 10 games for the Jets in 2019, managing 51 solo tackles (eight for loss) and half a sack.
Update: Looks like for now the Packers will indeed lean toward Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams, as Jones’ status for Thursday remains murky.
Adding to the difficulty for the #Packers: There is pessimism that RB Aaron Jones (calf) will be back for Thursday, I’m told. GB is cautious. The current plan seems to be going with Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams vs the #49ers. Ervin has 10 career carries and Williams has 5.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 3, 2020