It may take some time to sink in for several different reasons, but make no mistake about it—when the Detroit Lions agreed to terms with free agent running back David Montgomery, their running game was instantly upgraded.
Look, we all love Jamaal Williams. Beyond scoring 17 touchdowns in 2022 and everything else he contributed on the field, Williams is a genuinely awesome human. His affinity for anime and hip-gyrating touchdown dances will surely endear him to whichever city is lucky enough to have him next. But even with a charismatic leader like Williams, there is typically a monetary limit to everything, and Lions’ general manager Brad Holmes made a tough decision.
And while we may not know if Montgomery is as entertaining as Williams off the field, we do know how entertaining he can be between the lines. The former Iowa State Cyclone was drafted 73rd overall by the Chicago Bears in the 2019 NFL Draft and has been an integral part of the Chicago backfield each of the last four seasons.
Powerfully built at 5-foot-11 and 224 pounds, Montgomery is a strong, explosive runner—capable of both making defenders miss, and running through a would-be-tacklers face. The kind of back that is an absolute nightmare for a defensive player to make an open-field tackle on. And with the Bears re-working their offensive line during their own rebuild, Montgomery didn’t have a ton to work with in terms of running room in 2022.
Now that he will be behind a Lions’ offensive line that features Pro-Bowl caliber players like center Frank Ragnow and right tackle Penei Sewell—Montgomery will likely find himself in more one-on-one situations with defenders, and that is where backs like he and D’Andre Swift earn their money. Having athletes like Swift and Montgomery in situations like those are the difference between a seven-yard run and a 50-yard run.
My instant reaction: It stings for the aforementioned reasons above, but I like it. There were so many instances last year where I would be doing my weekly film review, and the play would be blocked to near perfection, but if it wasn’t Swift carrying the ball, the lone unblocked defender would usually make the play.
If the initial thought process for this move was to get two difference-makers at running back to really unlock the potential of the offensive line and running game—sign me up.
Do you approve of the Lions signing David Montgomery?
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