In four seasons with the Chicago Bears, David Montgomery had 242, 247, 225 and 201 carries and finished top-10 in the NFL in carries in two of those seasons. So when the Detroit Lions pivoted to him in free agency when contract talks with Jamaal Williams went nowhere, they knew what they were getting.
Despite missing a game, Montgomery is fourth in the NFL in carries (88) entering Week 6, just 11 behind league leader Christian McCaffrey. And if not for being injured in Week 2 (16 carries) and Week 5 being one-sided (19 carries), he'd have even more work. Jahmyr Gibbs missing Week 5 was a big factor, but Montgomery had an uptick in passing game usage (six targets) against the Panthers, and going back to his time with the Bears that has been an untapped area of his game.
After last Sunday's win over the Panthers, head coach Dan Campbell said Montgomery fits the Lions "like a glove." When asked earlier this week about if Montgomery was envisioned being such a "bell cow back", Campbell took the opportunity (via MLive) to expand on the topic.
The Lions always saw David Montgomery as a workhorse, bell cow...
"Yes, we did “I mean, that was the reason for that (signing), Campbell said. To me, that type of guy is always going to be your -- he carries the load. And the other one (Gibbs) is, the change up, he’s going to get plenty of touches; that doesn’t mean those are carries, though. That could be in the pass game. That could be gadgets."
“But, to me, you always want a guy who you know, man, he can, if you need it, he can take on 20, 25, 30 carries. And he has been all of that and then some.”He is a workhorse and he is dependable, he is tough, he is quick, he’s explosive and he’s a finisher, so I’m glad we got him.”
Jared Goff also heaped praise on Montgomery when asked about him (h/t to SI.com).
"He’s a stud. He’s a stud. He’s fit in just perfectly with us and does such a great job every day. And obviously, you guys see him on gameday, the stuff he does, but his leadership, his ability both in the run and the pass, his attention to detail in protection I think is pretty special for a running back, "Not all running backs typically care about that, they want the ball, they want to run. He’s very adamant on making sure I’m protected and making sure he’s doing his responsibility, which is nice to have a guy back there like that. It makes me feel good so, he’s been doing his thing and hope to continue to do it.”
A fair chunk of Lions fans did not see Montgomery as an upgrade over Williams, despite clear evidence he was/is. Thus far, and surely to come, the Lions knew what they were getting and the proof has been in the pudding.