So far, Ty Mont­gomery is log­ging plenty of snaps

Packer Plus - - News - ZACH KRUSE SPE­CIAL TO PACKER PLUS

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.

GETTY IM­AGES

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.

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