The start of Ty Montgomery’s tenure with the Patriots hasn’t gone the way anyone hoped. But in New England’s 2023 season opener, Montgomery’s hybrid receiver-running back role finally began to come into focus.
Although Montgomery’s offensive usage was rather weak against the Eagles, he was comfortable in different spots on the court. In just seven offensive snaps, he lined up outside the numbers, in the slot and in the backfield.
On Sunday, Montgomery recorded one rush for seven yards, two catches for nine yards and returned two kicks for a total of 62 yards, including a 43-yard run. He played 41 percent of the Patriots’ special teams snaps.
“It’s great to have him. He’s a very versatile guy and really smart,” New England coach Bill Belichick said of Montgomery. “He has great skills, plays the kicking game and can do more things offensively. … It’s nice to have that kind of versatility.
The Patriots signed Montgomery in 2022, but he only played in one game before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. A second injury kept him out of most of training camp and all of New England’s preseason games. But, after a brief stint on the practice squad, Montgomery was signed to the Patriots’ 53-man roster just before the season opener.
Montgomery is unlikely to play much of a role in the ground game. New England has given Rhamondre Stevenson the majority of the running back workload while integrating Ezekiel Elliott as the No. 2 option. Still, Montgomery can provide depth behind the duo while blending in with the receiving group .
Perhaps Montgomery’s most intriguing advantage is his ability to scramble defensive packages. If teams don’t know whether to consider him as a running back or a receiver, it can create mismatches.
One of Montgomery’s best plays in the season opener occurred while he was lined up in the slot and covered by a linebacker. Montgomery separated on the play and caught a pass for 11 yards.
A healthy Montgomery won’t necessarily be an offensive mainstay, but he can be an important gadget player for the Patriots.
“(Montgomery) was able to put together a couple of great weeks of work. I’m glad we have him back on the field to work with,” Belichick said.
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