Packers 2017 Recap: FB Aaron Ripkowski

When the Packers season changed in mid-October, the impact stretched far and wide across the roster. One of those hardest hit by the modifications head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett made to the scheme was fullback Aaron Ripkowski.

Ripkowski, selected in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, successfully supplemented the departure of long-time fullback John Kuhn last season. In Ripkowski’s second season as the team’s primary fullback, he saw his playing time drop significantly.

The fullback saw the field for just 180 snaps this season, down from 288 in 2016.

2017 Stats

  • Played in 16 games, started 2
  • 5 carries, 13 yards
  • 7 receptions, 39 yards

Expectations going into the season: High
Expectations were: Not Met

What we said after last season

Packers 2016 Recap: FB Aaron Ripkowski – In limited opportunities, Ripkowski proved himself to be a tough runner, a relatively reliable receiver, and a capable blocker. In Week 11, he became the first Packers player other than Aaron Rodgers to score a rushing touchdown, then went on to power his way for 61 yards on nine carries in the Week 17 win over Detroit that pushed the Packers into the playoffs.

Analysis: Ripkowski disappeared from the offense in 2017

Between Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, Devante Mays, and incumbent starting back Ty Montgomery, the chances Ripkowski would be counted on this season in single-back formations seemed slim.

Brett Hundley engineered a 2017 Packers offense in the absence of Aaron Rodgers that used fewer inverted wishbone and power formations. That change spelled a different role for the fullback, who saw his snaps decrease by a third this season.

Ripkowski’s size – 6-1, 255 pounds – and skills weren’t exactly what the team needed as Williams and Jones took turns racing through defenses.

After the Packers’ late November win over the Chicago Bears, Ripkowski played fewer than 12 snaps on offense the rest of the season. In 2016, Ripkowski played more than 20 snaps for most of the team’s improbable late-season winning streak.

Green Bay carried another fullback, Joe Kerridge, at times this season. It’s unclear whether the Packers see Kerridge as a better fit for their offense in 2018 and beyond, but Ripkowski’s roster spot next season is certainly up for debate.