So far, Ty Montgomery is logging plenty of snaps
The off-season concerns regarding Ty Montgomery’s ability to hold up as a full-time running back are quickly evaporating.
The Green Bay Packers starting running back has been a workhorse on offense through the first two games, playing 139 of 158 offensive snaps and producing 203 total yards and three touchdowns on 39 touches.
Montgomery played only 391 snaps last season and never had more than 60 total snaps in a single game. He was on the field for 74 snaps against the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener and 65 on Sunday night in Atlanta.
Coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers still want to monitor the snap counts so that Montgomery doesn’t wear down over the course of 16 regular-season games.
“It’s something you have to keep track of because it’s a long year,” McCarthy said. “And it’s very obvious that he’s played a lot of football. I think he’s at almost 150 reps in two weeks.”
McCarthy believes the various situations against Seattle and Atlanta demanded more of Montgomery, who has already produced a pair of rushing touchdowns – plus 10 catches for 114 yards and a third score – to start the 2017 season. The Packers emphasized the short passing game in both contests, which meant more of Montgomery and less of his rookie backups.
“Ideally, you’d like to play a little more balanced,” McCarthy said. “There’s a couple of guys that are playing a lot of reps (on offense), and I’m very cognizant of that.”
The Packers have clearly made Montgomery one of the centerpieces of the offense. His 3.1-yard rushing average isn’t flashy, but he’s been able to grind out tough yards against two fast, aggressive defenses, and neither the Seahawks nor the Falcons could contain Montgomery as a receiver. He pro- duced at least one catch of 20 yards in both games. After two weeks, Montgomery is third on the team in both catches and receiving yards.
Rookie running back Jamaal Williams has played only 15 snaps. Fellow rookies Aaron Jones and Devante Mays, who took turns on the inactive list over the first two games, haven’t been on the field for a single snap on offense.
Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said the team is taking Montgomery’s snap count into consideration moving forward, but he echoed McCarthy’s answer about the situa- tion demanding more of No. 88. Playing from behind in Atlanta on Sunday night required the Packers to keep Montgomery on the field.
“We’d certainly like to be a little bit more balanced, but given the situation, it’s about doing what’s necessary in order to win the game. And I think that’s really how it played out,” Bennett said.
Montgomery is currently on pace to play just over 1,100 offensive snaps in 2017. For comparison’s sake, David Johnson — the Arizona Cardinals’ do-itall running back — played just under 1,000 last season.
McCarthy and Bennett are finding it difficult to take Montgomery off the field. The converted receiver has displayed balance and toughness as a runner, and defenses have struggled to account for the many different ways the Packers can use him as a receiver. McCarthy and Bennett have dialed up screens, isolation routes and misdirection plays to get the ball in Montgomery’s hands.
The first drive on Sunday night in Atlanta highlighted his versatility. He touched the ball on six of the 11 plays and finished the drive by muscling into the end zone from 1-yard out. The score was set up by a 23yard completion when the Falcons left him uncovered after he split out wide as a receiver. Montgomery creates issues before and after the snap, which is likely why McCarthy keeps running him out there play after play.
The Packers knew they had something potentially special in Montgomery when he took so well to his move to running back last year. He’s cleared the final hurdle of the transition, showing workhorse ability and reliability during the first two weeks of the 2017 season.
Running back Ty Montgomery (88) has been on the field for 139 of the Packers’ 158 offensive snaps over the first two games. His skill set has made it difficult for the coaching staff to take Montgomery off of the field even though they are monitoring his workload.