Packers Question of the day - Can the Packers Function at Running back?

So it's officialy; moving forward, the Packers will have Ty Montgomery in the mix at tailback alongside Don Jackson and newest acquisition, Knile Davis. 

But can that be effective?

You would've been deemed as a crazy person if you predicted this would be the situation at running back halfway through the season, but the Packers have to make it work, much like they did with an onslaught of moving parts in 2010 en route to a Super Bowl. The only question is, can they?

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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 (46)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 27, 2016 at 09:06 am

They won a Super Bowl with Brandon Jackson and James Starks at Running Back so if they keep attacking the whole field in the passing game I think they could be very successful.

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dobber's picture

October 27, 2016 at 09:16 am

I think the question is: can the Packers be a SB contender throwing the ball 55+ times every week?

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Rustyweezee's picture

October 27, 2016 at 09:22 am

Yes, they can function. I think it's obvious over that past ten-plus years that NFL GMs have figured out that they don't need to invest either a high draft pick or big contract money in the RB position. Yes, the most talented RBs are an advantage, but the fall-off to 2nd tier of RBs isn't a steep drop in production. But an un-drafted rookie & another team's 4th string guy has a chance to negatively impact the offense.

The better news is that Ty Montgomery has just shown he not only has enough ability to be a functional-to-good RB, he may have shown the Packers how to best use him. Running out into the passing pattern from the RB position could be an important element in fixing the Packers sagging passing game.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 09:45 am

I think the best thing to come from the Dallas loss was they finally figured out how to best use Montgomery.
They really expanded on it against the Bears.

Having Montgomery as a receiver out of the backfield really gives Rodgers something he hasn't had in the past. A RB that can run routes and be a true weapon out of the backfield.

I am looking forward to seeing how they use him more on Sunday.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 27, 2016 at 12:18 pm

He also seams to be a good enough runner that the DL can't just ignore him either.

I'm looking forward to seeing him block. If he can pickup a blitzer too he's gonna earn some money for his family out of the backfield.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 12:38 pm

He did have 60 rushing yards on 9 attempts. An average of 6.7 yards per carry. He had the long of 30 yards, which honestly if he can rip off one of those runs every so often. It will really force defenses to respect his running ability.

Honestly. I'm not really concerned with him blocking. Maybe throw a chip block on Beasley or something a few times sunday. But I would rather him just get into a pattern right away and be a dump off option for Rodgers.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 09:23 am

The way they ran the offense against the Bears, can be very effective. Actually I think it might end up being our best offense.

It spreads teams out. It is using the entire field and it puts a lot more speed on the field which stresses most defenses.

They will need to continue to establish some sort of a running game to take pressure off of Rodgers. Also they do need to figure out who can be used in short yardage situations.
That being said the part of the game that no one really talks about is the Packers still rushed for over 100 yards against the Bears. They averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Which is good.

I am looking forward to seeing how the offense looks on Sunday.

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dobber's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:07 am

"I am looking forward to seeing how the offense looks on Sunday."

Sunday will tell us a lot...
1. ...have the Packers committed, scheme-wise, to this short-passing, WR as RB approach now that another back (Knile Davis) has had a chance to begin to acculturate to the Packers? Or, will they go back to an Eddie Lacy offense with Davis carrying the mail?
2. ...how will teams, now that there's more film on the Packers running this form of offense, scheme to take it away? Atlanta has a leaky defense and will give up points. Perhaps this is the best next step up from a non-existent Bears defense a week ago.
3. ...how will the Packers react when teams try to take away #88 out of the backfield? The Packer coaching staff has been under fire for years for being lousy at adapting in-game to these kinds of challenges. Hopefully they've built in a few wrinkles in the 10 days between games.

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Spud Rapids's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:13 am

"how will the Packers react when teams try to take away #88 out of the backfield?"

If we look at comparative players/schemes I would point to the Patriots using Danny Woodhead and various teams using Darren Sproles. When defenses focus on stopping that type of player it results in the middle of the field opening up. A linebacker trying to track down Monty all day is going to result in holes for Cobb to find.

Let's see how MM uses this to his advantage.

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dobber's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:41 am

I like these comparisons.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:38 am

Also the way the Lions use Riddick is another comparison.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:37 am

Sunday will really tell us a lot.

The things offensively that I will be watching are:
-How does McCarthy run the offense? Does he do more scheming and expanding on what we saw against the Bears?
-Do they keep going with the 4-5 WR looks?
-Do they get Davis/Jackson more involved at RB?
-Does Atlanta try taking away Montgomery out of the backfield?
-Does McCarthy take advantage of Atlanta trying to take Montgomery out of the game?

-How do they do in the Redzone.
This to me I think is where the game will be won or lost. If they don't convert trips in the redzone into TD's, I don't know if they will outscore Atlanta. The Packers are the 2nd best team at getting to the Redzone, but the 17th best at scoring TD's in the redzone. Settling for way to many FG's.

Sunday will tell us a lot about our team.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 08:43 pm

Point #3 worries me most.

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Bohj's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:21 am

I think the upgrade there will be hands. My memory keeps running tape of Lacy or Starks dropping the check down passes so frequently. Monty has amazing hands to catch and go. That's assuming Rodgers stops looking for the home run play every time we have third and short and actually takes the check. I see the chains moving a whole lot more with Monty in the backfield. Hope Kniles and or Davis has good hands too.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:19 am

To piggy back off of @Bohj's comment (which I agree with):

The difference in speed should go without saying, but Ty also gets up field quickly. There aren't any wasted steps (jukes or sideways running), which leads to extra yards. Starks (when actually catching the ball) is good at that (see previous year). I really do believe Rodgers won't mind checking down more often if Ty is in the backfield because of that.

3rd Quarter, 2nd & 3, :48 Seconds left

When's the last time we've seen Rodgers check down that soon? And the result is so beautiful.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:55 am

Also in the open field Montgomery is shiftier then Lacy or Starks. He also breaks tackles and makes people miss.

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pacman's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:42 pm

Nobody breaks tackles and keeps going like Lacy

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:40 am

As long as McCarthy doesn't try and force Montgomery to be a pounding RB and keeps doing what he did against the Bears, Montgomery definitely is an upgrade in the passing game.

I really like how they used Montgomery the last 2 weeks. He is a mismatch on LB's/Safety's.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 28, 2016 at 08:48 am

@Bohl: Monty had a serious problem with drops in college. So far in the NFL, he has been fine. Monty has better hands than Starks, but not as good as Lacy.

Monty had a drop rate of 5.3% in 2015 (1 drop on 19 targets in 2015, and so far no drops in 20 targets this season. Lacy had a drop rate of 2.3% in 2013 (1 of 44 targets), 1.8% in 2014 (1 of 55 targets), 0% in 2015 (0 of 28 targets) and 0% in 2016 (0 of 7 targets).

I like Monty because he can run real WR routes out of the backfield. I feel that Lacy generally only leaked out or had swing passes.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:08 am

To win the super bowl? I have my doubts. Monty has a lot of ground to make up with blocking and reads. But we don't know what we have in Davis yet either, and Lacy still may come back - although that would be at the expense of Shields on IR, which is a bummer.

I agree with RC - the 4-5 WR and 22 Personnel (with Cook acting as TE1), is the best way for this offense to function.

It is also vital that Adams plays well enough to take pressure off of Cobb too. And that Jordy regain at least SOME of his explosion as the season wears on to open up the defense.

We shall see. I'm far more concerned about getting boat-raced on defense this week with as injured as we are at CB and now CM3. :(

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Bohj's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:52 am

- RE: Jordy. I don't think Jordy has lost that much explosiveness. We did the typical McCarthian approach to last game where we exploited the matchups we were given. Jordy didn't even have many targets because he just occupied their best cover corner and we picked apart everyone else. The problem with Jordy is the head game. Drops, tips and fumbles. His head game is slightly behind his physical game.
- RE: a possible trouncing by ATL. I would urge people not to use this game as a measuring stick to where the Packers will be come December. There are a lot of moving pieces occurring here. We are not even close to the same team roster wise that started the season. And certainly will be much different when some guys come back or get more reps as the season wears on. I'd say we're running at about half mast. I also say it will take alot to beat ATL. But will it tell us more about us? Or more about ATL overcoming their collapsing modus operandi from years past? Hard to say.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 27, 2016 at 06:17 pm

We're at half mast. We've had injuries, but did someone actually die?

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:28 am

'Maybe they'll see ATL down the road.
Pack will be a different team then.'

Completely agree with this... If/When the Packers make the playoffs, they will be a different team then they are right now. Their RB's will be different, they will have CB's back. They will have a starting TE back.

Definitely will be a different team.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:42 pm

Cow,

I think you are right on here. I'd love to be able to think GB will walk away with a win this weekend, but the match ups just don't favor the good guys. I was really hoping Freeman wouldn't play - that would have really helped.

Doesn't mean we can't win. But it'd be a surprise if we did.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 08:53 pm

"Like I've said... no game's a must win until you've got 6 losses."

What the hell. Is this really Cow?

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Tundraboy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 08:49 pm

RC for Head Coach!!!

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Curry Rambeau's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:59 am

The discussions are fanciful, aren't they? Now McCarthy has become the great scheme adaptor taking the Packers to the next Super Bowl. With sprinkles on top. Ty Montgomery has been anointed as the Sproles/Woodhead of the Packers.

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Samson's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:57 am

All teams heal playing against a team as inept as the Bears. --- The Pack still have to play well and win against the better teams to be more than average themselves.

You're right. -- Suddenly MM is innovative and Monty is going to the pro-bowl. -- As Buddy Holly said --"That'll Be the Day".

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Who said Montgomery was going to the pro bowl?

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Like him or not, McCarthy changed his offense in 3 days. He went with what he had to and it worked.

Also who would you compare how they use Montgomery to? There aren't many RB's used in that type of role. Those are really good comparisons.

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pacman's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:44 pm

It took him 1.5 years to change it! I don't give him much credit for that. Also on AR who was always going for the long ball. Maybe they both just needed some humility. Last year they were able to blame it all on Nelson being out.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 08:56 pm

"It took him 1.5 years to change it! I don't give him much credit for that."

Exactly. Like crediting him for playing Abby and Janis against AZ.

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al bundy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:02 pm

Just what running game did they have with fat ass lacy? It wasnt feared and it didnt stop teams from doubling up and stopping the pass. They let Eddy and whomever have their little romps here and there but Eddy did not put any point on the board in all his romps.

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rdent's picture

October 27, 2016 at 04:00 pm

You do have a point there,prior to the Dallas game Lacy averaged 13 carries a game and ran 17 times against Dallas on a bad ankle of course but how much of a threat is their running game when the starting RB is only toting 13-14 times a game?

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NickPerry's picture

October 28, 2016 at 06:18 am

The number of Carries Lacy had is not on Lacy, it's on McCarthy. He averaged 5.1 YPC through 4 1/2 games. He averaged over 6 YPC the 2 games before the Dallas game. WTF do you want from the guy, stay on the field when subs come in flip McCarthy off as if to say "I'm not coming out"? Go F yourself Mike?

Be reasonable at least, and "al bundy" can't even spell let alone give an unbiased opinion.

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al bundy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:02 pm

Just what running game did they have with fat ass lacy? It wasnt feared and it didnt stop teams from doubling up and stopping the pass. They let Eddy and whomever have their little romps here and there but Eddy did not put any point on the board in all his romps.

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:26 am

Another balloon filled with the air of hope which is fine. Unless they figure out how to stop sticking it with their own pin.....pop....pop.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:52 am

Pop pop!

Sorry, Community reference (TV show). Couldn't help myself.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:34 am

Ty Montgomery is an ankle injury away from being forgotten. So you put a reasonably good receiver in the backfield so you can make 3 yards handing him the ball. The Falcons will play along knowing the ball ain't going downfield.

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dobber's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:42 am

"Ty Montgomery is an ankle injury away from being forgotten"

As is every other player on the roster...

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Curry Rambeau's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

Didn't he recently recover from a severe ankle injury that required surgery that cost him most of last season, off season and training camp. He also didn't play much in the first 4-5 games.

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Bohj's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:56 am

Well.......most of the time the Packers only need 2-3 yards until they get called for holding or they try the deep ball. I'm good with the Falcons letting us take that three yards.

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Since'61's picture

October 27, 2016 at 12:25 pm

The Packers can function at running back as long as the OL continues to make their blocks and the RBs can read the blocks and make their cuts. We know that Monty can be effective but we don't want to over use him as an RB. The question is can Knile Davis and Jackson pick up yards after contact. If yes we should be Ok. If nothing else they should bring more speed than Lacy. Thanks, Since 61

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al bundy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm

My question: do the packers need fat ass eddy anymore? Fans should be livid that this guy thinks so lowly of the fans to eat himself into unplayable condition. Screw him. Send him packing.
How many points did he put up the first five weeks before his ankles gave out from all the weight? Zero
Zero points dont win games

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Grandfathered's picture

October 28, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Easy there, Sparky. Lacy was on pace for 1k yards and was enough to set up the play action. He was surely a benefit to the offense and had looked better this year than last. He wasn't used on the goal line as he could have been, but points alone do not reflect value. He was as needed as any skill position starter

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PaulRosik's picture

October 27, 2016 at 04:57 pm

To oversimplify things the whole idea of offensive football is to create mismatches and get your good players matched against anther teams bad players. In 2010 the Packers won a Super Bowl because Nelson and James Jones were better than what any other teams 3rd and 4th defensive backs could cover on a regular basis. I hope they have discovered the same idea now with Adams and Montgomery. Having Adams as the number three wideout and Montgomery in the backfield gives the passing offense a lot of options. What I would like to see when Knile Davis plays more is that they don't use him like a lacy but they use him more like how they are already using Montgomery and keep spreading out the defense this way. The "variety" of the offense is not there since they are unable to hammer it into the line running but with four and five viable passing options it is still more than a defense should be able to stop.

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