Heading into training camp, we pondered which rookie runner would step up to push Montgomery for playing time. Williams was the easy guess. Through one week of practices, the fourth-round pick has already earned first-team reps.
Veteran ESPN reporter Rob Demovsky notes that Williams has already “started to push” Montgomery. The rookie even took the first snaps of Thursday night’s practice.
We won’t make too much out of the running back rotation early in camp when tackling still isn’t taking place, but the news is a good sign the coaching staff trusts Williams already.
Williams entered the NFL out of BYU owning the ability to hit the crease and is a capable receiver out of the backfield. What has set him apart at this stage, according to reporters, is his ability to pass protect — something Montgomery is still working on as he makes the full transition from running back to receiver.
“Obviously running the football, that’s important,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “Catching the football as a receiver out of the backfield as well, [and] going back to the pass protection, you can’t stress it enough as far as the overall importance of being able to be in sync with that protection unit, the offensive line and understanding the role they play in the protection game.”
We expect Montgomery to take the bulk of snaps when games matter, but Williams’ progress will be something to keep an eye on during preseason games. If the rookie forces his way onto the field, the Packers‘ offense can become even more diverse.