All-22 Lab: Will Montgomery (Part I)

We break down coaches film of new Chicago Bears center Will Montgomery, isolating his skill set as a run blocker last season with the Denver Broncos.

CLICK HERE for Part II: Montgomery in Pass Protection.

The Chicago Bears this week parted ways with stalwart center Roberto Garza, a starter in the Windy City since 2005.

Shortly after releasing Garza, the club signed Will Montgomery to serve at the pivot in 2015.

Montgomery is a 10-year veteran who last year in Denver worked under current Bears head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Adam Gase and offensive line coach Dave Magazu.

The coaching staff is very familiar with Montgomery, yet he’s a new face to Bears fans.

To get a better feel for his skill set as a run blocker, let’s break down All-22 coaches film of Montgomery from last season.

PLAY I

This will be a zone-middle run with RB C.J. Anderson running right behind Montgomery (blue), who will double team the nose tackle at the snap.

Montgomery puts a hard shoulder into the nose guard before heading to the second level.

The double team allows the right guard (yellow) to seal the nose tackle inside. Montgomery wraps up the linebacker in a big bear hug and begins churning his legs.

Anderson is tripped up after a six-yard gain. Notice Montgomery still has the linebacker in his grasp.

Analysis: Montgomery is a very good zone-blocking center. He typically gives a good shot to the defensive tackle on the double team before clearing to the second level, where his vision is outstanding. His awareness and ability to lock on to linebackers should help Bears RB Matt Forte turn three-yard gains into six-yard gains.

PLAY II

Montgomery (blue) will again double down on the defensive tackle at the snap.

He drives the defensive tackle out of the hole, all while keeping his eyes upfield.

The linebacker begins to fill the gap, at which time Montgomery releases from the down lineman.

Here we see him lock up the linebacker, creating a backside crease on this counter trey run.

Analysis: On this play, Montgomery again gets a shoulder into the nose, then separates and finds the linebacker. Timing is critical here, as he holds the double team as long as he can before peeling off. This eliminates any chance of penetration by the defensive tackle.

PLAY III

Montgomery’s job on this play is to step around the nose tackle and seal him inside.

He’s quick out of his stance and clears the outside shoulder of the nose tackle immediately, yet Montgomery is off balance. Notice the defender using a swim move to dismiss Montgomery, who is leaning much too far forward.

He tries to recover but Montgomery is too late. The defender plugs the hole for no gain.

Analysis: Montgomery has very good agility and quick feet, yet on this play, he’s too fast to the outside. A more methodical approach would have resulted in better balance and an opportunity to pin the defender away from the hole.

PLAY IV

This is an A gap trap block with the right guard (yellow) pulling behind Montgomery (blue).

Notice Montgomery’s positioning immediately after the snap. He has his legs under him and his backside between the defender and the hole. This is textbook technique for the down portion of a cross block.

Anderson hits the hole a few seconds later and Montgomery still has the nose tackle locked up inside.

Analysis: Utilizing proper angles and body positioning is critical for offensive linemen, particularly centers. As this play demonstrates, 10 seasons in the NFL has allowed Montgomery to fine tune that part of his game.

PLAY V

Montgomery is tasked with a reach block on this play. He’ll burst out of his stance and attempt to clear the outside shoulder of the nose guard.

Notice his use of a swim move to get position outside of the defender.

Montgomery eventually works all the way around the edge for the seal block.

Analysis: His ability to move laterally is what makes Montgomery so effective on stretch runs, as we see here.

PLAY VI

This is another stretch run left. On this snap, there is no defender in the 0 gap.

Montgomery sprints outside but has no one to block initially.

He’s a second late changing directions in his attempt to clip the filling linebacker.

Montgomery is too slow to get his head in front of the linebacker and loses his balance.

The linebacker makes the play in the backfield as Montgomery watches from his belly.

Analysis: Once again, Montgomery’s quickness works to his disadvantage. In his sprint to the outside, he neglects the inside linebacker until it’s too late and he’s unable to redirect in time.

CLICK HERE for Part II: Montgomery in Pass Protection.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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