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Cory's Corner: Pass protection is vital for Monty

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Cory's Corner: Pass protection is vital for Monty

The running back position has undergone many transformations. It started as a big, bulldozing back and has now transformed into a versatile receiving threat.

“It’s tough for me because it’s something that I’ve never had to do before, but it’s definitely something that I got better at today,” said Packers running back Ty Montgomery after Saturday’s practice.

He’s talking about pass blocking. That’s one of the pillars of today’s running back, and the other one is catching ability. The quarterback position is arguably the most important position in all of sports and keeping the quarterback upright and comfortable is the difference between winning and losing.

Poor pass blocking is why Reggie Bush has bounced around the league and it’s why Montee Ball couldn’t keep a job in Denver. You can be a running back in the NFL, but you better realize that you’re not going to be around long if you don’t help out your quarterback.

Montgomery is entering his first full season as a running back this fall. And it just so happens that his quarterback is one of the best in the game. On Saturday, Montgomery whiffed on a few blocks.

Obviously, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s something to pay attention to.

“I need to watch the film, fix my technique and I’m going to get better at it,” Montgomery said. “You know I’m not going to apologize for being the best at pass pro(tection) and I never had to do it before.”

Montgomery will be able to be patient at the line of scrimmage, hit the hole with exclamation and be ready to stiff-arm a linebacker. However, figuring out the nuances of pass blocking seem trivial but it’s even more enhanced if the quarterback is a future Hall of Famer.

This won’t keep Montgomery from being the starter because, let’s face it, the Packers are green at running back after drafting three backs last spring.

But it may cost him snaps. If Montgomery continues to whiff on his blocks, then McCarthy will have a hard time playing him on third downs or he may just relegate him to being a situational receiver.  

But if Montgomery truly wants to be the full-time featured back, he needs to figure out pass protection. The Packers won’t win if Rodgers gets hurt or if he is scrambling for his life on the majority of passing third downs.

And amazingly, that can all be reversed with adequate pass blocking. All Montgomery has to do is just get in the way long enough for Rodgers to extend the play and move the chains. 


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

GBPDAN1's picture

Pass protection by a RB is so important and we can look no further for a great example than the last game of the year 4 years ago in Chicago. If Peppers wasn't blocked by Kuhn , the game winning TD to Cobb doesn't happen. That play was the difference between a Division Title and playoff birth, against a bitter division rival, or go home and lick your wounds.

RCPackerFan's picture

That was probably one of the best blocks I have seen in a while.

RCPackerFan's picture

While I agree that it will be very important for Montgomery to be able to pass protect, I just don't want them to have him do it down after down. His abilities as a receiver need to be used.

Much like Clay Mathews in 2014 after moved to ILB he wasn't used like a normal ILB. He was used in a hybrid way which allowed him to be moved around. 2015 came and they essentially had him playing the normal ILB.
When you have players that have clear strengths you can't take that away from them. One of Montgomery's strengths is as a receiver and now as one out of the backfield. I hope they don't take that part away to have someone blocking all the time.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Monty needs to block but Rodgers needs to get rid of the ball on time and not ignore the checkdown as well.

Handsback's picture

Monty may have blocked a rusher before his move to RB a total of ZERO times. It will take some time for him to get the technique down for his hand and feet placements. It will be the 1st and 2nd downs that he needs to concentrate on since I'm pretty sure he will be out in a pattern on 3rd downs.

I'm no scout but just a fan that played the game and my opinion is that Monty is the real thing. I looked again at games from last year that I recorded and was going to delete, and he's just got a patience and power that makes him very dangerous at the LOS. He seems to power his way through to the next level. I can only think he's a natural because he hasn't done that since HS.

I'm not sure if the Packer's new TEs or Monty will have the biggest impact in their offense this year. As a bonus.....they have some young RBs that can back him up.

RCPackerFan's picture

I completely agree. I think he is the real thing also.

His patience, vision, and power to run up the middle is what impressed me the most. I loved his ability to find the tiny crease and explode through it for positive yards. I don't recall many times where he got stuffed in the backfield either. He always seemed to get positive yards.

Last year most people talked about the difference that Cook made for the offense when he returned. Which he did. But Montgomery also made a huge difference when he started to play RB.

I am looking forward to seeing the new TE's along with Montgomery in the offense.

egbertsouse's picture

I agree with those who say that they need to get Ty involved in the passing game and not have him block while AR looks for a 40 yd. back-shoulder to Jordy. He could be a Sproles type player and you don't put in Sproles to block.

Since '61's picture

Given that we now have TEs who can block I would prefer that Monty be used for play action on pass plays versus blocking on pass plays. I realize that there will be times when Monty will need to pick up a blitzing LB or DB but we should be getting the ball in Monty's hands on running plays, screens and play action out of the backfield or motion from the slot. If we're in a game or a situation where the OL can't handle the pass rush or we need to throw because we're behind than put in Ripkowski or even one of the TEs to block for Rodgers. We want to be in a position where if a team is blitzing we make them pay by Rodgers hitting Monty or one of the TEs in the opening vacated by the blitzer. That's how we slow down or stop the blitz and simultaneously get the ball to Monty. Yes, Monty needs to be able to make a block but he will take enough hits running and receiving the ball. We don't need to expose him further with too much pass blocking. We have enough weapons on this team now where Rodgers shouldn't need to be holding the ball because no one is open. Thanks, Since '61

Spock's picture

'61, Good analysis. I think you are spot on with this. If you make the defense pay for blitzing they will think twice about trying it again. Use Monty's strengths. The TE's should make the play book MUCH more interesting this year!

Since '61's picture

Thanks Spock! Agree that the TEs should make things very interesting for the playbook and very difficult for opposing defenses. Since '61

Duke Divine's picture

"and it’s why Montee Ball couldn’t keep a job in Denver." Well, that and alcoholism...

RCPackerFan's picture

I saw a thing today that Ball is celebrating 365 days sober. For him, have to give him props for changing his life.

The TKstinator's picture

You had me at "hit the hole with exclamation"

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