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Ivan Fears: Ty Montgomery has a ‘great chance’ to be New England’s third-down back

Montgomery landed on injured reserve after just one game last season.

Carolina Panthers v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Signing a two-year deal last offseason with the New England Patriots, Ty Montgomery had an impressive summer on the Gillette Stadium practice fields. The veteran showcased his versatility as both a running back and pass catcher as it quickly became clear he would have a role in the Patriots 2022 offense.

After scoring the team’s lone touchdown in the season opener, Montgomery was never seen from again. Beyond dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered in the preseason, a shoulder injury — that eventually required surgery — resulted in him landing him on injured reserve.

As the Patriots now begin their third and final stage of their offseason workout program on Monday, a healthy Montgomery is impressing those behind the scenes, which includes retired running backs coach Ivan Fears, who remains a steady presence around the team.

“I think he has a great chance to be the third-down back and take some of the load off Rhamondre [Stevenson],” Fears told the 6 Rings and Football Things podcast. “[Rhamondre] can be fresh when we really need him on first and second down carrying the ball and the featured guy.

“We need some help for Rhamondre, and I think Ty is looking really good right now. He’s healthy.”

Finding help for Stevenson is a needed task for New England’s offense this year. The sophomore back played over 66 percent of the team’s offensive snaps last season — a drastic increase from his 24.7 percent mark from his rookie season — which resulted in him seeming to hit a wall later in the season.

“I think Rhamondre is what we used to call a three-down back. But, he’s gonna need some help,” Fears said. “There’s not too many backs out there that can play 17 games and the number of snaps we’re talking about carry, and be healthy and strong at the end of the year. That’s just too much, so he’s going to need some help.”

Beyond Montgomery, New England added veteran James Robinson on an incentive-laden deal in free agency this offseason. Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris also remain in the mix, who Fears noted the team expects both to “step up” entering their second season in the league.