Jahmyr Gibbs will be an all-around weapon in the Detroit Lions offense, but running backs coach Scottie Montgomery wants to see a more traditional running back trait from the rookie.
It seemed obvious when he was drafted, and offseason work confirmed it. Detroit Lions rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs will be deployed an an all-around weapon in the offense, as a proverbial "Lightning" to David Montgomery's more traditional workhorse-like "Thunder".
Lions special teams coach Dave Fipp has also hinted at the idea Gibbs could be used as a kickoff returner.
Coming in at a shade less than 200 pounds, Gibbs doesn't scream "physical, between the tackles back." But last season at Alabama, four of his 10 total touchdowns came from inside the 10-yard line. So he's got a bit of a nose for the end zone, which has fueled a couple interesting scoring predictions for him as a rookie.
Lions want to see Jahmyr Gibbs bring the physicality, starting in training camp
When asked what Gibbs needs to show in training camp, via SI.com, Lions running backs coach Scottie Montgomery had an interesting answer.
"Be physical. Just show physicality in every sense," said Montgomery. "I know this guy's skill set from a speed, quickness, mental. I want him to be physical. If you're a tough team, you don't get toughness from the big guys. The big guys are going to be tough. If you're a tough team, you're small guys are tough.""
Despite his not fitting the ideal body type to play with an overly physical style, Montgomery pointed to an intangible reason Gibbs can do so.
"He has it," Montgomery said. "He's got a little bit of an edge that people don't know because he's quiet at times. But once we get in the building and we get behind closed doors, he does have a different level of that. And then, you can't play at the University of Alabama if you don't have a level of physicality to you."
Montgomery is right about not being able to play for Nick Saban at Alabama if you can't cut it from a pure physical/physicality standpoint, as the venerable coach will quickly weed out those who can't cut it. Gibbs has mentioned how Saban's practices are tougher than what he's had in the NFL, at least so far with no pads on.
David Montgomery's role as the Lions' workhorse, and more physical, back is not going away. But the Lions expect Gibbs to not shy away from having that element in his game when it's warranted.