Detroit Lions' 'two-headed monster' backfield is set to be fully unveiled now

It has taken a little bit, but the "two-headed monster" Dan Campbell had envisioned in the Detroit Lions' backfield may be ready to be fully unleashed.
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Back early in training camp, here's what Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell told Sirius XM about what he saw the backfield combination of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs being.

"I think you need a back that you can push comes to shove, he can carry a load, somebody you feel like you can give the ball to 20-25 times a game potentially. And then you need that specialty guy that you know he's much more. You know, he carries the scalpel and he can slice you up. And he can hurt you in the pass game. Potentially. I'm talking about Gibbs obviously get him out there and do a few more things....So yeah I do see a two headed monster here.""

When both have been available, Montgomery has been that 20-25 carry workhorse with Gibbs in a smaller role. But they've also played together in just three of the Lions' first eight games, as Montgomery has missed three and Gibbs has missed two.

Gibbs of course stepped up big in Montgomery's absence over the two games before the bye. He was a bright spot in the Week 7 blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens, totaling 126 yards from scrimmage with his first career touchdown. Then he was even better in Week 8 against the Las Vegas Raiders, with 189 total yards (152 rushing) and another rushing score.

Detroit Lions' "two-headed monster" looks like it's ready to be fully unveiled

At minimum, Gibbs has staked his claim to more touches when Montgomery is back in the fold. That looks like it'll be Week 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers, unless something changes dramatically over the coming week.

Talking to the media on Monday coming off the bye week, Campbell naturally addressed the topic of how the backfield touches will be distributed (via

"I think we certainly know what David can do, but we know that Gibbs has gotten better every week," Campbell said Monday. "We're gonna ask those guys to do things they do well and that help our offense move the football. I don't think, necessarily, talking to you right now, that I see Gibbs getting 65 plays. I don't see that. But he's gonna get his fair share now, we know what he can be and he's growing. I think it'll be a little bit by committee and make sure we get those guys touches. Gibbs will get his touches."

Back in that August interview with Sirius XM, Campbell noted two backfields from his past. The first as a player with the New York Giants (Tiki Barber, Ron Dayne), then came an assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints (Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram).

Gibbs will surely get a larger share of the workload now. But Montgomery remains valuable as a red zone/short yardage guy, and the guy who will be leaned on to grind away victories late.

"Two-headed monster." "Thunder and Lightning." Whatever label tickles your fancy for Gibbs and Montgomery, the backfield Campbell envisioned back in early August looks set to come to full fruition now.


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