Ty Montgomery's Emergence Could Spell Impending doom for James Starks

A day following his astronomical full-length debut on the ground against the Bears, wide receiver turned running back Ty Montgomery has apparently lifted the spirits of Green Bay fans desperately clamoring for the golden days of old-fashioned Smashmouth football.

Smashing the mouths of the opposition is just what Montgomery did on Sunday, picking up 152 of his 156 total rushing yards after contact. It was a performance to remember in which Montgomery averaged 10.1 yards-per-carry and two touchdowns. Believe it or not, the former Stanford Cardinal's 10.1 average on the ground in frigid Chicago wasn't the highest out of the Packers' backfield.

Christine Michael, acquired last month from the Seattle Seahawks, posted an 11.3 yards-per-touch average on just four carries, including one 42-yard run that put the Packers up by 17 points.

It was Montgomery's ability to locate running lanes and get skinny in the gaps along with Michael's elusive, one-cut running style that propelled the Packers to 226 rushing yards. It was their most since they pounded the rock en route to 230 yards against the Cowboys last season. In the middle of their four-game winning streak, the Packers on Sunday gave yet another reason why they would be the last club that any playoff contender wants to see in January.

Since suffering his concussion in a car accident last Monday, James Starks was held out of Sunday's game in Chicago. But moving forward, they may not be much room for him in Green Bay's crowded backfield.

After churning his wheels and becoming the saviour the Packers needed in their fairytale 2010 playoff run, Starks was once deemed as someone who could possess the skillset to be the starting tailback for another team. The Packers were lucky enough to have him as their second-string running back for most of his six seasons, however, in his seventh campaign with the Packers, he has been all but an afterthought. 

He hasn't rushed for over 42 yards in a game this season and is averaging 1.73 yards each time he touches the football, whether on a draw or taking a handoff. Starks has been heavily criticized for his instinctive habit of bouncing a majority of his carries to the outside of the right or left tackle, rather than attacking the gaps set via the offensive line. 

One thing keeping Starks afloat in Green Bay was his pass-blocking ability, where quietly, he excelled. A simple fact that may have been the reason why he remained the Packers' starting running back despite all of the other qualifiers. Protecting Aaron Rodgers with a bad hamstring and a defective calf was priority no. 1, whereas running efficiency loomed tall at no. 2. Thankfully, the Packers may have found an even better pass-blocker than Starks at the same instance they located their starting running back.

After the blowout win against the Seahawks, Montgomery led the NFL in pass-blocking efficiency. It was a small sampling size of 23 snaps, but he allowed not a single hurry, sack or even a mere flick of the finger to Rodgers. 

Starks' contract expires in 2018, but thanks to the way his newly-signed contract is structured, the Packers would be able to part ways with him after this season without taking much of a hit to the salary cap.

ESPN's Rob Demovsky wrote this about Starks' contract terms back in March:

"The way Starks’ contract is structured, they could release him after one year and save $3 million on their 2017 salary cap if he didn’t repeat his performance from last season... Starks will turn 31 years old shortly after the 2016 season ends. If the Packers wanted to move before next season, they would only be on the hook for $750,000 of his prorated signing bonus on the 2017 cap. His $3 million in pay (base salary plus bonuses) would be wiped off their books."

With Eddie Lacy likely to return in 2017 on a new deal as well, the Packers will have all they could possibly handle at running back. Given whether or not Michael returns to the team as well, as he is on a one-year, $725,000 deal signed with the Packers in November, the Packers will have 18 expiring contracts this coming offseason. Three of which would be key players on the offensive line, who are ultimately the driving force behind whether or not these aforementioned running backs are productive.

General speculation has the Packers disregarding Lacy's deceased contract, allowing him to test the free agency market and bringing him back on a cheap deal that would presumably pair him with Montgomery as the Packers' thunder-and-lightning duo at running back. Based on the high praise head coach Mike McCarthy had for Lacy once he was placed on season-ending injured reserve, it could be safe to assume that the Packers will hang on to the 26-year old whom they selected 61st overall in 2013.

Lacy has rushed for over 1,000 yards in two of his first four seasons, including averaging 5.1 yards-per-carry in the five games he played in 2016. He was off to his best five-game start since his rookie season where he averaged just a notch over, 5.2.

__________________________

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].

NFL Categories: 
0 points

Comments (43)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Bert's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:17 pm

Fun watching Ty run. He may not be the prototypical RB but he sure runs like he means it. As long as he gains yards I could care less whether he looks like Barry Sanders or a runaway SUV.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ricky's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:19 pm

Montgomery's emergence has been the most pleasant surprise of the season for the Packers. It could well mean the end of Starks in a Packers uniform. If the Packers do re-sign Lacy, which I would support, they could draft a RB in a year where there are a lot of good prospects coming out. Lacy being the "hammer" and Montgomery being the more versatile third down back. That could be a very effective one-two punch.
As far as Michael is concerned, he had four carries for 45 yards- including his 42 yard TD. He is not an answer, IMO.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:58 pm

Starks used to have a nice quickness where he planted his foot and shifted all of his momentum uphill. He was also good at building up momentum in just a few steps. He would also lower his shoulder and impact the tackler. I remeber him taking Patrick Willis to the ground in 2010.

These skills where a great fit for the Packers Zone scheme. However, I don't see any of this anymore. I think he's finished. 3 million is plenty to bring Lacy and Michael back.

I like a backfield of Montgomery, Michael, Lacy and Ripkowski a lot.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Point Packer's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:30 pm

Given our other positional needs and the likelihood Eddie Lacy weighs well over 400 pounds by now, I really doubt he'll be wearing the green and gold next season.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:41 pm

BS, his ankle can only support 350.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Point Packer's picture

December 20, 2016 at 12:14 am

You'd be surprised the weight a bum ankle can support when you're sitting around all day playing Call of Duty and eating cheeseburgers.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
EdsLaces's picture

December 20, 2016 at 01:42 am

Now that's funny

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
fthisJack's picture

December 20, 2016 at 07:06 am

i wouldn't re sign lacy. let him hit the market and get a comp pick. with his running style he is always going to be banged up. weight is always going to be an issue. we don't need to pay people for being on the sidelines. this draft is loaded with running backs . take a chance on drafting one in the mid rounds. look at what the Bears got in Howard in the fourth round?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bert's picture

December 20, 2016 at 08:00 am

I actually agree Jack. We need to pare down the injury risk candidates or accept the fact we'll have lots of injuries. I like Lacey but given his history and reluctance to stay in playing shape I think we are better served filling his roster spot with a lower risk RB. "Availability" is a big deal.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
TommyG's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:47 pm

If lacy hits the market he will be gone. This will not happen. TT will not let him get there. Next years running backs will be Starks and lacy. Ty will still be listed as a WR and still carrying the ball. Come on, you all, you know how the Ted does business.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Handsback's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:28 pm

I see the Lacy/Monty combo as a very great weapon. They still would need another guy, but a rookie could spell those two. Unless there's the kid from LSU on the board....take any viable MLB or pass rusher.
As far as Starks is concerned, this may be his last year.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Chad Lundberg's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:28 pm

I'm glad somebody has the sense to know the Packers will likely resign Eddie Lacy. They would be absolutely crazy not to. They can probably keep him for cheap. A 2 year, 10 million dollar deal would be a steal. Say hello to the best running back duo in football world!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
fthisJack's picture

December 20, 2016 at 07:09 am

sure, until lacy gets hurt and spends half the season watching Ty carry the rock while he's eating burgers with Gilbert Brown.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
al bundy's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:59 pm

Starks has to be history considering what he has delivered in the past three years, injury wise and all.
Its Lacy that's the question. You can dump him and that big contract, and pick up a third for fourth round running back to complement Montgomery and your all set. Money to spend elsewhere and a guy who wont eat him out of the game.
Two seasons now Lacy has gone missing, collecting checks for sure, but all due to over eating.,

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Chad Lundberg's picture

December 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm

HOW CAN ANYONE HONESTLY THINK THE WAY YOU DO??? You're probably one of those people who also wanted to trade away Aaron Rodgers at the beginning of the year. Eddie Lacy is an AWESOME running back!!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
fthisJack's picture

December 20, 2016 at 07:12 am

i've seen Lacy less than awesome last year when he was 360 pounds. he runs too high and will always be hurt. not worth the money....take the comp pick.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

December 20, 2016 at 09:07 am

The only back of Lacy's type who I can remember seeing play who didn't have injury issues was Jerome Bettis. You are right: big power backs take a lot of abuse and they have a hard time staying healthy. Period. Part of it is the number of hits they need to absorb because they can't run away from contact. Even at Alabama, Lacy was never a speed back and didn't outrun defenders. Part of it, too, is that big backs are always getting caught from behind and tackled in awkward ways. Lacy's ankles have been an issue of guys dragging him down and falling on his legs (go watch the tape), not him planting to cut and having the ankle give way.

Lacy will command very little on the open market. He won't return much in the compensatory equation. RB is a high-attrition position, as we've seen this season. There's not much risk in resigning him to a one-year team-friendly deal (which could allow them to easily cut/trade him), limiting his carries, and using him in a complementary/short yardage role. This is frequently management's MO and I don't disagree with it in this case. Everyone's talking about using a mid-round pick to draft a RB, which is fine, but I'm hoping management will use those mid-round picks to package and move up for impact players to address key positions (edge rusher, shut-down CB) in the 2017 draft. I know, I know...but let me dream a little.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
stockholder's picture

December 20, 2016 at 01:36 pm

I agree with you. Take the comp pick. No one knows the formula. But being we trade guys away for any 7th. I'd take even a 7th pick right now. Lacy would only be a cancer to the packers at this point in his career. And a comp pick is better than nothing. Example Sitton.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dzehren's picture

December 19, 2016 at 10:08 pm

Michael, Montgomery, Jackson & a 3rd or 4th rd draft pick in '17 is the road TT usually takes.

Hard to pay Starks 3M at age 31 guaranteed. If Eddie is out of shape in April, he is finished in GB.

TT can find a UDFA for competition & a younger vet for 1-2MilL ( like a Ronnie Hillman type)

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dzehren's picture

December 19, 2016 at 11:20 pm

BtW- Monty carried my fantasy team to the championship this weekend in a 14 team league!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Point Packer's picture

December 20, 2016 at 12:12 am

The fact that Starks got a contract to play for GB this season is beyond ridiculous. I don't evaluate NFL players for a living and I knew that. Why the hell didn't Ted?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

December 20, 2016 at 09:11 am

Why? Look at last year's stats. He had career highs in carries and catches, and his yd/rush average was over 4. He has the size that management likes and he can pick up the rush. His numbers were good and his deal wasn't a cap-killer. If you're telling me that you were looking at his 2015 performance and could tell he was going to fall off a cliff in 2016, then you're either nostra-frickin-damus or fulla-frickin-crap.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ray nichkee's picture

December 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

I agree but my issue with starks was him fumbling at the worst times. I felt he could work on that but man, he's been laying goose eggs on the field almost every time. He's definitely not the same back as last year. Who knows, maybe Lacy was warming up the hole for him and he was taking sloppy seconds.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
LayingTheLawe's picture

December 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm

What evaluation was that? The one where you look at 2015 and see as a backup he ran for 600 yards at over 4 yards per carry and caught 43 passes? Yeah why on earth do you keep that guy? <<cue eyeroll>>

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Point Packer's picture

December 20, 2016 at 02:56 pm

"If you're telling me that you were looking at his 2015 performance and could tell he was going to fall off a cliff in 2016, then you're either nostra-frickin-damus or fulla-frickin-crap."

Wasn't looking at stats at all. Prior season stats are rarely accurate indicators of future success. I was instead looking at age, running style and the historical track record of non-elite RB's over 30 over the last two decades in the NFL. When you consider those three bits of information, the likelihood of Starks being anything more than what his is, is incredibly unlikely. Its why I criticized the Starks re-signing from the get go.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
L's picture

December 20, 2016 at 03:25 pm

You got to remember though that J.Starks was resigned at an appropriate cost to be nothing more than a back-up and relief running back to the team's starting running back (E.Lacy). And (like dobber said) he possessed the size that the Packers prefer, he was/is good at picking-up the rush, he knows the Packers system in and out, plus his numbers from the prior year didn't indicate that he was washed-up yet. Again, it's not as if the Packers signed him to a contract befitting a starter or were asking him to handle a role of being the starter when they brought him back; plus, I'm pretty sure that when they signed him they were probably banking on someone like J.Crockett or one of the other UDFA they brought in progressing in their development to the point of perhaps making J.Starks expendable.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

December 21, 2016 at 05:21 am

Shhh...rationality is crazy-talk!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
LayingTheLawe's picture

December 20, 2016 at 07:19 pm

He was effective as a backup last season. Lacy was far from a sure thing, so he was signed to be the backup again. It seems pretty no brainer to me. He has not played well this year so he will not be worth the 3 million he will cost against the cap next season and he will be cut. That seems easy as well.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

December 20, 2016 at 01:26 am

"Ty Montgomery has apparently lifted the spirits of Green Bay fans desperately clamoring for the golden days of old-fashioned Smashmouth football."

That's for sure. Along with Michael can't remember last time we had a running attack like this game. Love it!!!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Nick Perry's picture

December 20, 2016 at 07:21 am

Well said TB.. As I watched a few of Monty's runs and Michael's run in particular I kept thinking Eddie would have been tackled for sure. I love Eddie Lacy but unless that contract is LOADED with weight and performance incentives he's hard to trust at this point. If he shows the discipline he did last year, at least before OTA's with P-90X then I'd like to see him back. I'd still grab a RB in the 4th round or so, depending on who Thompson signs. If Lang, Perry, Cook, and Shields are gone for example it's going to be another Draft of plugging the biggest holes and lots of "Hoping" players develop, you know Thompson's formula every year.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
fthisJack's picture

December 20, 2016 at 07:15 am

i definitely want Lang back....even though he's over 30, that guy is a warrior and still has gas in his tank!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
fthisJack's picture

December 20, 2016 at 07:16 am

also, he's kind of an enforcer when someone gets a little too frisky with one of his guys....he'll get in their face.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

December 20, 2016 at 09:15 am

I think the biggest issue for Lang right now is that there's no obvious replacement currently on the roster who could come close to matching his level of play. Spriggs played well in a relief role, but I doubt you want to commit to taking a prototypical tackle, who lacks play strength on the inside, as one of your starting OG. Maybe he could add strength in the offseason, but otherwise he's not the guy. Maybe Murphy is that guy. I think that unless his shoulder issues (and foot issues) are chronic, they're going to be forced to bring Lang back.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Nick Perry's picture

December 21, 2016 at 05:17 am

So I wonder if they move Bulaga inside to Langs spot and kick Spriggs out to RT? Bulaga has been great this season so it's hard to move him over I suppose.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
cuervo's picture

December 20, 2016 at 06:30 am

Pay Lacy 5 million/year...are you nuts? There simply aren't enough footballs for Monty, Lacy , and ??. Let Lacy walk and re-sign Michaels on the cheap. Monty and Michaels are our two best backs...Lacy wouldn't have had any of the runs those two had against the bears...period.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
BigCheese2's picture

December 20, 2016 at 02:09 pm

Exactly my thoughts. Finally watching a back that can take it to the house from anywhere on the field is refreshing.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2016 at 06:48 am

'Ty Montgomery's Emergence Could Spell Impending doom for James Starks'

I would argue that Starks play on the field spelled doom for Starks.

He has just been terrible this year. He has played a lot of good football for us over the years. He has had mistakes throughout but this year he just isn't seeing the field well. He tries to bounce everything outside.

A couple of runs against Chicago where Montgomery and Michael made sharp cuts upfield, Starks would have tried bouncing outside and would have been a loss.

Next year, I would really like to see them bring Lacy and Michael back. Having Lacy, Michael and Montgomery all in the backfield would give us our strongest group of RB's that we have had in a long time.

Michael and Montgomery are already developing into a really nice 1-2 combo. Not bad considering 1 RB has only been with the team for about a month and the other has only been a RB for about 2 months.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since &#039;61's picture

December 20, 2016 at 08:14 am

Until this season, Starks has been a solid RB for the Packers when he was not hurt. As far as I know, until the concussion he has not been injured this year but his performance has been terrible. This should be his final season in GB. Moving forward we have Monty, re-sign Michael depending on price and draft opportunities. As for Lacy I would re-sign him only with a weight clause (must be under 240 to play) in his contract. Even then price should be a factor as well. Previous posters are correct, Lacy would never have made the runs that Monty and Michael made against Chicago. Monty is just a better RB and football player overall than Lacy. I've enjoyed watching Starks over the years but he has become living proof that this is a young man's game especially at RB. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
LayingTheLawe's picture

December 20, 2016 at 12:13 pm

One great game for Monty and he's now a better running back than a guy who went over 1100 yards in back to back seasons? Whew, I don't think I am ready to go there yet. I will stick with being thrilled about this game and see what happens next.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since &#039;61's picture

December 20, 2016 at 08:59 pm

Good approach. Ever heard of Wally Pipp?

Seriously, my comment about Monty being a better player than Lacy is not a knock on Lacy. He had two great seasons, the last one was 2 years ago but I still think that he can be a good back if he controls his weight and decides he really wants to play football. Also, from what I have seen of Monty so far is that (as compared with Lacy) Monty does not leave yards on the field. Lacy leaves yards on the field even when he is playing well. Monty can run routes from any position and catch passes, making him a matchup issues for opposing DCs. Don't forget Wally Pipp. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Razer's picture

December 20, 2016 at 08:40 am

I agree with most of you who think Starks will not be with the Packers next year. As for Lacy, the Packers are in a good position. Eddie's injury and his chronic weight issue are big question marks heading into FA/new contract. I think that is why Lacy stuck around and attended meetings during this rehab. He wants to demonstrate that he can be the man to the team that is most likely to trust his full return.

In the meantime, I too am enjoying a running attack that is lethal. It has been a loooong time since we had guys who could break one and score. Hope MM mixes in some screens, draws and pitches into the playcalling. It may take some pressure off of Rodgers to find small windows and avoid the ears pinned back rushes.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
LayingTheLawe's picture

December 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Regardless of who else is on the squad the headline should be "James Starks' play in 2016 could spell impending doom for James Starks"

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Allan Murphy's picture

December 20, 2016 at 05:41 pm

Eddie will be Minn next x packer bet.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.