It’s official: the Green Bay Packers have found their running back. And it’s not Ty Montgomery.
For the second straight game, Aaron Jones significantly out-snapped Montgomery, despite the veteran receiver-turned-running back being active. Furthermore, the split of snaps was more pronounced in week seven than it was in week six, despite Montgomery presumably being able to handle a bigger workload due to more recovery time after suffering broken ribs.
Jones had a big day against the New Orleans Saints’ defense, carrying the ball for 97 yards in the first half on his way to a 131-yard day overall.
Here’s how the playing time broke down on Sunday afternoon.
OFFENSE (55 Plays)
Brett Hundley 55
In 55 snaps, Hundley was sacked once (by Alex Okafor) and hit three times (one each by Okafor, Cam Jordan, and Trey Hendrickson). However, he escaped pressure with his legs frequently, showing mobility and strength to elude tackles in the backfield. That is something to build on for the young quarterback, but he still has a ways to go.
LT David Bakhtiari 55, LG Justin McCray 55, C Corey Linsley 55, RG Jahri Evans 55, RT Bryan Bulaga 55
The returning offensive tackles did not look quite at the top of their games, but they were thankfully able to make it through a full game unscathed. The bye week should hopefully provide Lane Taylor with enough rest for him to return against Detroit in two weeks and to give the Packers their five preferred starters available.
Aaron Jones 44, Aaron Ripkowski 14, Ty Montgomery 7
The rise of Aaron Jones continues, as he got the start and was only spelled on one three and out drive in the first half and a few snaps throughout the game. He received 17 of the team’s 21 conventional rushing attempts and was also the recipient of five pass targets at Hundley was forced to check down frequently.
Oddly enough, however, Montgomery either carried the football or was targeted with a pass on six of his seven snaps, further alluding to Mike McCarthy’s conservative approach.
This is Jones’ job moving forward, however, and this snap breakdown shows that clearly.
Jordy Nelson 51, Davante Adams 48, Randall Cobb 37, Geronimo Allison 5
There are no surprises to be found here, as the Packers used their 11 package regularly as usual. The shock was the minuscule number of receptions by the receivers. The quartet combined for just six receptions and 54 yards on 15 targets, capped by a long reception of 14.
Martellus Bennett 49, Lance Kendricks 14, Richard Rodgers 6
Kendricks and Rodgers took a few snaps in line and in the backfield, but Bennett continues to get the vast majority of the tight end snaps. He continued to line up all over along the line of scrimmage, either in line, at the slot, or split wide when the Packers spread the field.
DEFENSE (76 plays)
Kenny Clark 65, Mike Daniels 53, Quinton Dial 31, Dean Lowry 27, Ricky Jean Francois 5
Clark had his biggest snap share of the season on Sunday, seeing almost 86% of the team’s defensive snaps. He continues to have a breakout season, chasing down Alvin Kamara on a screen pass in the second half and blocking an extra point (which gave the Packers a one-point lead for much of the middle part of the game. His five tackles led the defensive line, one ahead of Dial and two more than Daniels.
Clark and Daniels each registered one hit on Drew Brees, but the Saints’ line did a great job in run-blocking, with the New Orleans running backs averaging over five yards per carry total.
Clay Matthews 57, Nick Perry 54, Kyler Fackrell 26, Chris Odom 21
Perry recorded the Packers’ only sack of the game, and was very close to adding another one or two more if not for Brees’ quick release of the football, Meanwhile, Matthews had a big tackle for loss in the run game.
Odom saw the most action of his young career in this game with Ahmad Brooks out, but he recorded just one assisted tackle. Look for Brooks’ return and Vince Biegel’s expected debut to steal away snaps from both Odom and Fackrell in two weeks.
Blake Martinez 75, Josh Jones 52, Jake Ryan 24
The Packers saw Jake Ryan leave the field for much of the second half with a migraine, leaving the team no choice but to stick with Josh Jones as the second inside linebacker next to Martinez.
Of course, Martinez had another highly productive day, registering a career-high 15 tackles on defense plus another on special teams. Ryan did not appear on the stat sheet, while Jones had three tackles and was often washed out in the run game.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 76, Kentrell Brice 73, Marwin Evans 13, Jermaine Whitehead 1
With Morgan Burnett inactive, Brice was the team’s strong safety throughout the game, playing in the slot briefly when the team went into dime. Clinton-Dix was around the football a lot, making eight tackles including a TFL, but he too often seemed hesitant and tentative, more than once waiting to hit a receiver until after he had already completed the catch.
Davon House 67, Kevin King 50, Damarious Randall 48, Josh Hawkins 17
Early on, House and Randall were the story as each picked off Brees near the Packers’ end zone. However, the Saints adjusted their passing game to be more of a screen and short passing scheme as the game went on, which led the Packers to play a lot of zone coverage (with little success) and forced them to make open field tackle attempts (also with little success).