Packers 2017 Recap: RB Ty Montgomery

Ty Montgomery was a fun novelty in 2016, at least until it turned out he could pack an actual punch as a running back.

But novelty soon wears off, often replaced with expectations. Sure, a wide receiver turned running back sporting number 88 is fun to watch when your team has burned through half a dozen running backs in a season, but when multiple good options are available, fun isn’t enough.

2017 Stats

  • Appeared in eight games with five starts (275 snaps on offense, 5 on special teams)
  • 71 carries for 273 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and three touchdowns
  • 23 receptions for 173 yards (7.5 yards per reception) and one touchdown

Expectations going into the season: High
Expectations were: Not met

What we said after last season

Packers 2016 Recap: RB Ty Montgomery – In 2016, though, what was once a novelty turned into an entirely new profession. Forced into the backfield after injuries to Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and just about everyone else the Packers put at running back, Montgomery thrived. Starting with the Dallas game, Montgomery’s role in the offense grew and grew, until he became both the feature back and (in some ways) the offense’s focal point.

Analysis: Injuries derail Montgomery’s 2017 follow up

After three seasons in the NFL, at least two things are true about Ty Montgomery.

First, when given the opportunity, he produces. He’s touched the ball 233 times in three seasons, piling up more than 1400 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns as he’s done it, including eight games where he’s averaged better than 5.5 yards per carry on five or more carries. Three of those games came in 2017.

But secondly, and just as importantly, we know that it’s a virtual certainty that at some point in a season, he’ll be injured and unavailable. So far in his career, he’s been active for only 29 of a possible 48 games, thanks to a variety of ankle and rib injuries during his first and third seasons and an illness due to his sickle cell trait during his second season.

To be sure, injuries aren’t his fault, and he’s not pulling up injured because he can’t “stomach” playing running back. But he has been hurt a lot, and it hurts the team’s ability to count on him.

Such is the dilemma of Ty Montgomery following the 2017 season. The Packers showed they have enough quality running backs on the roster to survive and even thrive without their Week 1 starter, and with Montgomery both hitting his mid-20s and entering a contract year, it’s fair to wonder if the Packers might be better served looking for a more readily available player, successful though he may have been when healthy so far.

Montgomery’s saving grace, though, might be what got him on the field in the first place: his versatility. When healthy, Montgomery can capably play both receiver and running back, and that dual use capability might be what keeps him relevant in an extremely crowded backfield, especially now that the Packers could be receiving an injection of creativity into their offense with the return of Joe Philbin.