Will Montgomery a smart signing

The loss of Justin Miller was a huge blow to the Jets special teams unit. But the roster spot that his injury opened afforded the team an excellent opportunity.

Having placed Miller on IR, the Jets used the vacant slot to sign recently released Carolina Panther offensive lineman Will Montgomery.

Montgomery, a product of Virginia Tech, was a seventh round draft pick of the Panthers a year ago. He appeared in six games for the team during the 2006 season, starting three. At the conclusion of training camp, he had made the team's active roster.

But the Panthers spent their 2007 second round draft pick on USC center-guard Ryan Kalil, so Montgomery's job was never truly safe.

"I don't think you're ever in the clear". Montgomery said as he prepared for his second practice with the Jets. "I wouldn't say I was shocked [at being released], but it's definitely something you always need to be ready for I guess. Unless you're a previous starter in this league, you never know what can happen."

The Jets offensive line, particularly the left guard position, has been one of the team's most glaring weaknesses since the disgruntled Pete Kendall was traded to Washington. A preseason competition between rookie Jacob Bender, and third year pro Adrien Clarke, eventually ended, anticlimactically, with Clarke earning the job.

An interesting aspect to Montgomery's game is that he has experience playing both guard spots. He can also play center. It is his flexibility that may have caught the eye of the Jets staff.

A source close to the Panther organization indicated that the team was hesitant to release Montgomery, and that the move was strictly a matter of numbers. Clarke has played decently, but if things break right, the signing could prove to be a very savvy move from the Mangini Tannenbaum combo.

Montgomery clearly has starting potential.


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