Four years into his NFL career, Ty Montgomery remains somewhat of an enigma on the field.
In 2016, Montgomery averaged a sterling 5.9 yards per carry after switching to running back. He had more than 800 combined rushing and receiving yards that season.
In 2017, Montgomery’s yards per carry plummeted to 3.8. This came after a full offseason learning the running back position.
Ultimately, Montgomery has become known more for being injured than anything else. He’s missed a total of 19 games in his three seasons, including eight in 2017.
However, Montgomery — as a former receiver — has an interesting skill set. He’s a matchup problem when he’s healthy. The Packers know that and they’ve tailored parts of their offense to take advantage of it.
“We have to take advantage of Ty’s skills. There’s no question about that, and the offense is suited for that,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Ty can play from the backfield and still have the ability to flex him out and get the matchups we’re looking for. We have plenty of that in the offense.”
Along with Montgomery, the Packers have two other capable running backs in Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. We know they are planning to split carries between the three of them to open the season.
So while the Packers will clearly look to take advantage of Montgomery, as long as he’s healthy, he’s not going to be the focus of the running game.
“As far as the running backs, all those guys can play. Ty’s had some incredible periods of play for us,” McCarthy said. “What we’ve talked about since the day the season ended, no one has really gone the distance. That’s why we’re running back by committee approach. We like all those guys.”
In other words, McCarthy is essentially saying we don’t expect any of these guys to stay healthy. If they were all healthy, we still like Jones best among the three. He’s the most explosive player of the bunch.
However, each player has their strengths.
Montgomery is obviously the best receiver. Jones is a big run waiting to happen. Williams is decent as both a runner and receiver, but is easily the best blocker of the three.
The Packers have some options, which is exactly what they wanted. It will be interesting to see how big a role Montgomery has this season, at least until he gets hurt.
Having guys with different skillsets is an asset. We can play the guy that is better at what the defense is its worst at.