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Services Of "Multi-Positional" Ty Montgomery Can Still Be Maximized

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Services Of "Multi-Positional" Ty Montgomery Can Still Be Maximized

-- Ty Montgomery is a running back. Entering 2018, there likely won't be too many questions about that.

His outlook as a playmaker, however, opens a door to a whole world of questions regarding his playing time, usage, schematic fit and everything in-between.

Whether it's lined up in the backfield as a tailback or split out in the slot as a receiver where he was originally drafted out of Stanford in 2015, the Green Bay Packers' 6-0, 216-pound Montgomery presents a multitude of complex mismatches for opposing defenses to figure out.

Their best bet is to find a way to get him on the field one way or another. But in order to do that, he needs to stay upright in a competitive backfield that now features two running backs coming off of impressive rookie seasons, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.

"Jamaal and Aaron did a lot of good things," coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. "Probably the most important statistic -- for me -- in evaluating players moving forward to the next season is availability. I have a depth chart board in my office that has their picture, their original tag, their number and a tag of their play time. Play time is a reflection of availability."

The availability that McCarthy referenced hasn't been kind to Montgomery. He finished the 2015 season on injured reserve due to an ankle injury and had his playing time limited in 2016 because of a sickle-cell trait. He later left two o fthe Packers' three playoff games early that season with a knee and rib injury, respectively.

2017 certainly was the most challenging for Montgomery, as he broke his ribs in a late-September Thursday night game against the Chicago Bears and then re-injured his ribs six weeks later; also against the Bears.

Despite the similar injuries, he was later placed on injured reserve for season-ending surgery on a wrist injury. Montgomery has played in 29 of 48 possible games since his rookie season.

"None of our running backs this year were available for the whole season. That's the first hurdle, that's the first challenge they need to meet," McCarthy said.

Montgomery's lack of consistency with staying healthy doesn't bode well for his hard-nosed running style. Many times he's lowered his shoulders to absorb contact rather than ducking out of bounds or taking every possible route to avoid contact. It's one of the qualities that has helped Montgomery make some noise amidst his transition from receiver to running back.

There may very well be less of those opportunities in 2018 for Montgomery, based off of how McCarthy described his situation. The Packers may very well rotate Montgomery to receiver more often than allowing him to take an extended workload out of the backfield.

"In Ty's particular case, his availability the last three years has been his challenge. He's a multi-positional player. He's a running back. He gives us great flexibility to use him so many different ways. That won't change. We're going to need all of those guys next year, so that's going to be our approach."

New general manager, Brian Gutekunst, isn't oblivious to Montgomery's athletic gifts, either. Nor his potential ability to provide the team with another pass-catching threat at a skill position that may require Montgomery play somewhat of a bigger role at.

Gutekunst described Montgomery as "a guy we can kind of plug him in where we need him," citing his versatility as one of his best traits.

The only true certainty in the Packers' backfield is that, between Williams and Jones, they have the duo that will spearhead the position. In limbo is the second-year Devante Mays who will likely round out the bottom of the depth chart, barring any changes between now and camp.

In the middle of it all is Montgomery, whose biggest challenge -- even above keeping a roster spot -- remains fighting off injury concerns.


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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

John Kirk's picture

Craziest thing I read was this from Demovsky:

Mike McCarthy said Ty Montgomery is still a running back but if he can stay healthier than he has been in his first three years, then he could become more of a hybrid back/receiver.

--What? If he was a WR he'd be healthier. 10-15 carries vs. catch 4-7 passes a game? He'll take a lot less punishment as a WR but he says if his health holds then he'll play some WR? That's backward. He can play some RB if he can stay healthy at WR.

If you're worried about health as he is that stuff from Demo makes no sense.

Bearmeat's picture

This is IMO clearly where he needs to be plugged in - actually further minimizing the need to pay Cobb 10 mil this year.

billybobton's picture

Rob D is and has been on his rep for quite a while now, its a shame...its a worse shame that this is not even the worst or dumbest thing he has up

RCPackerFan's picture

I look at Montgomery as a hybrid player. Not a RB, Not a WR, but both. The great part about that is it creates mismatches for defenses. Defenses don't know where he will line up.

The problem with Montgomery has been his injuries. He has missed a lot of time each year. That's why reducing the number of his snaps would be wise. With Jones and Williams emerging, they don't need Montgomery to have to play RB as much. They can use him more creatively.

One of my hopes is that this offseason McCarthy and Philbin come up with different ways to use their RB's more in the passing game. Jones and Montgomery could be great in that role. They also can use Cobb in ways from the backfield. Being creative with these guys would be a welcomed addition to the offense.
I'd also love to see them put them in the backfield together and create different looks.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

While I don't think Monty was used properly in 2017, in fairness to MM, I don't think the OL was healthy enough in the first 5 games to use Monty in the way many of us had hoped he'd be used. I, anyway, would like to the the OL shored up and watch Monty line up as a RB, and perhaps move to a straight slot WR depending on what AR sees. Let's see what happens with personnel and with Philbin.

Descarte's picture

I think either Jones or Montgomery make for a more dynamic Packer offense than using Williams in the backfield. If you like 3 yards a carry up the middle, with no speed to break it to the outside, then Williams is your man. With the slow receivers and a slow running back, it's going to create more pressure on Aaron Rogers to make plays.

CAG123's picture

I can see you haven’t watched much of Jamal Williams if you think that’s all he offers. He can do things that neither Ty or AJ can do and that’s wear down a defense with his punishing style. He always falls forward and with a smallish back like Jones and a brittle one like Ty his running style is needed plus he isn’t too bad catching out of the backfield.

stockholder's picture

I like montgomery. I think he's still a RB. The Wr is a fringe benefit. IF you remember Dorsey Levens and how many balls he caught. Mongomery should assume that he is "Levens" now. That we may just have Levens and edgar Bennet again. Also this guy is a very tradable player.

Bearmeat's picture

IIRC, Levens was much heavier and "thicker" than Monty - who is pretty tall and lean. Which also could explain the injury problems....

Handsback's picture

Ty's capabilities haven't been maximized yet because of either injuries to him or the Oline. We see a glimpse once in awhile, but never over a three or four game stretch. I certainly wouldn't write him off because the kid can be a very effective RB and pass catcher out of the backfield.
How he can train to make himself less vulnerable to injuries....I have no idea or even know if it's possible. He seems to suffer from the Green Bay injury bug like most players on their roster. I would love to see an article about the Packer's injuries compared to other teams in the NFL.

Savage57's picture

As it stands today, what TyMonty is to the Packers mostly is injured.

No matter what he might be able to do, until he sheds that label, all the conjecture about what the future holds are just some Ron Wolfesque farts in the wind.

4thand1's picture

Screw Monty at RB, he needs to be catching passes. The only reason they put him at RB was because they had no one else. We have other options now , line him up in the slot and out of the backfield with a run or 2 .

Finwiz's picture

Agree 100%

Tundraboy's picture

Exactly, with no real TE (only for the time being I hope) , even more so.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I think Monty is a better RB than he is a slot WR. But if he can't stay healthy then it may be that he can only be a hybrid offensive player.

cheesehead1's picture

Talented player for sure, but just can’t stay healthy.

TXCHEESE's picture

I like the Levens comparison. Monty is plenty thick to be a back. Pairing him in the backfield with another back at times will give defenses a lot to think about. I do think at times his running style leads to injuries, he reminds me a bit of Leveon Bell, with the upright posture. If he can learn to lean just a bit, he would be able to absorb the blows and not give the defender as much torso to hit. Thank the Lord Williams and Jones got some significant playing time last year. They could prove to be a huge lift for the run game this year.

EdsLaces's picture

With AR healthy and Philbin back this O is gonna be nasty.

Spock's picture

Lol. After injuries he now has "chips" on both shoulders :). I guess that means he'll be twice as effective!

Barnacle's picture

Is it easier and safer to be excellent at one job versus two or three different jobs?

Is McCarthy,s obsession with “versatility” contributing to our constant bigger than average injury list?

Drafting guys that are pretty good at multiple positions IMHO will not enhance health or overall team performance above teams with excellent players at many positions.

I hope McCarthy gets no input in player selection.

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