The New England Patriots made several roster moves on Tuesday, including sending running back Ty Montgomery to their injured reserve list. Montgomery entered the regular season opener versus the Miami Dolphins dealing with a knee injury, but he was still able to play 27 total snaps between offense and special teams.
Montgomery ended the day with three catches for 15 yards and a touchdown, as well as -2 yards on a pair of rushing attempts. Just like he did throughout training camp, the first-year Patriot served as the team’s top receiving back.
With him now off the active roster, the Patriots will have to find a way to replace his production and fill his role in the lineup. They do have some options, though, and head coach Bill Belichick expressed his confidence in the group during a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s practice.
“We feel good about our depth in the backs, we have good backs,” he said. “It’s tough to lose Ty but we have a couple of good players there, and then we have some young players behind them. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
With Montgomery on IR, the Patriots’ running back group consists of Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and Pierre Strong Jr. on the active roster as well as J.J. Taylor and Kevin Harris on the practice squad. Strong Jr. and Harris are both rookies, and have not yet seen any in-game action outside of preseason.
Harris, Stevenson and Taylor, on the other hand, bring some experience to the table. While it seems unlikely that Harris will fill Montgomery’s shoes, both Stevenson and Taylor are realistic candidates to help replace the 29-year-old for the time being.
How long he will be out remains to be seen; per NFL rules, Montgomery will miss at least four games. He will therefore first be eligible to return for the Patriots’ Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
On Wednesday, Belichick would not make any definitive statements about Montgomery being reactivated further down the line.
“We’ll see how it goes, I don’t know,” he said. “If he’s healthy, yeah, we bring him back, sure. He’s healthy, we bring him back. How that will all turn out, I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m not a doctor.”
The Patriots will play the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, with Montgomery also certain to miss the upcoming games against Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.