The toughest offseason decision for the Detroit Lions may well have been signing David Montgomery over Jamaal Williams. The mere thought Williams would leave, or be allowed to leave, was a non-starter for fans.
After a stellar 2022 season scoring 17 touchdowns while showing leadership, Williams was viewed as a player who had to be re-signed. Many felt Williams made the offense go.
Instead, the Lions pivoted to Montgomery. Through four games, that gamble is paying off. Montgomery has scored five touchdowns, rushing for 262 yards. There's an argument he has elevated Detroit's ground game.
Montgomery made his biggest career statement thus far in a 34-20 Week 4 win over the Green Bay Packers. He rushed for 121 yards and three touchdowns on an old-school style 32 carries,
Montgomery's style is better for the Lions offense. He's shiftier hitting the line. When he gets in the second level, he shows breakaway speed and an ability to use an array of moves. He's proven more dangerous than Williams, a straight-line runner.
As he proved after the game Thursday night, his humble mindset is also a positive for the Lions.
""I'm big on preparation. Just preparing myself for whatever it may be. Whether I got to prepare myself for a week (with) 32 carries or if I get three carries, you got to attack it the same way. I'm blessed that I'm here to be a part of a team that trusts me to cary the ball that many times, so it's a blessing.""- David Montgomery
After a great start, Montgomery looks at home. His early work has turned a polarizing decision into another Brad Holmes win.
David Montgomery over Jamaal Williams was the right move for the Lions
When contract talks with the Lions went nowhere, Williams tried to bet on himself and actually got a lesser total deal than was reportedly offered to him. And that Montgomery took from the Lions.
Thus far, Williams hasn't been productive with the New Orleans Saints. In two games this season he has rushed for 74 yards on 27 attempts with no touchdowns. He is currently on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Williams is at age (28) where running backs can drop off quickly. Montgomery is two years younger, so the Lions are getting the tail end of his best years while Williams tries to replicate his career year from 2022.
Before he was signed, Montgomery didn't feel like a realistic pivot if Williams was not re-signed. But it happened, Brad Holmes was right and the Lions are better for it.