The Indianapolis Colts have made some intriguing additions to their coaching staff this offseason, but one such move is modest yet very interesting.
New Colts running backs Coach Scottie Montgomery may be a position coach in the NFL, but he's had a long, accomplished road that's led him to this point.
A former NFL wide receiver from 2000-03, Montgomery had held several coaching positions in college and the NFL, including quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach, passing game coordinator, offensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and eventualy head coach.
Montgomery is now a running backs coach for the first time, but he's got a wealth of knowledge and some weapons at his disposal with the Colts that point to a successful stint.
He spoke with reporters recently for the first time since joining the Colts.
Here are the quick hits.
Whether or not the Colts continue to rotate running backs will come from head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady throughout the week: Although the hot hand gets the lion's share of the carries, the Colts rotate running backs and have a special role for Nyheim Hines. How the rotation begins often comes from Reich and Brady.
First of all, that comes directly from the head coach as we move into week to week, but there is definitely the belief that carries are always earned throughout the week and throughout the season and determining what Coach (Frank Reich) has to say and what Coach (Marcus) Brady has to say. Then we stay close to that from a substitution standpoint.
The Colts' running back group offers everything you'd want, but their attitude is critical: Between Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins, the Colts' running back group offers everything you'd want in a running back, but the attitude for how they treat each other is very unique.
From Montgomery's previous experience with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the receivers coach where they had a wealth of talent at receiver, he knows how to manage that.
Versatility but also high football IQ. I think that as you look at tape and when I first got here, the first thing you want to see is – you not only want to see what the game footage shows but you also want to see what the practice footage shows, you want to see the practice habits. But collectively, one thing you see over and over and over is football IQ.
They did a great job in protection for the most part. Tremendous respect for the football and taking care of the football. Then, the one thing, the intangible that you can’t see when you look at tape but just from listening to people that are in the building, is that they care for one another. When one does well, the whole room does well.
It’s a very unique situation and the type of people that we have in the room is also unique. No question whatsoever. There is such a level of competition in every room, but it’s very rare to have a room where you see great competition and people happy for people competing and being able to execute at a high level...
At the end of the day, you have to create competition within the room to be able to handle that. Then you have to be brutally honest in the way that you talk to them. These are the highest level of professionals. They have been doing this forever. They want to hear what they need to get better at and that’s what we did.
Then at the same time, the room also has to be the most important thing in the world to everybody in the room – making sure that room when we fit in the building, that we are holding up our part of the circle, our part of the ring that’s strong. Being divisive is not going to help.
As I talked to Hines (Ward) and we brought Mike Wallace along, then we had Antonio (Brown) and Emmanuel (Sanders), we really had them in the situation where we had them competing at a high level to even crack the lineup – not even to catch balls, but to crack the lineup.
Once you build that level of respect for the work and the trust and the honesty that goes in with the critique. If everyone knows that everyone is being held accountable, myself included, then at the end of the day it’s all about how do we make sure that our part of the ring is as strong as the rest of the building.”
The Colts' running back depth will help to not put too much pressure on Mack to return hastily from his Achilles injury: Mack suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the first half of Week 1 in 2020, so his return may not take all that long. However, there is no need to rush him back due to the depth at the position.
I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what it’s like to come back from an Achilles tendon. I know that it’s tough. I know that this is something that has changed over the years and now with modern medicine and especially the level of athletes – they are bigger, faster, stronger, more resilient than they’ve ever been.
But I can talk to the person that I know that Marlon is and I know how hard he is working and has worked to get to the point where he’s able to come back. It’s one of those situations to where the depth always helps because there is not an overload of work at certain points in times that you may run into in certain situations.
But when you have guys like Jordan and Nyheim and JT (Jonathan Taylor) all in the room, we can spread the workload and we can also make sure we pay close attention to his process of being able to get back to 100 percent and getting back to the way he feels well running the football.
Montgomery hasn't specifically coached only running backs before, but what the Colts offer at the position and in the organization was attractive: When you've got the opportunity to coach two 1,000-yard running backs in Taylor and Mack as well as one of the best pass-catching backs in the game in Hines, that is obviously difficult to pass up.
There were opportunities to coach some other positions but a lot of it did have to do with what I had the ability to come to. From a standpoint of coaching the position, when you are a coordinator and a quarterback coach, you tend to coach running backs and quarterbacks very closely not only because they are the side by side because it also starts with protection with both positions. Then we kind of work outward there.
The familiarity with protections and familiarity with the position was really attractive, but I would have to say going back to what I said before – it started with the building and then it went to the room. When you have an opportunity to choose great players and great people over players that are maybe great players but maybe not quite as talented and the type of people they are, you’re going to make decisions that will benefit you and the team.
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