Green Bay Packers running back Emanuel Wilson Lambeau Leaped into the hearts of fans with an amazing performance on Friday night. Wilson was the Packers’ highest graded offensive player (per PFF) as he ran six times for 111 yards and two touchdowns. In an emotional post on social media after the game, he revealed that Friday was the 14th anniversary of his father’s passing.
A brilliant performance on a significant night. In a small way, it is reminiscent of when Brett Favre decided to play against the Oakland Raiders days after his own father’s passing and had one of the best games of his career. No, the situations are not the same, but the emotion felt by each player, Favre and Wilson, endeared them to fans.
Of course, Favre’s came at the height of his Hall of Fame career during a regular season game. Wilson’s came in his first professional game, a preseason matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Not only is his career in its infancy, he is no lock to make the Packers’ 53-man roster, even after his stellar performance.
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur Says Emanuel Wilson Has a Long Way to Go
The Packers already know who their two top running backs will be: the same ones as the last two year. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, indeed, are among the best running back duos in the NFL, and are even ranked as the best in some polls.
Behind them, though, the third running back spot is up for grabs. There are, however, quite a few players contending for the role. Among these are Patrick Taylor, Tyler Goodson, Wilson, and Lew Nichols III. While Wilson had the best game out of all of them against Cincinnati, head coach Matt LaFleur told the media on Sunday that he has a long way to go.
A reporter asked him how Wilson has been doing with catching passes and on special teams, jobs that the third running back is going to have. LaFleur responded:
“Yeah those are the areas where we’re going to have to see improvement. Not that he’s done a bad job, you just want to be able to see the consistency of that.
“Obviously, whoever the third back has to have a role on [special] teams. I haven’t been on too many teams where they’re not a key contributor in that facet of the game.
“That’s a big learning curve for some players, especially when you’re the star player at your school, you’re not getting a lot of those reps. So we got to put him in those positions in practice and hopefully he can continue to learn and grow and be a force there.”
Wilson, a product of Fort Valley State, which is a Historically Black College and University, rushed for over 1,200 yards last season. As the team’s primary running back, he did not play special teams much, particularly in the role he would need to fill in Green Bay.
Patrick Taylor was one of the Packers’ third running backs last season and does a decent job on special teams. If none of the three other running backs can play better than him in this facet, he likely will get the job again.
That being said, there is a lot of football left to play.
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