Barber: Packers Were "Amazing" With Montgomery in the Backfield

Ex-Giants running back Tiki Barber went on NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Tuesday to discuss the Packers' latest backfield project.

The talk of the NFC North this offseason has been mostly centered around Ty Montgomery—and rightfully so.

The wide receiver-turned-running back has given good reason for the commotion with his burst onto the scene at the end of last season, including a breakout 162-yard game against the Bears in frigid Chicago.

He averaged 5.8 yards per carry over the Packers' last five regular season games, turning some heads during his transition to the team's starting tailback. Montgomery has exhibited fantastic vision with the ability to get skinny between the tackles and guards as well as exceptional cut-back prowess.

Coaches, fans and opposing coordinators aren't the only ones taking notice of Montgomery, who is entering the 2017 campaign as somewhat of an underrated contributor to the Packers' offense. Especially considering many public media outlets still view the running back position in Green Bay as a "question mark" despite them taking three running backs in April's draft.

Giants' Ring of Honor member and former three-time Pro Bowl running back Tiki Barber even went on Good Morning Football to discuss the Packers' seemingly diverse running game and commend Montgomery's immense skill set.

"They [Packers] were amazing with him in the backfield," Barber said. "145 yards they averaged when he started, 7-2 was their record, he averaged almost six yards a carry. For a guy who hasn't done this probably since he was in high school. Now, he's got the size, he's got the elusiveness."

Outside of his senior year at Stanford in which he carried the ball 23 times, the last time Montgomery played an exclusive running back role was in high school at St. Mark's School of Texas. As a junior in college, Montgomery even earned All-American honors as a return specialist, leading the nation in kickoff return average.

The Packers may have initially drafted Montgomery as a receiver with their third-round (94th overall) selection, but it was clear what his role would likely be. However, Montgomery missed a majority of his 2015 rookie season with a foot injury.

Looking back, nobody would've predicted that the injury-prone, six-foot, 221-pound receiver would soon be taking the brunt of the hits in the trenches as the team's lead runner a year later.

With players reporting to training camp in just over a week, this will mark the first time that Montgomery has had a full offseason under his belt to learn and practice at his new position.

"What I really like about this, is that when you walk five wide receivers out on the field—even if you know that one of them is a running back—you start looking at numbers and counting, 'let's go dime,' you put an extra defensive back in there. Now, instead of a linebacker in there, you have a defensive back trying to tackle a 240-pound running back who is also a wide receiver.

"I love the competitive advantage that [Ty] Montgomery gives this Packers offense."

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (17)

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CheesyTex's picture

July 18, 2017 at 08:39 pm

Montgomery is a tremendous weapon, when healthy. He is tough, and played hard even with the ankle injury. Jacobson is right that defenses will be hard pressed when he, Bennett, and Kendricks are on the field. Big question is whether or not he will be able to take the pounding at RB position. Exciting, in any event.

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Savage57's picture

July 20, 2017 at 07:49 am

So Ty got the Tiki Barber "Seal of Approval"?

Pinch me.

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Bub Christensen's picture

July 18, 2017 at 09:39 pm

Injury prone? High ankle sprain his rookie year and he is injury prone?
And that injury was a NASTY roll up by another player that ended up needing surgery.
He did everything he could to play again and it ended up surgery was the only fix.
Have you saw him up close this offseason ? He talks himself about not having to worry about going over 220# and it shows. First you need to know what injury prone is and second just compare him to other RB's in the NFL.
He was also a very good returner, if you can do that you can run then ball.
Look up his stats after contact last year. The best in the NFL.
They have not a RB the total ability since Ahman Green.
Then look at the total carries Lacy had his most productive years.
His Second year there were eleven games with under 15 carries .

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NickPerry's picture

July 19, 2017 at 05:33 am

I've been on the Montgomery bandwagon along with a few others since Montgomery was drafted. Considering what the Packers were able to do with Cobb, Monty seemed like a more natural fit to do those same things. At the very least it kept Cobb OUT of the backfield which I thought was important when you consider the pounding Cobb would take running the ball even if it was just a few plays a game. That and he was coming off a HUGE season in 2014 and it just seemed like a huge risk to have Cobb playing RB.

I know some still have doubts about Monty playing RB. Mostly about if he can hold up which I think he can without a doubt. He's a "Big Dude" folks. Look at his pictures at his Pro Day running drills without a shirt. Look at his legs and his upper body. The man is built like the proverbial Brick S***house!!! He can hold up! Now he's better equipped to handle the load.

Last year he ran on instincts and instincts alone more less. He's trained for the RB position for a full off season. He's had former Packers RB help him get better in pass protection which was really his biggest weakness. Time will tell how well he picked up pass protection but if he does well it will be hard to get this kid off the field. The possibilities in this offense are endless if all hands can stay healthy. I don't care if it's the best or worst of defenses trying to defend this offense. They'll give everybody fits, and it all starts with Montgomery.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 19, 2017 at 07:14 am

Yeah, both of us were on his bandwagon for sure!

While I admit I didn't expect him to be this good at RB, I thought he could have been a dangerous weapon coming out of the backfield.

What Montgomery showed us last year was that he is a RB. He isn't just a guy who can be a receiver out of the backfield. The thing that really impressed me was his patience, vision with the ability to read blocks and explode through a tiny hole. That part of the game it takes a long time for young RB's to learn.

The offense really took off after Montgomery became the guy at RB. A lot of people want to talk about when Cook came back from injury, which that did help, but Montgomery becoming a dual threat player out of the backfield really made it tough for defenses to predict what was coming.

I understand that he needs to learn how to pass protect. At the same time I don't want to see him sitting in the backfield 75% of the time pass protecting. Kind of like Mathews on the defense, you don't want him dropping into coverage 75% of the time, he is best if used attacking and going after the QB. Montgomery's best skill set is still his ability as a receiver needs to be used as a weapon in the passing game.

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Spock's picture

July 19, 2017 at 07:14 am

NP and let's not forget that the Packers picked up an excellent RB coach last year as well!

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croatpackfan's picture

July 19, 2017 at 07:17 am

You see. We agreed on lot of things. This is one of them!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

Hopefully McCarthy does not stop using him for long spells like he did last season. It's almost like McCarthy can only hold 3-4 concepts in his head at a time to mix into the play calling. All of a sudden 2-3 possessions have passed and he's forgot to run the ball, or call a screen, or attack the seam.

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Handsback's picture

July 19, 2017 at 07:27 am

Many are probably tired of me writing this but after seeing Lacy, Kuhn, and Starks run for short yardage and get nothing....it was refreshing to see how Monty used timing and patience to slip through those holes and get that extra yard or two. That to me was the clincher that showed Monty was and could be the starting RB for the Packers.
Will he be Green good? I don'tknow. I do think he can or will be at least as good as Dorsey and that's pretty good!

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nostradanus's picture

July 19, 2017 at 07:32 am

Yes I love Monty's skill set in the backfield, when he was drafted I envisioned him as that hybrid weapon as a RB-WR-KR, there is just so much the Packers can do with him. What a great chess piece to have in this offense!
He really has it all, size, speed, smarts, instincts, patience, excellent hands. I do not think he's a "bell cow" running back (nor do they need him to be that). He is a weapon pure and simple, let guys like J. Williams take some of the load off him a bit as it is a long season. Monty is going to be the darling for the fantasy football freaks for sure. With the bevy of weapons the Packers boast on offense, Monty will be a major nightmare for opposing defenses. Cant wait!
NostraDANus "the optimistic Packers mystic"

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

July 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

I agree Monty is best used leading a good rotation, not pounding away as a bellcow. I'd like to see about 18-20 touches per game, with our rookies getting about 8-12 touches.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

July 19, 2017 at 09:44 am

What were Montgomery's stats outside of the Chicago game?

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Packer_Fan's picture

July 19, 2017 at 11:33 am

I have a different viewpoint on all of this. The Pack had bad problems with RB last year. Lacy was out for the season and Starks ineffective. They bought in a few RB's but none of them worked out. They finally adapted and used Montgomery and Ripowski and again became effective. CB, a similar scenario but very different results. They lost Shields and injuries to the other starting CB and backup. They adaptive for some games but got blown out in others..

So, injuries will happen this year. How will the Pack adapt? What position group if they lose a starter for the year and one or two more injuries will cause a major breakdown. RB, OL, OLB... who knows. How healthy at the end of the season will make a huge difference. Health with along how fast of a start the Pack will have will have big implications. And along with the younger players developing and becoming starters or dependable backups.

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MarkLee22's picture

July 19, 2017 at 03:04 pm

I said it before, and again, I am not against Monty as the starting back, but I feel before the end of the year Jamal Williams will be getting at least as many if not more carries as Monty. That's not a knock on Monty at all but I just think it's in the teams best interest to use them both.

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kubyskins2132's picture

July 20, 2017 at 06:46 am

Montgomery can clearly handle the workload of a number one running back he's 220 pounds pure muscle with thick muscular legs Which allowed him to be a running back with most yards after contact so I all this talk about him not being able to handle being the main running back is hogwash along with him being injury prone his false as well. Clearly when he became running back the Packers offense started playing way better because the defense didn't know if It was a run or pass because of his ability to catch the ball. If you watched the film you can clearly see that Montgomery has the skills to play running back he reminds me of bell when I watch the film with his patience and ability to see the cut back lane and wait for the blocking to set up. So I see a big year. At least 1200 yards rushing and 600 receiving. I think he has the skill set to eventually be 1000 rushing 1000 receiving back in this league .

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VollmerLV426's picture

July 20, 2017 at 08:25 am

I've never been worried about the RB position. Montgomery passed the eye test with flying colors last season and with a full off season to prep I say LOOK OUT! Don't understand all the "can he take the pounding?" talk. Ty will handle it as well if not better than most RBs. He's physically built for it. Theres not a RB in the league that doesn't get banged up and less effective from time to time. That is why it is so hard for RBs to sign long term big contracts. With defenses having to plan for Rodgers and all the other weapons I think Ty will have a 1000 yard season with 10 TDs total pass and rush.

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Oppy's picture

July 20, 2017 at 09:46 pm

Not a comparison in talent, but simply in running style:
Le'veon Bell.

So similar, it's actually a little eerie.

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