One Glaring Hole in the Packers Preseason Game

Ty Montgomery Training CampThe Packers game last Thursday gave us a chance to see the Packers get in a lot of good work and come away relatively healthy. But there was one thing missing. One of the players that I have been looking forward to seeing take the field is Ty Montgomery. Montgomery was particularly interesting to me because of his fluid in-line cutting ability. The guy has all the measurables but when I saw him cut I thought to myself…”I am looking at the Packers next starting kick returner.”

Montgomery got plenty of time on the field Thursday on offense and special teams. He caught every available ball in the return game and had two catches for 28 yards with two more catches that, had he been able to haul them in, would have been spectacular. The one thing Ty did not get to do is take a kickoff out of the endzone. He returned two punts, one for no gain and one for a gain of 14 yards. He made no mistakes but Montgomery’s forte is not going to be punt returns until he learns to two-foot cut to make the first person miss on punt returns. Punt returns are the “red zone” play of the kick return game. Everything is very compressed and we saw Montgomery turn his hips to move laterally on the 14 yard return that he had. It was a good play but rather than turning his hips, a two-foot cut would have given him the chance to get up-field, which is particularly important on punt returns if you don’t want to have most of your yards to be East to West rather than North to South. I have no doubt Ty will do a great job with punt returns eventually, but for now Micah Hyde is a better returner in that situation.

imagesI was really excited to see Montgomery return kicks because as opposed to a punt return, the kickoff usually gives the returner more of a look and more time to set up his return. This is where Montgomery’s in-line fluidity could make him special. This week’s preseason game will likely give Montgomery his chance, assuming that the coaching staff doesn’t decide to rotate another rookie into that spot. But the fact that Mike McCarthy mentioned that kickoff returns was one of the few things they were not able to get on tape…I think Montgomery will be back in the lineup.

So the most important thing is of course to continue to stay healthy, but this new, younger special teams lineup needs to get some work on kickoff returns in a live, game environment. If I don’t miss my guess, we will start to see Ty Montgomery show that he can improve the Packers starting field position on a regular basis. If he can do that, he will easily win a spot on the team. And more importantly, opposing defenses will have to deal with a relentless Packers offense that has less and less yards to cover before hitting paydirt.

Go Pack!

One Glaring Hole in the Packers Preseason Game
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