There has been a lot of outside noise about the lack of production from Detroit Lions rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. While Gibbs has shown flashes here and there of excellent play, it hasn’t been up to the expectations of some who expected stellar numbers out of the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Instead, that production has gone to veteran running back David Montgomery, who currently ranks seventh in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns.
But if you ask people inside the Lions’ facility, they’re perfectly happy with the 21-year-old’s progress.
“He’s right where I thought he would be, he’s right where he should be coming along at this time,” Lions running backs coach Scottie Montgomery said on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of things that happen in the offseason, we continue to grow our players. We don’t judge our players based on anything else besides achievement.”
And to Gibbs’ credit, he’s actually been somewhat productive. As pointed out by Scottie Montgomery, Gibbs has at least 50 scrimmage yards in all four of his games thus far. Only 20 other backs can say they’ve done that this year, and almost every other one is considered the team’s lead back.
“That doesn’t sound significant, but when you talk to our coordinator, you talk to our head coach, especially when we have the type of room, the type of talent that we have on the field, this is not a team lacking for talent,” Scottie Montgomery said. “So when you have guys in each room that can make plays, at the end of the day, there’s only a certain amount of yardage that can happen on a football field.”
Scottie Montgomery also likes the fact that Gibbs is getting a lot of expectations put on him from outside sources, whether they be draft experts or frustrated fantasy football owners. Because, as Montgomery knows from his own NFL career, that sort of thing fuels players, and is a very important tool for development, especially to a young player.
It also gives Gibbs the experience of handling the negative noises, which Scottie Montgomery believes will help him manage expectations when the rookie running back starts to explode on the scene.
“The same way that he’s having to manage these expectations, in a few weeks he’ll have to manage (when) people are saying really, really good (things) about him,” Scottie Montgomery said. “I think that is very humbling and there’s only one way you can be humble: I think humiliation brings humility. Just being humble enough to when you get to that point where everything is going right.”
Gibbs is currently battling through a hamstring injury and is still considered day-to-day, but it sure sounds like the Lions coaching staff has a lot of faith in where Gibbs is at and where he’s headed in the not-so-distant future.