The Case For Knile Davis

By Zev Rosenbaum

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9 carries for 60 yards, and 10 catches for 66 yards. That was Ty Montgomery’s stat line last night when the Packers defeated the Bears. That’s a pretty sexy PPR line, and it didn’t seem like the Packers were interested in running when they had Eddie Lacy in anyway, so why am i advocating for Knile Davis?

“This is how we’re going to have to play until we get Knile up to speed,” – Aaron Rodgers

First, let’s talk about how Aaron Rodgers and his game from last night. He threw for 39/56, 326 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The number that should jump out at you in that stat line is the number of attempts which were the second most of Rodgers’ career, before this week, the most Rodgers threw in a game this year was 45 passes against the Giants. Above 50 pass attempts is unsustainable and most weeks, the Green Bay offense will not have 3 players with 10 receptions.

Additionally, the Packers lined up in shotgun last night 66 times, up from their season average of 57. They also lined up under center only 33 times, down from their average of 41. For a comparison of how different last night’s game was, check out Game 3 from this season when the Packers defeated the Lions. The Packers game planned heavily to hide the fact that they didn’t have a conventional running game, with a lot of short screens and draws. However, you can bet that this won’t last, and that next week the Packers will most certainly regress back to the mean against the Falcons.

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Week 7 vs Chicago Bears
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Week 3 vs Detroit Lions

Which leads me to the eye test. Ty Montgomery is not an orthodox or trained running back. He is a receiver through and through in his footwork. His longest play of the night, a 30 yard scamper up the middle, was well blocked and well executed by the offense. But it was a simple draw, Montgomery waited until his blocks developed, shed a tackle, then ran in a straight line for 27 yards. It’s a good run, but it’s a simple chunk run that didn’t require much from Montgomery’s skills as a running back.

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Montgomery is built like a wide receiver, at 6’0 216 lbs, and ran a pedestrian 4.55 40 yard dash at the combine. He has pretty big hands at 10 ⅛, which would make him a good pass catching back and perfect for the gameplan the Packers had last night, but i believe the Packers will revert back to a more conventional style of play next week. At best, he will be a pass catching back, but when the Packers are at the goal line, they won’t be sending him out to pound the ball in. They’ll send out their bruiser.

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Knile Davis is a bruiser, which is what the Packers were looking for in a replacement for skinny p90x fat Eddie. Davis is listed at 5’10, 227 lbs, and ran a speedy 4.37 40 yard dash at his combine. However, Davis did endure some rough times during his time in Kansas City, getting overlooked when Jamaal Charles went out with an ACL injury in 2015. Charcandrick West got the start over him, and when West went down, Spencer Ware got the start over Davis. It should be noted that Davis did have some success running in 2014 carrying the ball 134 times for 463 yards with 6 TDs, but rated very poorly, posting the eight worst Rushing Net Expected Points per carry among running backs that have tallied 100 plus carries. That being said, Davis is young (25) and in a good situation with a future hall of famer QB, very little competition (Don Jackson left with a hand injury), and three weeks until James Starks can come back. I’m picking Knile Davis up in any league where he is available with the expectation that he will next week be the main running back for the Packers, with Ty Montgomery filling in for James Starks’ as the pass catching back.