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Has Ty Montgomery Found His True Calling?

Ty Montgomery was a three-way star from 2011 through 2014 at Stanford University. In his best season there, he had 958 receiving yards, 159 rushing yards, 1,091 return yards, and 14 touchdowns. Of these abilities, kick returning was his best skill. As a junior, he had the nation’s top kick return average — 31.2 yards — and he was named a consensus All-American as a return specialist.

The Green Bay Packers drafted him in the third round in 2015, and planned to use him as a receiver. He got little playing time, however, and then injured his ankle and missed the last half of the season. Prior to the injury, his main contribution was returning seven kicks for an average of 31.1 yards.

For reasons known only to coach Mike McCarthy, in the first four games this year, Montgomery saw only 17 snaps on offense and was held to zero catches. In games 5, 6, and 7, however, he got his opportunity, both as a receiver and a runner. In the three games, he caught 23 passes for 202 yards and rushed 19 times for 122 yards, a 6.4 yard average.

Despite his productive play, over the next four games he was utilized sparingly – getting only 14 carries and nine catches. His involvement then picked up against the Seahawks on December 11: three catches for 45 yards and nine carries for 41 yards.

Following the big win against Seattle, McCarthy declared that Montgomery was now a running back, and Ty responded with a tremendous game against the Bears: 162 rushing yards in 16 carries.

Montgomery’s Body Transformations

Montgomery’s weight has been a topic of interest, but unlike Eddie Lacy, in a good way. Ty weighed in at 221 pounds for the NFL combine in late February of 2015, and he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash – slow for a receiver, average for a running back. However, at his pro day at Stanford on March 19, he had dropped 10 pounds and recorded a much-better dash time. It is variously listed as 4.38, 4.46, and 4.51 – which is why I don’t put a lot of trust in pro day dash times. I suspect the weight loss improved his time by a tenth of a second.

I seem to recall that Montgomery weighed around 205 at the end of last year, and that he arrived at training camp at 212 – having very intentionally beefed up for 2016. In the last couple of weeks, he’s been reported as anywhere from 220 to 225 pounds – and the new bulk and muscle were on display, as Montgomery ripped off runs of 61, 36, and 26 yards against Chicago. I would think 215 pounds would be the ideal weight for the six-footer.

Future Prospects Are Tantalizing

The Packers might have found their primary running back for the future. Much will depend on whether Montgomery can continue to churn out yards, with defenses focused on him, in the next two all-important games against Minnesota and Detroit.

The Packers offensive line, never known as strong run blockers, seemed inspired last Sunday by the team’s new running back tandem. Christine Michael’s 42-yard touchdown run was also an awesome display of power running.

I have one caveat regarding Green Bay’s rising talent. On Sunday, Montgomery appeared to forget everything he ever knew about returning kickoffs. He had four excellent return chances, but was both slow and indecisive. The results were returns of 17, 17, 13, and 10 yards — about 40 yards below what just average returns should have yielded. Unless he immediately improves on returns, I’d relieve him of this task, and have him concentrate on the run and pass game.

In addition to his rushing ability, Montgomery might well prove to be one of the league’s most talented screen-pass threats, but will the Packers employ this tactic against the Vikings on Saturday?

I don’t expect McCarthy is creative enough to spring a wildcat formation, but that is yet another option to consider at some point for Montgomery. Seattle, on offense at midfield last week, unveiled a new option to the wildcat. QB Russell Wilson moved out as a flanker, rookie receiver Tanner McEvoy took the snap, and lateraled back to Wilson, who underthrew an open Doug Baldwin in the end zone.

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Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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20 Comments

  1. PF4L December 22, 2016

    Montgomery’s biggest problem in the NFL was McCarthy’s refusal to use him. When Ty was called upon, all he did was produce.

    I’m torn at TY becoming a rb for a few reason’s.
    1) I love this guy as a possession receiver and i have no doubt he could be a better slot receiver than Cobb, at a fraction of the price. His catch to drop ratio is off the charts.
    2) Ty does seems to be the answer as a 3 down back, something they haven’t really had since Ryan Grant. Much better threat out of the backfield than anyone the Packers have, by far.
    3) Although few have probably thought about this. But can he take the rigors of the running back position? I’m not saying he can, or he can’t. I’m saying we don’t know. The running back position is a different animal than wr.

    I agree with Rob on the issue of returning kicks. I’m watching him return kicks thinking….who is this dude? Plus, getting beat up as a rb is enough violence for this guy, find another kick returner, this isn’t 2015 anymore for whatever reason.. Ty is averaging 20 yards a return, it’s not like your going to have a drop off.

    1. PF4L December 22, 2016

      Rob…..Can you research something for me? You are the expert in research, thus why i’m asking.

      Can you look up….Of all the teams that started at 5-0, where do the vikings fit in as far as historical season meltdowns after a 5-0 start.

      I understand the vikings season isn’t over yet, but we can pretty much guess the rest.

      Thank you.

      1. PF4L December 22, 2016

        Actually, since the 16 game season was implemented in 1978. As i have the results from 1990, where only 4 teams started off undefeated, then missed the playoffs. Ironically, the vikings being one of them in 2003 after a 6-0 start. I guess the stench of failure permanently exist in viking land.

        SKOL!!

        1. Howard December 22, 2016

          That 2003 collapse by the Vikings also put the Pack in the playoffs. The Vikings lost to the 3 win cardinals on a 4th and 20+ Touchdown pass on the last play of the game. If the Vikings win they are in playoffs. Lose and the Packers are in. I still remember watching game on TV and you could see the crowd at Lambeau get more excited as the cardinals came back and finally won. I think the team wouldn’t show the score of the Viking game so the crowd exploding over the Viking loss basically informed the players they were in the playoffs.

          1. PF4L December 22, 2016

            Yea…Both the vikings and the Packers would have been 10-6, splitting games against each other. They also would had equal divisional games at 4-2, but if the vikings won they would have had the edge in Conference record at 8-4 vs the Packers 7-5.

            Am i deciphering that right?

          2. Howard December 22, 2016

            Correct.

  2. Squeezy December 22, 2016

    Not concerned, Ty was a pretty good RB in HS and played RB quite adequately at Stanford. The nutless yammering about him not being able to handle RB as a 220 lb man is idiotic. A player finds his calling and prepares accordingly. As much as the NFL minimizes the RB spot, the Packers found out first hand that you at least need a competent guy. Possession WRs truly are a dime a dozen in the NFL, so it benumbs the mind that ding bats want a #3 possession WR over a true 3 down back?

    1. PF4L December 22, 2016

      High school? You sure you don’t want to go back to Pop Warner?

      In 4 years of college ball and 49 games, Ty had 39 carries, that’s almost 10 carries a season, and almost, 1 carry a game.

      Now here is where i want you to listen close……..A players weight, has absolutely nothing to do how they’ll handle injury’s at rb. The last time i checked Adrian Peterson is built like a freight train at 220 lbs. Does he get injured?

      Darren McFadden is solid at 220 lbs. Does he get injured?

      Arian Foster is a solid 227 lbs. Does he get injured?

      James Starks is a solid 218 lbs. Does he get injured?

      Next time you want to refer to someone as a nutless yammering idiot. THINK, before you post. So i don’t have to point out how much of a nutless yammering idiot you are.

      Thank you for understanding.

  3. Chad Lundberg December 22, 2016

    I know I’m jumping the gun here, and I’ll get flack for this but, can’t help but feel like Ty could go down as one of Thompson’s best picks. He’s proven at WR and could be a true bonafide No. 1 running back.

    I know I’m in the minority on this but I wanna see GB resign Eddie Lacy which they can probably do for cheap and see the two of them running together next year, with possibly having Christine Michael and Ripkowski behind them. We could have one of the best back-fields in the entire NFL.

    1. PF4L December 22, 2016

      They should resign Lacy “only” if on the cheap, at fullback, and for an emergency running back. And i’m even 2nd guessing that because it means getting rid of Ripkowski.

  4. gort December 22, 2016

    I too want to see more screens. They can be a very effective play and their threat can open up other stuff. My worry is how long can Ty take the pounding. This year is a short year for him at RB. That may help the Packers this year, but can he do it with comparable results for a complete season (and maybe longer if we are that fortunate). Maybe a good solution is to sign Lacy (if the price is right). Having both of them could be a very dangerous backfield. As for kick returns, the current rules make it difficult to justify the added physical abuse to a regular starter. Pretty easy to take a knee and start at the 25 in most cases. Occasionally it is a lot better than the result of the all to frequent penalty. Don’t get me wrong, I like the excitement of that big play, but Don Beebe has been retired a long time. Just put somebody back there who can catch the damn ball.

  5. gort December 22, 2016

    I posted my comment, looked back and saw what Chad and PF4L had posted
    The old adage is true – great minds think alike.

  6. Howard December 22, 2016

    What makes Ty good when running is he has a feel for the action going on around him. Ty can press the hole or defender then hesitate, change direction, or speed to his and his blockers advantage, and the opponents disadvantage. You cannot teach that trait it comes naturally. Ty’s speed/burst helps when he makes a decision, but it is his running instinct that makes him dangerous.

    About his durability I don’t think MM ever has or ever will wear down a runner in a season. MM may ride a player hard in a game or two during a season but overall MM will keep running backs fresh for the long haul. The one concern is the illness Ty had earlier in the season against Atlanta then MM appeared to put Ty on a snap count for a couple of games.

    1. PF4L December 22, 2016

      He didn’t have much choice but to pull Lacy and rest him. For obvious reasons.

  7. Empacador December 22, 2016

    Maybe McCarthy accidentally revolutionized the game of football and this will become the norm. I almost said that without laughing!

  8. Ted Hawthorne December 22, 2016

    Howard has it right. TM’s real skill is the ability to use his blockers, CHANGE speed,
    not raw speed, and sense where the opening is going to be–before it materializes.
    I saw this the first few times he had the ball last season; he was a natural in anticipating
    others movements, and had a nose to take advantage of it. He should have been a
    starter immediately, but FatMike can’t see when he has something special. Re:
    Jeff Janis.

    1. PF4L December 22, 2016

      Except for the end around. Janis pretty much lost it when his helmet’s face shield couldn’t catch the football that hit it, then bounced to the ground. Haven’t seen him much since.

  9. Empacador December 22, 2016

    Maybe Trevor Davis will be this year’s Jeff Janis once the playoffs roll around.

  10. Savage57 December 23, 2016

    Or, borrowing a page from Navin Johnson, he’s discovered his ‘special purpose’?

  11. rebelgb December 23, 2016

    He isnt a running back. He runs too straight up and down and cannot drive through tackles. Love the commitment and what he has given us so far, but christ please stop calling this guy a RB.