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Green and Bold: What Does Ty Montgomery's Role Look Like Now?

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Green and Bold: What Does Ty Montgomery's Role Look Like Now?

One of the Green Bay Packers' lone bright spots in an otherwise disappointing 26-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday was the performance of rookie running back Aaron Jones. 

Jones carried the ball 17 times for a whopping 131 yards against New Orleans, which is ranked 20th in the league in run defense, and he also found the end zone. Jones averaged 7.7 yards per carry, a feat in and of itself, and perhaps more importantly 3.58 of those yards per carry came after contact, per Pro Football Focus. 

The Packers offense is up in the air heading into the bye week and beyond, but not literally. After all, Brett Hundley only passed for 87 yards on Sunday.

But after Week 7, one fact emerges from all the uncertainty: Jones is the primary ballcarrier moving forward. 

It's great that Green Bay has found a spark in the running game at the exact right time, but what does all this mean for converted running back Ty Montgomery? 

Montgomery carried the rock just four times against the Saints, totaling a mere six yards for an average of 1.5 yards per attempt.

As you can imagine, half his carries resulted in no gain or a net loss of yards. In fact, here's a look at each of them:

Ty Montgomery Carries vs. Saints: Week 7
Quarter D&D Direction Yards
1st 1st-and-10, GB 6 Right tackle 5
1st 2nd-and-5, GB 11 Middle 4
1st 3rd-and-1, GB 15 Left end -3
3rd 2nd-and-10, NO 28 Right tackle 0

Most of Montgomery's usage in the run game came on that one drive in the first quarter, Green Bay's third of the game, in which it led by seven points.

It had become clear by that point that Mike McCarthy and Edgar Bennett were attempting to limit Hundley's passing so as to prevent turnovers; he had attempted just two passes up until that point. 

But it was Jones, not Montgomery, who got the call on those first two drives—who was, in fact, the starting back.

And after seeing what he was able to do on the first drive of the game, it's obvious why.

The Packers' first drive was a five-play, 75-yard strike to the end zone. Jones rushed for 70 of those (and the other five came off a defensive offside penalty), including his 46-yard breakaway for a touchdown.

Clearly, moving forward Jones, not Montgomery, is going to be the primary back. The writing was on the wall Sunday, as Jones was on the field for 80 percent of the offensive snaps as opposed to Montgomery's 13 percent.

Not only has Jones earned that increased workload with his play, but it makes sense from given the two players' styles. Jones is a hard-nosed runner; Montgomery is a finesse receiver out of the backfield. 

However, neither the coaching staff nor Montgomery (nor fans) should feel that Montgomery's transition to running back has been unsuccessful.

As a weapon, Montgomery is most dangerous when he's catching passes out of the backfield, and given the state of things at the quarterback position, the Packers are certainly going to be incorporating more backfield screens into their game plan. 

This is a win-win scenario for the team, and really, for the players, too, except for the fact that Montgomery will never be paid like a No. 1 rusher now. 

Before he injured his ribs against the Chicago Bears in Week 4 (and, of course, before Aaron Rodgers landed on IR), the Packers were literally changing their offense for Montgomery, who at that point looked like their most important weapon.

Now his role is changing, as the Packers almost certainly will move to a power-run game behind Jones and with Hundley's accuracy in question. 

But that doesn't mean Montgomery's contributions won't still be vital. In his press conference on Monday, McCarthy called Montgomery "an outstanding football player" and said that "he's still a big part of the offense." 

That may sound like lip service, but I truly don't think it is. If the Packers are going to find success in the back half of the season, it's likely going to come from the backfield and the short passing game. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

I really thought Montgomery could carry the load and make the switch, but he's never looked like the same guy who ran for 162 against the Bears last season. He's looked tentative running the ball especially when you watch how decisive Jones is when he runs the ball. I still love Monty and believe he can be a huge part of the offense. l would have loved to be able to see Jones and Monty on the field at the same time with Rodgers healthy. I would imagine McCarthy could design some interesting plays using both, not just either or just like Peyton was doing with Ingram and Kamara.

Jones pass blocking and blitz pickup against the Saints was OUTSTANDING. There were several plays Sunday where he did an excellent job picking up a blitz. I actually found myself going back to re-watch a few of his blitz pickups during the game he was so impressive. He's gotten a lot better in just the last 3 weeks with his blocking.

Razer's picture

...I still love Monty and believe he can be a huge part of the offense. l would have loved to be able to see Jones and Monty on the field at the same time...

I too like Monty, he is talented and generally plays with good vision. He should have been rested and Devante Mays given a chance to show his skill, especially with Jones running well. A running back with rib injury behind a banged up O-line is not a good scenario. The coach should know better.

I'll throw this out there - Monty is a typical Packer draft pick. He shows athleticism so we will retrain him to fit our system. Be it, O-linemen, DE, safeties, basketball players or now RB/WR, it is the Packer way to turn him into a remapping project. I trust Monty will pay dividends but we have a whole lot of mistakes to work through (see blitz pickup). Apparently, it is smarter to go through this process than just draft a guy who naturally plays the position like an Aaron Jones. Sheeesh!

HankScorpio's picture

Playing Monty & Jones together means that one of Nelson, Adams, Cobb and Bennett needs to be on the sidelines. The obvious choice from those names is Bennett, who has been a big disappointment in the passing game. But Bennett's blocking has been a big part of picking up the slack for the patchwork o-line.

If they can get their preferred OL starters together for rest of the year, it opens up more choices to mix and match the 5 skill position players.

GBPDAN1's picture

Not to beat a dead horse, but, it would have been great to see this offense play with Rodgers down the stretch. With the emergence of Jones, the O-line getting healthy and the talent at WR, TE and a hing threat like Montgomery, this offense would have become deadly and fun to watch.

With all this talent around him, Hundley must show us something moving forward. The Saints game was obviously a small sample size. I expect Hundley , after 3-4 games, to at least be adequate. If not, he doesn't belong in a Packers uniform! Hoping for the best for BH and the Pack!

The TKstinator's picture

What does his role look like?
Reduced.
(Which, BTW, is still much larger than Don Barclay’s role now.)

Bure9620's picture

Ty Montgomery: Coach my ribs hurt

MM: That sucks, Jones you're up

TM: Coach my Ribs don't hurt as much as I thought I'm ready

MM: Well they should they're broken

TM: No seriously I can play

MM: Umm.. no we're good.

TM: But what about the passing game out of the backfield?

MM: Yeah we don't do that anymore

TM: really?

MM: Yeah we only run now.

TM: I see

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Heh, I just don't get how the coaching staff can think the way they think either...

HankScorpio's picture

Monty should get some touches as something of a utility tool. He can make things happen with the ball in his hands but it is obvious that that bulk of the RB snaps need to go to Jones.

Monty doesn't need to line up in the backfield exclusively. Treat him like a RB/WR/PR/KR.

The Packer offense has always functioned best when they throw a lot of different personnel groupings and looks at the defense. Maybe that was keyed by Rodgers mastery of the QB position and things need to be scaled back for Hundley. But I'd like to see them try it. We already know that putting training wheels on Hundley is a recipe for failure.

RCPackerFan's picture

I completely agree.

Now that Rodgers is gone and Hundley is getting his first meaningful playing time, I think they need to spread the ball and be more creative. I think it would be better to mix and match the offense more often. Changing personnel and looks.

I'd like to see them use motion a little more, and misdirection type of stuff. The jet sweeps with Cobb were a really good start. The read option plays should now be available. Bubble screens would be nice to see.

Watching other teams and the things they do to create confusion for defenses would be really nice to see in Green Bay. Teams with mobile QB's tend to do more read option type of stuff. Hundley would be a good player to do that with.

The bye week hopefully came at a good time, so the coaches can come up with a better game plan for how to attack with Hundley.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Yep, I want to see pretty much everything the Patriots do with White done with Montgomery.

RCPackerFan's picture

Agreed.
Patriots, Saints do so much with their RB's. Other teams, Lions, Redskins do a lot as well.

When you have a RB like Montgomery who has a special skill set being a former WR, you have to take advantage of it. Find ways to get him the ball in space.

HankScorpio's picture

"The bye week hopefully came at a good time, so the coaches can come up with a better game plan for how to attack with Hundley."

Yup. The key word being "attack". They cannot play timid in an effort to limit Hundley's mistakes. They need to trust his training. There is no better example than Aaron Rodgers to grasp the importance of ball security. If Hundley doesn't get it after watching Rodgers, the Packers are doomed to repeat the ugliness of last Sunday, just in different ways.

I do also agree that better run/pass balance is in order. Using Hundley's athleticism to get there is part of it. Lining up with Monty and Jones in the backfield behind means there are 3 legit run options the defense needs to defend, instead of keying on the one guy that can carry the ball. Both look like they can catch out of the backfield, too. So there is a lot that can be done from that formation.

And, of course, everything is going to work much better with the starting 5 OL on the field together and healthy. Through 7 games, that has still not happened. Hopefully it does for games 8-16.

RCPackerFan's picture

I completely agree. They seemed to be timid in play calling against the Saints.
I thought they could have done better play calling wise.

I just like the flexibility and options that those 2 guys can provide to the offense.

Just having our starting OT's back (likely not close to 100%) was a huge help for them.

RCPackerFan's picture

Moving forward I expect Jones to be our starting RB, and we will have Montgomery be the change of pace RB. Which honestly will be a really good fit for Montgomery.

Montgomery's ability as a pass catcher will give them another weapon in the passing game. While Jones is a good pass catcher, Montgomery has proved to be a real threat out of the backfield as a pass catcher.

I think Montgomery will still be a huge part of the offense. I actually would love to see them find a way to get both Montgomery and Jones on the field at the same time. Give defenses some hesitation in what the Packers are doing.

dobber's picture

"I actually would love to see them find a way to get both Montgomery and Jones on the field at the same time."

I agree. The ability to motion Monty out of a two-back (or into a two-back) set will not only force a defense to think about how they cover him, but also (hopefully) make it harder for them to disguise coverages. If it makes it easier for #7 to read, I'm all for it.

RCPackerFan's picture

There are so many things they can do with that look.
With the added read option looks, the hesitation that it creates with the defense could result in some big plays.

If I'm the Packers I'm studying the Eagles with how they use Wentz. And I'm studying the Saints and Patriots on how they use their RB's.

HankScorpio's picture

Agree that there are so many possibilities with Monty and Jones lining up in the backfield. In addition to having run options, Jones is putting to rest any concerns about his ability to function in the passing game.

RCPackerFan's picture

Definitely.

I think both guys can provide a lot of help in the passing game. Last year Montgomery provided a whole knew look as a receiving RB. He was actually running routes out of the backfield. Not just screens or dump off passes. Jones has terrific hands and can run similar routes as well.

Tundraboy's picture

Montgomery finesse player? I also have to question why MM cannot use more than one in any given game. It's like he just received a new toy, one that he can't stop playing with and ignores the other ones. Even then you have to force him to discover what that new toy is in the first place by injury to another player.

Razer's picture

Its the same reason why we have two WRs or a WR and TE running side-by-side down the field on vertical seam routes. This offense relies totally on Aaron Rodgers, his arm and ability to read and extend plays. The scheme of this offense does little to challenge any decent defense.

The Packers needed to get a bright new offensive coordinator that moves this offense into new concepts that Rodgers could crush. This sets us up to maximize our QB's best years without keeping us locked into McCarthy's way. And, it is time for Edgar Bennett to move on. When I hear him speak, I can think of no better company man. I have never heard him detail a concept or outline any part of the offense. Let's get going - the clock is ticking.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes. If only our blind management could gather the courage to make those changes now. Rodgers and weapons galore. It's time. Same with D.

nostradanus's picture

Monty=Gadget Player

Cobb, as much as we all love him will most likely be gone next year, may as well get Monty integrated in the slot role now, third down back, line him up wide sometimes, special teams, a few carries at RB. He's surely not a "bell cow" RB.

stockholder's picture

Cobb will be here. Monty will go back to WR. /Cobb position. Jones is #1. Contracts are contracts. Fire Capers.

Razer's picture

I agree with this scenario. Unfortunately, Cobb will probably go to some team that knows how to use him (NE) and have a very productive end to his career.

dobber's picture

Why do we talk about Cobb like he's 35? He's only, like, 26...physically, he should be in his prime.

Razer's picture

You are right but this is more about Cobb's usefulness in this offense - or rather his lack of use in this offense. Why pay for something that you hardly use. Given that thought, perhaps we should get rid our TEs...

RCPackerFan's picture

I don't get the part of hardly being used.

Currently Cobb has the 2nd most receptions on the team. His snap counts are 62% of the teams offensive snaps so far this season.

He is being used and is productive when used.

HankScorpio's picture

I think the belief that Cobb will be gone is based on his salary. He's not making an impact that jibes with his contract. He's a good player, just not a $9 mil player.

Having said that, I see no reason he can't be a Packer with a lower cap number. Cobb will obviously want a contract that is based on his current one. I doubt the Packers will go along. But will anyone else?

heinzen64's picture

I think we should watch tape on how Atlanta (especially last year) used 2 different running backs who had 2 different skill sets.

RCPackerFan's picture

Atlanta, Saints and New England are all really good at using multiple RB's in multiple ways.

Pauly's picture

I see Ty's future as both, replacing Cobb in the slot when he leaves and motioning out of backfield. He is well suited for both.
Tough, strong, quick, elusive in space. A bigger Welker type.
Have to remember, Cobb is paid a lot and TT needs the money for AR. Cobb will be 28 next August, over the hill in TTs eyes when he thinks a player is too highly paid.
Jordy 33 next season, (now in slot regularly) is talking about retiring soon to take his family back to his Kansas family farm area to raise his young kids.

CAG123's picture

I’m glad this is a topic I personally never believed in Ty being a feature back there are just things a true RB like Jones knows that Ty hasn’t quite picked up on yet he’s just not as decisive with his cuts and seems to run through the smallest cracks for little to no gain. With Ty as the featured back I was honestly thinking we had a terrible run blocking Oline now we see that’s not true. I always saw Ty as that yards from scrimmage type player a guy that can get you 100 plus total yards a player that once you get him going the defense has to respect and account for where he is on the field like a bigger yet somewhat slower Darren Sproles. Ty could be a 800-1100 total yards with 8-10 touchdowns type player.

TommyG's picture

I believe that Jones is a good running back (he has to be to be doing what he is doing with this line). I also believe that part of his success is due to no team having yet game planned for him. That may change by next week against Detroit. I think the Detroit game is the one in which Hundley must prove himself. But what is Monty's role? He is still an RB, just not the starter. He is still a receiver, just not the number one. I think we will see him come in when jones needs a break, and I think he will come in on more passing plays.

Houndog's picture

.....If I'm the Packers I'm studying the Eagles with how they use Wentz. And I'm studying the Saints and Patriots on how they use their RB's......
RC, I mostly agree with you and you are correct, but the teams you mention are playing with their #1 QBs and the Packers aren't. To further that, what most everyone here is saying about Monty's present and future roll has merit.
The bottom line is we first need a QB to run any system or any game plan and to get the ball to whoever. If Hundley looks as inept against Detroit as he did against NO I say give Callahan a try, he's been there in the system a couple years too. What have the Packers got to lose, Callahan might have something to show and WTH, the season is slipping away.
Waiting for (or expecting) McCarthy to change his always perfect game plan might take decades.

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