Jamaal Williams on Bears D: 'Everybody is mortal'

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Much ado has been made in regards to quarterback Aaron Rodgers having gone through the preseason without playing a down in new coach Matt LaFleur's unfamiliar offense.

Neither did running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.

However, when the duo takes the field to kick off the NFL's 100th season on Thursday, Williams and Jones will be quite familiar with the quite formidable opponents they'll be facing.

A Bears defense that is equal parts talented, hungry and intimidating will be looking to spoil LaFleur's debut. But while the first-year head coach will take his first plunge into the NFL's classic rivalry, many of his Packers have been battling Bears for plenty of autumns by now and, in the case of Williams, he's not at all intimidated by the latest version of the Monsters of the Midway.

"They're a good defense, but nobody is scared," Williams said via the team website. "Everybody bleeds red. Everybody is mortal. We're going to play our game. We're going to play Packers football."

Williams is headed into his fifth game against the Bears and last season's Week 15 24-17 loss was the first time he tasted defeat in the NFC North rivalry. He still fared reasonably well against Chicago, scoring two total touchdowns with 12 carries for 55 yards and four catches for 42 yards.

In many ways, Jones' outings against the Bears have been emblematic of his two-year NFL tenure thus far, as he's flashed brilliance, but had plenty of ups and downs. Injuries to Williams and Ty Montgomery brought about Jones' introduction to the Packers-Bears rivalry in 2017. Jones got his first career carries in that Week 4 game and scored his first NFL touchdown in the process. Later in his rookie season, he was held to 12 yards and last year, he missed the teams' first meeting -- also a season opener like this year -- and was injured during the rematch.

Thus, Jones is anxious to go Thursday night.

"I feel like I'm in good condition right now, good shape, going hard in practice, finishing runs in practice and running back to the huddle," Jones said. "You're going to have that added adrenaline, it's Thursday, (season) opener. If you get tired, you probably shouldn't be on the field."

Nevertheless, the Bears defense is hardly smoke and mirrors, having led Chicago to the NFC North title a season ago, finishing third in the NFL in total yards allowed (299.7) and No. 1 in rushing (80.0).

With his experience, Williams knows every carry won't be easy.

But, as aforementioned, he knows everyone bleeds red and he, along with the majority of the Packers starters, is ready to show what the new-look green and gold offense has to offer the NFL's age-old rivalry.

"You're always supposed to have patience as a running back but really we're just going to go in there and do what we planned this whole week and work," Williams said. "They're going to get a few stops but we're planning on just running our offense, and really getting the offense moving."

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