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Packers: Ty Montgomery’s leg injury creates opportunity for Jamaal Williams

August 16, 2017

GREEN BAY – It’s unclear how long Ty Montgomery will be sidelined – heck, it’s unclear just what the Green Bay Packers No. 1 running back’s injury exactly is – but the longer he is out, the greater the opportunity will be for rookie Jamaal Williams to continue ascending the depth chart.

Williams, a fourth-round pick from BYU who was already getting some first-string snaps in practice while Montgomery was healthy, worked with the starters in practice on Tuesday while Montgomery sat out with what the team described as a “lower leg” injury and Montgomery himself would only describe as a “soft tissue” problem.

It’s also unclear whether Montgomery, who carried three times for zero net yards and lost a fumble in the Packers’ preseason-opening 24-9 win over Philadelphia last week, will play in Saturday night’s preseason game at Washington.

“It was just something on and off, something I’m dealing with,” Montgomery said after watching practice. “Nothing in particular that happened, nothing major, nothing to worry about.”

Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke before practice, so he wasn’t asked whether Montgomery took part in practice on Sunday, when the session was closed to reporters as the team focused preparations on the Sept. 10 regular-season opener against Seattle. Montgomery said he “took the day off” Tuesday to prevent the injury from getting worse.

Meanwhile, Williams received positive reviews from offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett and quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday. Bennett was particularly pleased with what he’s seen from Williams in pass protection in camp.

“His attitude towards protecting the passer stands out,” Bennett said. “He’s done a pretty good job of that, he really has. For a rookie jumping in there, understanding his responsibilities from an assignment standpoint and being fundamentally standpoint to pick up a blitzing or dogging linebacker, he’s done a nice job.”

Rodgers said he wants to see Williams, who had four carries for 14 yards against the Eagles, run the ball more.

“It’s going to be important for him to step in there because running back is a tough position. You’re always dealing with nicks and bruises throughout the season, so we need multiple guys there that can do it,” Rodgers said. “He’s done a nice job mentally – that’s the biggest jump for a running back. They’re asked to do so many things in pass protection, route running.

“We’ve got to get him more opportunities to run the ball. But everything else, he’s been spectacular. He’s definitely improving.”

Health watch

Cornerback Damarious Randall and wide receiver Malachi Dupre remain in the concussion protocol following nasty hits in the preseason opener last week, and McCarthy said neither is likely to suit up for the Redskins on Saturday.

“I don’t see either one of them playing this week,” McCarthy said.

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt took exception to the hit that caused Randall’s concussion, a blind-side crack-back block by Philadelphia’s Bryce Treggs.

“That’s the type of play that we want to get out of this game,” Whitt said. “It shouldn’t have happened. It’s a shame that it did happen.”

McCarthy also all but officially ruled out backup center Don Barclay, who suffered an ankle injury against the Eagles. Rookie wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey, the Packers’ leading receiver against Philadelphia, did not practice because of a groin injury, and his status for Saturday is uncertain.

The Packers also lost two safeties during practice, as rookie Josh Jones (ankle) and former practice-squad safety Jermaine Whitehead (unknown) dropped out. Safeties coach Darren Perry didn’t seem overly concerned about Jones, saying, “I don’t think it’s anything too serious.”

McCarthy said ex-University of Wisconsin linebacker Vince Biegel, who did rehabilitation work outside during practice but remains on the physically unable to perform list following offseason foot surgery, would not be activated this week.

Extra points

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers took some first-team practice reps – something he did not do before sitting out against Philadelphia – but said McCarthy has yet to tell him whether he’ll play Saturday night. “I’ll be ready to play if he wants me to, and if he doesn’t, I’ll be ready for that as well,” Rodgers said. … The Packers waived defensive end Shaneil Jenkins, whom they claimed on waivers two days earlier from Seattle, when Jenkins flunked his physical. … Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said his defense missed 16 total tackles against the Eagles. … Newly re-signed veteran Brett Goode and rookie Derek Hart split eight long snaps during the punting period in practice. … Punter Justin Vogel averaged 44.4 gross yards and 4.35 seconds of hang time on seven punts.