Once the Green Bay Packers cut ties with franchise icon Jordy Nelson, there became an instant void in the receiving core. However, they can fill that void with someone already on the roster, Ty Montgomery.
It’s been a bittersweet offseason for Gren Bay Packers‘ fans. While rookie general manager Brian Gutekunst is dipping into free agency much more than his predecessor Ted Thompson, it has cost the fans their beloved Jordy Nelson.
That’s not to say that Gutekunst hasn’t made significant moves, as he’s focused on building the Packers a top-notch defense and finding Aaron Rodgers more weapons.
Jimmy Graham serves as a legitimate red-zone target for Rodgers and Muhammad Wilkerson adds some beef up the middle. Even Tramon Williams is coming back for another stint in green and yellow.
However, releasing Nelson left a void in the wide receiving core and his absence also means the Packers lack a true number one receiver. Davante Adams may one day be a number one but has not done enough so far to prove he is now. Randall Cobb showed he isn’t a true number one during the year in which Nelson was sidelined with an ACL tear.
As for the rest of the group, Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis don’t provide much experience. They’re pieces who Rodgelovesove to throw to but neither have the connection with Rodgers such as Nelson did. Heck, Cobb and Adams barely have the same connection.
Although they will not be able to find a proven number one at this time the Packers still need to add some reliable depth. Free agency has already passed and there are more important needs to fill early on in the draft. In other words, they won’t find an impact receiver right away in April’s draft.
That’s where Ty Montgomery comes in.
Think about it, Montgomery already has experience at the position. He was drafted as a wide receiver in 2015 when he came out of Stanford and played a full year there in Green Bay before being converted. He obviously does not have the connection with Rodgers that Nelson had. However, he has at least played the position with Rodgers as his quarterback and this is something that all rookies and most practice squad players don’t have.
Besides, it seems as if the Packers already plan on using him all over the field. That’s an excellent idea, however, it’d make more sense to use him at receiver more often than in the backfield.
Even while acting as a running back, Montgomery was still a threat as a slot receiver. In 2016, his first at running back, he hurled in 44 receptions for 348 yards. Last season he was limited to eight games thanks to a nagging rib injury, however, Montgomery still stayed true to his roots. He caught 23 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Why it makes more sense to use Montgomery as more of a receiver again is the emergence of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Williams, a fourth round pick out of BYU, and Jones, a fifth round pick out of UTEP, look to have the position under a tight grasp.
If Montgomery were to be taken out of the equation, Jones and Williams would be a fine one-two punch. In fact, the Packers would still succeed if it were a Williams/Jones tandem running attack.
Williams stepped in as the favored rookie last season. After Montgomery’s injury, he was given the bulk of the workload. He ran the ball 153 times for 566 yards (3.6 YPC) in his rookie season. With that, he capped off his first season with four touchdowns and his longest run being 25 yards.
What Williams showed is that he’s more of a bruiser type running back. While he won’t beat you with speed he’ll beat you with physicality and precision.
Williams displayed his power very well all season.
Jones is more of a speed back who can be very shifty running through the holes. He touched the ball 81 times for 448 yards (5.5 YPC) in 2017-18. His longest run was a 46-yard touchdown, one of his four on the season.
Along with speed, he showed his vision and agility that makes him so dangerous.
Think of it this way; Williams comes in first as the bruiser, Jones follows as the speed threat. Opposing defenses will wear down over the course of the game with that combination alone. If Montgomery comes in at any point he brings both speed and power.
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If both can stay healthy, year two should treat Jones and Williams better than year one.
Sure, Montgomery would still be helpful to have in the backfield which is why the Packers idea of using him all over the field is smart. This gives the offense the opportunity to become even more dynamic than they already are.
It’s quite the concept to consider. With three able running backs, the Packers have a chance to throw new looks at opposing defenses that they have never done before. Having the leeway to interchange Montgomery at receiver and running back is a luxury that they need to take advantage of and the key here is having three able running backs.
If the Packers were limited to scrubs as replacements for Montgomery the story would be different. They would have to look for outside help at receiver while keeping Montgomery at running back. However, Jones and Williams can handle the bulk of the load on their own.
Having Montgomery at slot receiver the majority of the time will open up the offense. The Packers will be comfortable having Jones or Williams in the backfield with Montgomery in as a passing option or running option by way of reverses or motioning him to the backfield.
Bottom line, the offense will be wide open.
The concerning factor for all three is injuries. Again, Montgomery experienced wrist and rib injuries last season. Williams and Jones also experienced knee injuries towards the back-end of last season. However, there is a lot of time for all three to become 100 percent for next season.
Moving Montgomery kills two birds with one stone. The Packers will still be able to feel comfortable with two reliable running backs. At the same time, Rodgers will have another close to full-time receiver to throw to. This way the offense will become more dynamic and less predictable than in years past.
Giving Rodgers weapons like Graham, Adams and Cobb will scare teams. Add in Montgomery as another receiver with the ability to play out of the backfield and defenses will be scrambling to adjust.