It would seem the Green Bay Packers have some questions at running back they need to address. Ty Montgomery is not one of those questions.
After switching positions in the middle of the 2016 season, the former receiver will enter 2017 as a full-time running back. And why wouldn’t he?
The Packers used Montgomery sparingly (an understatement if there ever was one) at receiver in 2016. Then the guy ended up leading the team in rushing with 457 yards, while averaging 5.9 per carry.
That last number suggests Montgomery could be a significant factor as a runner. However, the fact that he got just 77 carries on the season suggests Mike McCarthy is hesitant to hand him the ball.
Can Montgomery carry the load of a No. 1 running back (which for the Packers would be about 15 carries a game, tops)? Left tackle David Bakhtiari suggested he can.
“He’s a natural runner,” Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “People take the idea of being a wide receiver a little too literal. He was a big wide receiver, almost 230 (pounds). He’s solid. So when we saw him running, able to break tackles, he looked natural. He’s just an athlete. You put him in a spot and he’ll mold to that.”
All of that’s true. Montgomery is definitely athletic, but what we didn’t expect was his ability to break tackles as a runner. That contributed to that almost six-yards-per-carry average.
Ideally, the Packers would have someone to package with Montgomery, if for no other reason than injuries, which bog Mike McCarthy’s teams down each and every year.
Who would that guy be?
Eddie Lacy would be a fine addition to a one-two punch if he’s healthy. Lacy was averaging 5.5 per carry before injuring his ankle and finishing the year on injured reserve. The Packers could literally bludgeon a defense with a Lacy-Montgomery duo.
Of course, Lacy is a free agent and would need to be re-signed.
The other options aren’t so appealing. Christine Michael is erratic and there’s a reason he’s bounced around the league so much. James Starks, who finished the season with a severe concussion, wasn’t effective in the least when he was healthy.
Both of those players should be gone.
That leaves the Packers with just Montgomery and a hole to fill. It could be Lacy, but it will need to be filled by someone.