The New York Jets have multiple options to choose from regarding who will back up Le’Veon Bell during the 2019 season. The battle for the job will likely go all the way through training camp and the preseason. Who will come out on top?
The Jets recently brought in Ty Montgomery on a one year, veterans minimum deal. Montgomery, the wide receiver turned running back, joins Elijah McGuire as the current lead candidates for being Le’Veon Bell’s backup.
Both of these backs have good reason for being the number 2 guy behind Bell. Although Montgomery is the more reputable name among the group, the backup role is entirely up for grabs. The upcoming offseason will likely give us the real answer, but who’s the current favorite? A case is to be made for each one.
The Case for Ty Montgomery
Montgomery is extremely versatile for a running back, particularly in the passing game. He came into the league as a receiver before converting to a running back during his second season in the league. He’s caught 92 passes on 127 targets since becoming a running back in 2016.
Montgomery is also a solid runner out of the backfield as well. He’s averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 189 attempts since converting to a running back. You can do just about anything with Montgomery, whether it’s putting him in the slot, using him as a receiver in the backfield, or handing him the rock. He’s shown he can produce in just about any situation.
Montgomery would be a great compliment to Bell in Adam Gase’s offense. Gase used the running back in the passing game often in Miami with Kenyan Drake. Drake was targeted 73 times and caught 53 passes for 477 yards and five touchdowns. Bell and Montgomery is a huge upgrade from Frank Gore and Drake from last year.
The Case for Elijah McGuire
McGuire is going into his third season as a pro, and he’s shown he has the potential to be a solid number two back in the NFL. Former Jets Running Back Coach Stump Mitchell even said that he has the skillset to be LaDainian Tomlinson. LaDainian. Tomlinson. I don’t think he’s the next LT, but that type of praise has to mean something, right?
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) June 15, 2018
McGuire hasn’t gotten significant playing time yet, but he has shown flashes of potential. Although his stats are underwhelming, digging deeper shows what type of player McGuire really is. He doesn’t belong in a starting role, but he is a solid backup for just
He struggled when he was inserted into the starting role, averaging only 2.2 YPC in games that he started in. However, as a backup, he’s averaged 3.8 YPC. He’s significantly better playing as a backup, which would be his role behind Bell.
Both McGuire and Montgomery are more than capable of playing the second running back role, but who should be given the job? Things can change, but as of now, Montgomery is the frontrunner for the job. He beats out McGuire in many ways, and is likely the man for the job for the Jets.
Montgomery’s versatility is tough to pass on. His value in the passing game and the running game will keep defenses guessing every time he’s on the field. Montgomery makes the perfect third down back and Adam Gase will be able to get a lot of productivity out of him.
McGuire is still certainly worth a roster spot, with no doubt whatsoever. If Montgomery plays poorly, McGuire is an easy replacement without any significant drop-off. A running back core of Bell, Montgomery and McGuire would be one of, if not the best trio of running backs in the league.
But, for once, we can look forward to position battles other than the quarterback position throughout the offseason, and this one will be a battle to watch. Who knows what will happen? The Jets could even draft a running back to play behind Bell. The running back position will be one to keep an eye on throughout training camp and the preseason.