When the Green Bay Packers were forced to use wide receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery in the backfield for most of the game against the Chicago Bears in week seven, it seemed that the team had finally found a spark on offense. Green Bay put Montgomery on the field for 60 of the team’s 87 offense plays that week, and the team posted its best yardage of any game this season - 406 total yards.
Montgomery alone was responsible for 126 of those yards on nine carries and ten receptions, suggesting that he could carry a heavy load and be highly effective in doing so.
Now fast-forward to week ten. The Packers trotted Montgomery onto the field for just 22 plays - less than 30% of the team’s total snaps - and he touched the ball just five times. The bulk of the team’s 402 yards yesterday against the Tennessee Titans came to Davante Adams on chunk plays; aside from that, they had little success sustaining drives, especially in the first half.
Instead of letting Montgomery loose, Mike McCarthy kept him bottled up in favor of James Starks. The veteran running back ended up with a stat line of seven carries for 33 yards plus three catches for 11 yards and a short touchdown.
Meanwhile, Richard Rodgers continued to get extensive playing time, even when the Packers went into a no-huddle, fast-paced passing attack. Rodgers picked up just 27 yards on four receptions (seven targets) on the day, a poor showing for someone with his snap count.
The usage (well, lack thereof) of Montgomery is our big question after analyzing the snap count numbers for week ten. What’s yours?
RT Bryan Bulaga 78, C Corey Linsley 78, LG Lane Taylor 78, RG Don Barclay 74, LT David Bakhtiari 54, LT Jason Spriggs 24, RG T.J. Lang 4
Lang was injured on the first play of the Packers’ second drive, and was replaced by Don Barclay. Bakhtiari got hurt in the second half, and Spriggs stepped in for him. Neither starter returned to the game, and their injuries will need to be monitored closely in the week ahead.
QB Aaron Rodgers 74, RB James Starks 55, RB Ty Montgomery 22, QB Brett Hundley 4
Again, what the hell is going on out there? Seriously - I understand that Starks is back to relatively full health, but Montgomery is a matchup nightmare out of the backfield. Furthermore, when the Packers to go a pass-focused offense (like when they get down three scores in the first quarter), Montgomery should absolutely be the player getting the bulk of the snaps. To have Starks play as much as he did and Montgomery as little as he did (especially when you see the receiver snap breakdown) is absurd.
Also a little bizarre is the fact that Aaron Ripkowski did not play at all on offense on Sunday.
WR Davante Adams 74, WR Jordy Nelson 73, TE Richard Rodgers 65, WR Randall Cobb 54, WR Geronimo Allison 18, TE Justin Perillo 14, WR Jeff Janis 10, WR Trevor Davis 5
There are Rodgers’ numbers - why the Packers continue to use him when they are down multiple scores is baffling. And even Geronimo Allison and Justin Perillo were in the teens; can anyone say with confidence that putting those players on the field for nearly as many snaps as Montgomery provided any value to the offense?
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 60, S Morgan Burnett 57, CB LaDarius Gunter 54, DB Micah Hyde 53, CB Quinten Rollins 33, CB Demetri Goodson 27, S Kentrell Brice 21, S Marwin Evans 2
On defense, the Packers appeared to start the day with a focus on the running game, but had to switch to their typical nickel and dime packages when it became clear that they could not contain the Titans’ passing attack - particularly tight end Delanie Walker. Therefore, they ended up averaging more than five defensive backs on the field per play once again.
Joe Thomas 60, Blake Martinez 44, Jake Ryan 0
Ryan was hurt early on special teams, and by default Thomas had to step into his spot. While Martinez played reasonably well, Thomas struggled mightily in a bigger role.
Datone Jones 39, Nick Perry 39, Kyler Fackrell 29, Jayrone Elliott 22, Julius Peppers 19
Here is a big surprise - seeing Peppers’ snap count as the lowest of this group with Clay Matthews still out. Clearly, the coaches see that his heavy usage the last two games has hampered his production. Elliott had a few nice plays on Sunday, with two tackles (both for losses against the run). Jones recorded the group’s only sack on the day, as well as the only other hit on the quarterback.
Mike Daniels 32, Kenny Clark 22, Letroy Guion 22, Mike Pennel 19, Dean Lowry 5
The line continues to shuffle the top four players, with Clark continuing to pull about even with Guion in total snaps. However, the line in its entirety recorded just three tackles - two assists and one solo - with no player having more than one.