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Packers working on taking advantage of Ty Montgomery's skills

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Packers working on taking advantage of Ty Montgomery's skills

-- There's an influx of talent in the Green Bay Packers' backfield, and Ty Montgomery is part of the question.

On top of questions for whether or not he can stay upright for a full 16-game season—something he has yet to accomplish in his three-year career—the Packers have to figure out how to use him on offense.

"We have to take advantage of Ty [Montgomery]'s skills, there's no question about that," coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday before the Packers' final public OTA practice of the year. "And the offense is suited for that."

Montgomery was converted to running back during the 2016 season and slowly integrated into the running game as the season wore on.

Through the first 10 games, he tallied 29 rushing attempts for 147 yards. He rushed for 162 yards in one game alone against the Chicago Bears, the single performance that put the rest of the league on notice. Montgomery put together 310 rushing yards on 48 carries for three touchdowns in his final five games of the season.

It was the boost Montgomery brought to the Packers' offense that eventually saw him open the 2017 campaign as the starting running back before injuries once again began weighing him down.

It may be hard for Montgomery to compete for a starting job in the backfield now that Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams -- two 2017 draft picks -- are essentially leading the charge. However, McCarthy noted that the team is taking a "running back by committee" approach without a clear clubhouse leader.

"As far as the running backs, all of those guys can play. Ty's had some incredible periods of play for us. What we've talked about since the day the season ended, no one's really gone the distance. ... We like all of those guys."

If anything, Montgomery provides the Packers with an offensive chess piece, similar to what Micah Hyde formerly was to the secondary: someone who can be moved all over the field and plugged into various positions.

In order to do so and be maximized to his full potential, though, Montgomery needs to avoid injured reserve, which is where he's ended his season two of the last three years.

"Ty can play from the backfield and still have the ability to flex him out and get the matchups we're looking for," McCarthy said. "We have plenty of that in the offense."

Montgomery's biggest advantage is being able to create mismatches for opposing defensive coordinators to figure out how to scheme against. It'd almost be criminal for the Packers to leave such a versatile weapon out of their offensive plans.


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 (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

Monty needs to catch the ball more, limit his carries.

Packer Fan's picture

All three RB touches need to be controlled. And more pass catches for Monty and less running carries. I don't see anyone of them as every down back for the whole year. Injuries and fatigue will play a huge part of who plays.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Injuries? Yes. For us, always.
Not fatigue. None will get that much workload that fatigue should factor much.

Hawg Hanner's picture

As Coach Lombardi said "Fatigue makes cowards of us all."

Spock's picture

I really don't think Ty is as "china doll" as a lot of people think; he's really just had a lot of bad luck. I could be wrong of course (there's a first time for everything, lol). You look at the guy and he's built like the proverbial sh**house. That screwy high ankle sprain is a difficult injury to overcome. I had a high ankle sprain on my 'good' ankle in college and kept re-spraining it for another three years. Some athletes start out with a rash of injuries in their first few seasons and then go on to have relatively injury-free careers. I'm hoping Ty will be one of those. :)

cheesehead1's picture

Sure hope you’re right, but his track record with injuries hasn’t been good up to this point. He may be in great shape etc. but the bottom line is that he’s been injury prone up to now. Maybe it’s just bad luck but who knows....Wishing him a healthy season ahead.

Rak47's picture

Dude I had a high ankle sprain from college as well. Rolled my ankle on someones foot coming down with a rebound in the Klotche center. It swelled up like a cantaloupe and I had to cut my sweats off. It took almost two full years before I could get out of bed without it aching.

Lare's picture

I like Montgomery, but he's just such a tweeter there isn't really a place on the roster for him. He's not a RB, nor is he a dynamic WR. The Packers can keep him in a hybrid role but that means releasing one of the younger WR's or RB's to make a space for him on the roster.

Montgomery is just another one of Thompson's guys who just doesn't have a real position on the team to compete for (i.e. Rollins, Ryan, Davis etc.)

stockholder's picture

Ty is great threat. Contract year! Give him the ball as much as he wants it. If Adams can get the money, Ty can too. I hope he gets every chance to run the ball. And this team needs the threat out of the backfield again. I hear the Cha - Ching! It's Monty Time!

Tundraboy's picture

"We have to take advantage of Ty [Montgomery]'s skills, there's no question about that," coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday before the Packers' final public OTA practice of the year. "And the offense is suited for that."

Blah, blah, blah. Where the hell has MM been. It's not rocket science. I'm sure there are ways in a west coast offense to use him, for example in the screen passing game. Hell, in a lot of offenses. Stop talking about how versatile a player he is, and start using him in a way that is.

It's all just talk. McCarthy comes up with some new mantra each year, one that he stubbornly sticks to come hell or high water, such as when he made Ty a RB,and continued to talk in those terms all year. Yes he got injured but how much of that was running him into wall.

I love this team and the potential it always has, but MM has become boring and in turn the identity of the team has suffered. I'm hoping that with Philbin back we will see the Offense that we used to see, the one where they always had something up their sleeve and something could happen at any moment.

croatpackfan's picture

Ask yourself where Ty was. Maybe you'll find the answer why Packers did not use Ty more.

I will give you a hint! IR - try to find what that acronym means...

Tundraboy's picture

And when he wasn't? How well did MM use him? And no need to be a dick about it. Just say it. He was on IR.

Spud Rapids's picture

You're an idiot:

Monty had 10 receptions and was the focal point of the offense. McCarthy has used Monty extremely well when he was available. It's not a McCarthy issue.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I think, Spud, many of us wanted to see Monty lined up as a single back and moved to the slot with 6 or 8 seconds left on the play clock so he could go run real WR routes against LBs and safeties. The stats show that he got targets leaking out of the backfield, and I do remember him running some wheel routes and other downfield routes out of the backfield as well, but not nearly as much as I had envisioned. The OL issues with Bakh missing some games early (before Monty headed to the IR) probably affected our ability to do such things. I give MM a partial pass on it for that reason. I hope we are able to change from one formation to another using the same personnel on the field more this year.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

I wasn't happy with the draft pick of Montgomery as WR.
I wasn't happy with the selection of Slim Trevor Davis either.

Ty looks like a tank, like an Emmitt Smith. But he is obviously not durable.

Aaron Jones is the guy we want to stay healthy and get the most plays....

Nick Perry's picture

I like Montgomery but I'd prefer they used him in a "James White" type role on this team. He's to talented not to get involved in the offense and with his experience playing WR and RB need to be utilized.

The rub to getting Monty more snaps is taking Jones off the field. Jones is the best RB the Packers have right now in terms of running the ball. I can still hear Joe Buck saying "Wow, this guy is really good" when Jones broke another run around the left side to pick up a 1st down against Dallas.

The rub getting Jones all the carries he deserves or can handle is it takes Williams off the field. I was really down on Williams at first because he seemed to almost AIM for the O-Linemen's butt cheeks on each carry. But once he calmed down a bit and started running a foot or so to the right or left of those same butt cheeks he became a RB who actually did do what they said he did coming out. He was powerful AND he really did fall forward for a yard or two extra with each run. He also showed he was a pretty good RB in the screen game when they did run it.

McCarthy has always said he wants to run the ball. The issue with that sometimes was he'd become frustrated with it early and seem to all but forget about it OR he'd only go to it at the MOST predictable times. The Packers have a blend at the position where they can play any kind of game on any surface at any time of the year if they want to. That running game if used consistently could be the missing piece to this offense while the new WR's get up to speed.

Since '61's picture

Nick - excellent post! You covered the topic very well as usual. I really like your idea of using Monty in a James White type of role. That should work perfectly for him. Thanks, Since '61

Nick Perry's picture

Thanks Since '61.. I'm so excited about the 2018 season, excitement I haven't had for the last few years. I guess with Gutekunst actually doing what the other 31 teams do..use EVERY avenue to improve their teams and the addition of Pettine and Philbin being back...It's all exactly what this team needed.

Tundraboy's picture

"I like Montgomery but I'd prefer they used him in a "James White" type role on this team. He's to talented not to get involved in the offense and with his experience playing WR and RB need to be utilized."

Thanks NP. Great post. My feelings exactly and that's my point with MM. I now think that with Philbin back he'll utilize the roster more, throw out a few of his bonehead plays and add some new wrinkles as well. I'm excited about this season. There are lot of pieces in place and with a little health for a change it will be fun to watch.

Nick Perry's picture

Thanks TB.... I agree 100% with you about Philbin. I think McCarthy knew he had become a bit predictable, especially in certain situations and that was a huge reason for the "Scrub Brush" to the playbook. McCarthy isn't going to deviate to far from his offensive philosophies, especially with Rodgers but man o man would I like to see the screen game for example become better. They have THREE RB's who can all catch the ball and bring a little something different when on the field.

One new twist I'm looking forward to is when they go to a 3 TE set with Montgomery or Jones. With a QB like Rodgers that could become lethal depending on the defense. Run? Pass? It will be fun to watch and I think Philbin will be huge in designing those plays.

Tundraboy's picture

I always think back to Bill Walsh and the WCO. Roger Craig etc. We have the players to move the chains whenever we need to and bust off a huge play.

Since '61's picture

I'm confident that Philbin will find an approach that provides about 10 touches per game for each of our RBs. the offense will probably go back to feature one RB during one drive and a different RB on the next drive.

It will all depend on the mismatches the Packers believe they will have during the game planning sessions during the week. Plus Rodgers utilizing RPOs based on his read of the defense at the LOS and even post-snap. If this offense is healthy and the right side of the OL is stabilized this offense should create plenty of mismatches regardless of who is on the field at RB, WR and TE.

As for Monty, he needs to stay healthy. When he is on the field the defense needs to account for him. I'd like to see him get 10-15 touches per game if he can hold up.

Having an abundance of talent at RB is a nice problem to have. Thanks, Since '61

Donster's picture

McPuffy always says he wants to run the ball more. Then he doesn't. With two new tight ends on the roster, you know he is drooling about getting them the ball, well Graham anyway. Monty is in a position that it is hard to find where he is the better fit. I agree with Nick Perry that the best way to use Monty is like NE uses James White. You have RB's behind him now that were always RB's, and have played very well. Making Monty the main back is a mistake in my opinion, just because of his constant injury history.

Hopefully Philbin can make the necessary changes to utilize Monty, Jones and Williams. Of course, it is up to McPuffy to make the play calls. And he has the ability to screw a game plan up. Hope Philbin is on the sideline poking him with a cattle prod to keep fat boy on the plan going into the game.

If Pettine's defense plays 50% better then last years defense, the ability to utilize the RBs will go up substantially, especially late in games to control the clock. The Pack play against a lot of really good QBs?offenses this year. Teams that can put a lot of points on the board. Time management in the second half will make a big difference if we can run the ball with more efficiency. Again, that is if McPuffy uses them.

Guam's picture

I would have more confidence in our run game (regardless of the RB) if I felt better about the right side of our O-line. RG is wide open and if Bulaga can't go early, so is RT. I believe we have two UDFA's (McCray and Patrick) competing for the RG spot and two guys (Murphy and Spriggs) who are better pass blockers than run blockers at RT. Not a prescription for a strong running game. Let's hope Bulaga recovers quickly and one of the UDFA's performs above expectations.

Spock's picture

Guam, I feel more confidence in the right side of the OL since Gute brought in the FA Bell. He might not be near 'elite' but at least he has plenty of experience at RG and both tackle spots. I think the training camp competition between him and the guys coming off IR (Murphy, Spriggs, Bulaga {likely on the PUP}) will be interesting. Gute didn't give Bell a half million dollars guaranteed to NOT be on the 53.

RCPackerFan's picture

Montgomery could be the ultimate weapon in this offense. With the flexibility and the versatility of the offense Montgomery could seamlessly make the offense go from 1 RB formations to 5 WR's.

Lets say the lineup has Adams, Cobb, Graham, Lewis and Montgomery. They can go from 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB to 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, to 5 WR. How do defenses get the right personnel to cover that?

Thats why I think Montgomery will be a huge chess piece for the offense.

With the versatility of the players they have they could create so many different looks with the same players on the field. They have 3 guys who basically can play RB or WR (Montgomery, Cobb, Jones). They have a TE that can play HB, TE or WR (Kendricks). They have 1 TE that is a tremendous inline TE but can spread out (Lewis). They have another TE that essentially is a WR.

That is why I think this offense could be one of the most dangerous offenses McCarthy has ran. The flexibility they have with players and how they can use each in different ways.

That isn't even mentioning that Adams is nearing a pro bowl. Jones and Williams are entering year 2 in which they should take jumps.
Ohh, and they do get a certain QB back...

Spock's picture

RC, Nice post. Only thing I somewhat disagree with is Cobb playing RB. Yeah, he can do it, but if he is used on the play as a RB the odds are he won't be getting a lot of yards. IMHO Cobb should rarely, if ever, be lined up as a RB with all the other options out there for the Packers. I still think that Monty should be tried more at kick returner, but that's just my own bias since I think that even if he's slower than Davis he's a LOT harder to bring down and has some nifty moves in space!

RCPackerFan's picture

Well when I say use him as a RB, I don't mean hand him the ball 5-10 times a game. More/less just line him up at RB along with Montgomery or Jones and they have a dangerous looking backfield. Lets say they line Cobb up in the back field 5 plays a game. At most I want him to get handed the ball would be 1 time a game. But using him there creates different looks and allows them to be creative.

With the versatility of the players they have, they can do a lot of creative things. I hope we see that this year.

MarkLee22's picture

It all comes down to McCarthy, and whether he would use Ty to our advantage. Lots of talk last year about Martellus Bennett, and how he would stretch the field. And then we never threw to him down field even when he was playing and before he became a basket case.

Guam's picture

Spock, Good point about Bell. He could help the right side and even pair with Bulaga when he comes back to form a veteran tandem on the right side.

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