Despite the recent upheaval in an underperforming backfield, the Green Bay Packers might just opt to stay the course in 2017.
Speaking at Thursday’s season-ending news conference, coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that converted wideout Ty Montgomery will complete the transition to tailback in 2017.
“Talking with Ty in his exit interview, he’s a running back,” McCarthy explained. “So he wants to change his number and that’s the way we’re going so he’ll spend the whole offseason clearly working at the running back position.
“Obviously, his ability to flex out and play receiver and do those types of things will be his secondary responsibility, but he will be on the depth chart as a running back.”
It will be interesting to see if Montgomery is given a chance to handle the lead-back role after a full offseason to hone his fundamentals. At this point, he’s more effective out of spread formations against nickel and dime defenses.
His competition for the job might just be a familiar name. In a slight surprise, McCarthy also made it clear that impending free agent Eddie Lacy would be welcomed back with open arms after a pair of disappointing seasons.
“Eddie Lacy, I’d love to see back,” McCarthy said. “Eddie’s going through a medical situation. I clearly understand his contract situation, so that’s really something we’re continuing to work through.”
Lacy is a tricky evaluation for the Packers.
He missed the final 11 games of the season after undergoing ankle surgery in late October. Lacy averaged a career-high 5.07 yards per carry in a small sample size, breaking tackles and extending plays at the second level. On the other hand, his footwork had not returned to the preternaturally nimble form that sparked his success in 2013 and 2014, leaving him as an afterthought in the passing game.
There were even whispers that the extra weight he carried in 2015 had returned by October, pushing him closer to the 260-pound range.
The past two years have taught Green Bay’s braintrust the value of quality depth at the position. Don’t be surprised if general manager Ted Thompson adds to the position in the draft or free agency even if Lacy is re-signed to complement Montgomery.