All-22 Lab: Will Montgomery (Part II)

The Bears last week replaced Roberto Garza with Will Montgomery. To get a better feel for Montgomery in pass protection, below are nine snaps from last season fully analyzed using All-22 coaches film.

CLICK HERE to view Part I: Montgomery as a run blocker.

The Chicago Bears are moving forward without longtime center Roberto Garza and have tabbed Will Montgomery as his replacement.

How will the addition of Montgomery impact Chicago’s passing attack? Let’s break down All-22 coaches film to find out.


This will be a one-on-one matchup between Montgomery (blue) and the nose tackle.

Notice the hand punch immediately after the snap. He feels the defender working up field off his right shoulder.

Montgomery shifts his hips inside and drives the nose tackle laterally, away from Peyton Manning.

Montgomery continues to ride the defender past the pocket, allowing Manning a clean release.

Analysis: Montgomery allows the defender limited penetration at the snap. Once the nose tackle takes two steps forward, Montgomery shifts his body positioning and rides the defender past the pocket. Instead of trying step in front of the pass rusher, and thus leaving himself susceptible to a crossover move, Montgomery uses the defender’s momentum against him. This was a thoughtful, well-executed block.


This is man protection off a play fake.

The nose tackle angles off the snap, yet Montgomery is quick to stay in front of him and lock him up with leverage.

The defender continues to penetrate but Montgomery rides him outside and through the pocket.

As Manning releases the pass, notice the nose guard still in Montgomery’s grasp and nowhere near the quarterback.

Analysis: This is a block similar to the last play. Montgomery takes what the defender gives him and uses his momentum to keep the quarterback upright.


The Raiders will stunt the right defensive end, swinging him inside the defensive tackle.

Montgomery sees the stunt coming and positions himself for the block. Yet notice his weight is already over his toes.

The defender uses a quick inside swim move and catches Montgomery off balance. Notice him lower his shoulder and blatantly grab the pass rusher.

Montgomery goes so far as to tackle the defender, which creates a pile of bodies. Amazingly, he does not get called for holding.

Analysis: This play demonstrates Montgomery’s scrappiness and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the defender blocked. It also shows his tendency to bend at the waist, which often compromises his balance.

This is man-to-man blocking. The Dolphins nose guard will use a stutter step/swim move combination at the snap.

The defender executes the swim move and beats Montgomery badly.

With no other choice, Montgomery turns and tries to cut out the legs of the nose guard.

His dive slows up the pass rusher, which allows help to arrive.

Analysis: Here we see another defender take advantage of Montgomery’s lack of balance. But yet again, he puts in maximum effort to recover, throwing his body at the feet of the nose tackle. This gives the guards time to close inside and prevent penetration.


Montgomery will be responsible for the defensive tackle.

A quick side step puts him in perfect position for the block. Notice his legs apart and his hips sunk.

The pass rusher tries to swing inside but Montgomery is able to ride him across his face and stay in front.

The pass rusher makes one last effort to cut back outside but Montgomery is locked on, which allows Manning to take two full steps forward before releasing the pass.

Analysis: When Montgomery is able to get his backside under him, he’s very good in protection. On this play, he sinks his hips and builds a solid base. Even as the defender dives back and forth across his face, he gets no penetration.


This will be another one-on-one block against the nose guard.

At the snap, Montgomery gives up penetration and loses his balance momentarily.

Yet he’s able to recover and get his feet under him. At the same time, he uses a strong hand punch to create separation. Notice his arm fully extended.

His quick recovery allows time for reinforcements to arrive.

Analysis: This is a really good job by Montgomery of recovering off a bad first step. He uses his quick feet to adjust his body positioning and then throws a hard right hook into the defender’s chest. Even though he was beat off the snap, Montgomery kept fighting and eventually won the battle.


This will be zone protection with Montgomery (blue) and the right guard (yellow) working in tandem.

At the snap, the right guard steps in front of the defensive tackle, with Montgomery in his shadow.

The right guard quickly opens his hips and helps on the defensive end, who has beaten the right tackle. Seamlessly, Montgomery steps in front of the defensive tackle.

As the pass is released, Montgomery has ridden the pass rusher past the pocket.

Analysis: This is a very impressive block by Montgomery, who immediately fills in for the guard once pressure is created off the right edge. This type of chemistry will be absolutely necessary for the Bears this season, so it will help to have a 10-year pivot player with previous experience in the new blocking schemes.


The center and right guard will double-team the defensive tackle.

Notice Montgomery way out over his feet.

Not surprisingly, he ends up on his face.

Analysis: Just another example of Montgomery’s balance issues.


This is a bubble screen with three blockers out front.

As the receiver catches the pass, Montgomery has his an eye on the linebacker.

He shows decent burst and makes the defender adjust his angle of pursuit.

Montgomery never gets a hand on the linebacker, who gets in on the tackle late.

Analysis: Bears coordinator Adam Gase does not ask his centers to block often on screen passes. Of the eight games I watched in preparation for this article, only a handful of times was Montgomery tasked with second-level screen duty. He lumbers and is very slow but he understands angles of pursuit and uses it to his advantage.


As we saw in Part I, Montgomery is not a mauler in the run game. He’s a functional blocker who uses leverage, technique and a solid understanding of zone principles to get the job done.

His quickness and lateral agility are a boost in zone sets, an area in which Garza often struggled.

Montgomery is above average in pass protection. Of the hundreds of snaps I watched for this piece, I never saw him get flat out beat. He obviously has some balance issues, of which savvy defenders will take advantage, but he’s quick enough and smart enough to recover. That, along with his willingness to put his body on the line, often leads to positive results.

Overall, Montgomery’s light feet and ease of movement provide an upgrade over Garza, who was a plodding center. Montgomery has great awareness – his head is always on a swivel – and he’s quick to read and react against stunts and blitzes.

Unless his production begins to decline dramatically, Chicago fans will be more than satisfied with Montgomery’s play this season. When you add in his familiarity with the offense, which will lessen the learning curve for the rest of the offensive line, it’s no wonder Bears brass were quick to bring the veteran on board.

CLICK HERE to view Part I: Montgomery as a run blocker.



Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of 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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