Competition may not be the Worst Thing for Ty Montgomery

Many questions revolve around the backfield in Green Bay; even more so around the factor of staying healthy.

The last two years have left the Packers at a loss at running back, whether it be players rotating in and out of the line-up due to injury or another being benched for under-performance. Consistency and stagnation have been far from the trend.

Barring anything spectacular with Ty Montgomery, it may not be him that proves as the Packers' three-down back in 2017. Despite coming off a season in which he averaged nearly six yards per carry and was stuffed on just 10.4 percent of his carries, his health remains in limbo.

Montgomery is a robust, powerful runner who at first glance, wouldn't seem to fit that bill. However, despite his ox-like build, he has missed 11 games over the last two seasons including missing playing time in games in 2016 due to injury. A high ankle sprain kept him out for a majority of his rookie season where he was exclusively utilized as a wide receiver.

Evidenced by his low percentage of being stuffed on his 77 carries last season, Montgomery demonstrated the ability to quickly grasp the running back position. The ease in which he handled the workload made it seem as if he had been playing tailback all his life. 25.9 percent of his runs also went for first downs.

Behind Montgomery, the Packers are short on depth. Bringing another running back into the fold may not be the worst thing for Montgomery's growth as a player.

Whether the Packers draft a running back in the early rounds of the draft to compete for the starting job, it could potentially push Montgomery to make his own strides in training camp. At the moment, there isn't much to worry about for Montgomery in terms of losing his No. 1 gig.

Undrafted talent in Don Jackson offers a glimpse of  what could be a spark at the bottom of the depth chart, and clustered between Jackson and Montgomery is Christine Michael, who the Packers chose to re-sign in March.

Michael offers an interesting perspective. After bouncing around between Seattle and Dallas, his stint in Green Bay was prolonged likely to give him a chance at a full off-season to grasp the playbook.

Of Michael's 148 rushes last season, just 31 of them were for the Packers. The other 117 for the Seahawks. He averaged a lackluster 3.7 yards per carry but engineered a breakout performance behind Montgomery against the Bears late in the season. Michael had 14 runs that racked up 10 yards or more in comparison to Montgomery's 12 - but he also had 71 more carries than Montgomery.

The Packers could draft a power-type running back and pair him with Montgomery to form some kind of "thunder and lightning" duo, similar to Lacy and James Starks' early beginnings as a duo. For now, the search drags on for a formidable fit in the backfield.

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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 (10)

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NickPerry's picture

April 12, 2017 at 05:49 am

Unless the Packers were to draft either Fournette, Cook, or Mixon, I think it's Montgomery's position week one. I think we all agree there's a 0.001% chance the Packers move up to draft Fournette. I guess it's possible Cook could fall to 29 but pretty unlikely. That leaves Mixon whom I doubt TT would draft unless he could get him in the 5th or later and that might be a reach.

Montgomery will surprise most doubters he has this season. The value of Montgomery training to play the RB position and everything involved can't be underestimated IMO, it's going to be huge for Montgomery. There may be a competition entering TC but Montgomery will quickly squash the idea he's anything other than the clear #1 RB. Montgomery is a extremely smart, well built football player who is both faster and quicker than anyone to play RB for them since Green.

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packrulz's picture

April 12, 2017 at 06:18 am

Mixon was a first round pick before he punched the girl who pushed him and slapped him first, he said it was just a split second reaction. He has apologized publicly multiple times. I have mixed feelings about him. He can run like Ahman Green and catch like Jordy Nelson, and I will be secretly hoping TT will draft him in the first round. Everyone deserves a second chance, and the only time I remember when such talent slipped to the Packers was TT's first draft pick, Aaron Rogers.

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NMPF's picture

April 12, 2017 at 09:15 am

Run like Ahman and catch like Jordy?If this were the case he could have a video of him stomping ducklings and he would be a top 5 pick. Step away from the bong please.

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Since'61's picture

April 12, 2017 at 07:56 am

There will be plenty of competition at RB by the time TC begins. TT will draft an RB and probably sign one if not 2 UDFAs. As for "Thunder and Lightning" the Packers may feel they already have it with Rip and Monty. Hopefully TT gets some more help for the defense at CB, OLB and ILB. Thanks, Since '61

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Tundraboy's picture

April 12, 2017 at 11:14 am

Unless they are thinking about Blount or some other vet, this is useless speculation. They are not drafting a rb early and any late round pick would not be a serious threat to Montgomery.Besides even if they were MM would not play them over Montgomery. Let's just hope we have a healthy year.

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marpag1's picture

April 12, 2017 at 09:29 am

If Mixon somehow falls into the Packers' vicinity in Round 2 - which I doubt will happen - I could definitely see the Packers taking him. I would take him there, and I think it would prove a steal.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2017 at 09:57 am

I could see a lightning rod like Mixon making it to the end of round 2 and perhaps well into round 3. There's a lot of speculation in the media and amongst draftniks about his value and where he'll go, but none of them are GMs and none of them will have to deal with the media mess that will follow Mixon. I just don't see him going in round 1, but I agree that he might be worth the s#!tstorm at the end of round 2.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2017 at 10:01 am

I just don't see adding a back as being about "competition" in this case. How many teams out there actually have a 3-down back that they utilize like a 3-down back over the course of a game? We're talking about the Zekes or David Johnsons.

Not many.

Almost every team has a timeshare of some sort at RB. Maybe 75-25 or 80-20, but very few teams have that old-school, bell-cow runner that every team seemed to used to have just 15 years ago (much to the chagrin of FFL enthusiasts).

This isn't about competition, it's about protecting your assets. It's about making sure you're not subjecting your RB to unwarranted wear and tear, or about utilizing sub-packages (which every team does). The Packers need a diversity of assets at RB...competition is just the side benefit.

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Tundraboy's picture

April 12, 2017 at 07:14 pm

Well said. Succinct and to the point.

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Packer_Pete's picture

April 13, 2017 at 08:17 am

Competition may be a good thing for every player on the roster... As McC has said, there will be more RBs on the roster. I don't think the plan is to go with who is currently on the roster into the season...
Personally I don't think Montgomery can take the pounding to be a #1 Rb in the NFL, but that's just my opinion. Pair him with a bigger back and this could be a decent backfield come September...

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