The Green Bay Packers are 2-3 on the season coming off their Bye Week. They will look to get their inconsistent offense on course after averaging just 19 points per game over their last four games.
Aside from playing limited snaps in the Packers’ Week Four loss to the Detroit Lions, running back Aaron Jones has been absent for those four games. It is reasonable to point to his injury and inability to play as one of the primary reason Green Bay’s offense has been so inconsistent. Remember, in the one game that Jones started and played healthy (for three quarters), the Packers put up 38 points.
Over the course of those four games, backup running back AJ Dillon struggled. To be fair, the offensive line has been awful in terms of run blocking. In fact, they have the seventh-worst run blocking grade on PFF. This is not to say Dillon was blameless, but there was a lot more going wrong than just Dillon.
Due to Dillon’s struggles, many fans wanted the team to give Emanuel Wilson more playing time. Wilson, of course, led the NFL in rushing during the preseason and made Green Bay’s 53-man roster.
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur Does Not Foresee Emanuel Wilson Getting More Playing Time Soon
Wilson has appeared in three games this season and has played 14 total offensive snaps in that time. He has rushed the ball five times for 11 yards and has one reception for six yards. Wilson has also fumbled one time.
Additionally, Wilson has not seen any playing time on special teams. Typically, a team’s third running back is one of the most-utilized special teams players. Instead of allowing Wilson to fill that role, the Packers have used Patrick Taylor. Due to reaching the limit on how many times they could promote Taylor, the team released him last week. Taylor has since signed with New England Patriots.
Now, instead of sticking with their three running backs, the Packers also signed free agent James Robinson, who ran for over 1,000 yards for the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2020. He has been assigned to the team’s practice squad.
So where does that leave Wilson now? During his press conference on Wednesday, head coach Matt LaFleur was asked if Wilson would start seeing more playing time. To put it plainly, he will not, and LaFleur explained why:
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 18, 2023
“I just think it’s, there’s a learning curve for every young player in this league, and you just kind of have to prove it through practice. He’s a talented guy, no question about it. But it’s just that trust that he can go out there no matter what the defense gives us that he’s going to be able to go out there and execute.
“Because it’s not just running the football. It’s protections, it’s all that. I think he’s progressing nicely. We’ll give him more opportunities throughout practice in order for him to be able to go out there and do it in a game.”
It is important to remember that when Wilson lit the NFL preseason on fire, he was doing so against backups. Now that he is facing first team players in practice, he is struggling.
While fans only remember what they saw in preseason, the Packers’ coaches are looking at what is in front of them on the practice field, and the fact of the matter is that Wilson isn’t good enough (yet) to get snaps reserved for Dillon.