Packers RBs getting 'in a groove' as reps increase
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ty Montgomery is getting much more attention this season in Green Bay Packers camp because of his expanded role on a potent offense.
The converted receiver is now the starting running back in a young, but relatively inexperienced backfield. When Montgomery sits out a practice because of a lower leg injury, like on Tuesday, his absence tends to get noticed.
He brushed off concern about what he described as a "soft tissue" injury as if he was eluding a would-be tackler in the open field.
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"Nothing in particular that happened, nothing major, nothing to worry about," Montgomery said.
It's only preseason, so teams will tend to be more conservative with injuries, especially when a key player is hurt. It is too early to tell whether he will be available for the preseason game on Saturday at Washington.
"Obviously you want to get as many opportunities as you can from a practice standpoint," offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. "But also you've got to be smart."
Montgomery, a third-year player, showed flashes of potential after injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks left a gaping hole last season at running back. As a receiver, Montgomery has also lined up in the backfield at times in a role similar to how the versatile Randall Cobb was used early in his career.
But now Montgomery is purely a running back, and he's the veteran with three rookies behind him on the depth chart. There is a lot for everyone to pick up in the running backs room.
"They can certainly learn from each other," Bennett said.
The absence of Montgomery left room on Tuesday for more reps for the younger backs on the roster.
Jamaal Williams, a fourth-round pick out of BYU, ran for 14 yards on four carries in the preseason opener last week against Philadelphia. Aaron Jones, a fifth-round selection out of Texas-El Paso had no yards on two carries.
"Some of the plays that you're never getting in on are getting called because you're bumped up now. Getting a little bit more reps, so you get to get in a groove. Just learn a little bit more," Jones said about the opportunity for more carries.
In the meantime, the young backs will continue to learn the nuances of the NFL game together, bouncing ideas off each other and helping to correct each other's mistakes.
"So we all help each other out since we're all new to the system, we don't want somebody to get in the game and mess up," Jones said. "We want each other to all succeed."
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn't sure yet if he'll get a series or two on Saturday against the Redskins. Rodgers was a healthy scratch for the preseason opener last week against Philadelphia "I'll do whatever (coach Mike McCarthy) says. … He hasn't said anything about playing time yet. I'll be ready to play if he wants me to, and if he doesn't, I'll be ready for that as well."
"Chemistry was one of my best classes and in real life chemistry is one of my best traits. So I have a lot of good chemistry with a lot of good people, so I don't lack in the chemistry field." -- part of the response from TE Martellus Bennett when asked about developing chemistry in the preseason with Rodgers.
Rookie safety Josh Jones, the team's third-round pick, hurt his right ankle in practice, though the injury does not appear to be serious. "I'm not too concerned, I think he'll be OK … unless something changes, but I think he'll be OK," safeties coach Darren Perry said. The hard-hitting Jones appears to be in line to play a key role off the bench in the secondary.