Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell shared some thoughts about his team’s newly-assembled running back duo. The addition of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs sparked comparisons with two great backfields. His statements gave us a slight glimpse into Campbell’s philosophy when building a running back room.
In an interview with SiriusXM NFL this week, coach Campbell reveals the “two-headed monster” in his backfield.
David Montgomery: Power. Plus More
Montgomery, who joined the Lions as a free agent after spending four seasons with the Bears, seems to fit Campbell’s vision for a powerful running back perfectly. His resume include being one-of-only six NFL running backs to log at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns in each of the last four seasons.
Campbell alluded to the type of running back Montgomery is, stating, “I think you need a back you can, you know, push comes to shove he can carry a load…somebody you feel like you can give the ball to 20, 25 times a game, potentially.”
At 5′ 11″ and 224 lbs, Montgomery’s ability to break tackles and make an impact in the passing game places allows offensive coordinator Ben Johnson to open up the playbook. Lions starting left tachle, Taylor Decker, shared the following sentiment about David Montgomery on Twentyman in the Huddle Episode 55:
His intensity and his passion and his competitiveness just pops. Like i feel it. I feel it out there.
Jahmyr Gibbs: The Surgeon
Gibbs, the highest-selected running back for the Lions since Barry Sanders (’89), adds an exciting layer to the top-5 offense. The 5′ 9″, 200 lb. back was selected in the first round (12th overall) of the 2023 NFL Draft and comes to Detroit with expectations and excitement due to his big-play ability.
Campbell shared a vision for Gibbs, who seems to fit the specialty role. “Then you need that specialty guy…he carries the scalpel and he can slice you up. He can hurt you in the pass game…I’m talking about Gibbs, obviously.”
Gibbs’ value in the pass game is an essential aspect of his appeal. His skills allow him to line up on the outside or in the slot.
Dan Campbell has experience with Thunder and Lightning
Campbell’s vision for his backfield is rooted in his own playing and coaching experience. Drawing parallels to his time as a tight end for the New York Giants with Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber, and his coaching days in New Orleans with Mark Ingram and Kamara, he sees potential in Montgomery and Gibbs. He explained his experience with running backs:
As a player, under Sean Payton, ya know we had Ron Dayne, we had Tiki Barber. Tiki was that kind of changeup guy, could do a lot of different things. And Ron was a heavy back. I get to New Orleans, ya know, and Mark Ingram, man, he was our A-back. He was the guy that carried the load. Kamara did all the other stuff, and they could hurt you. So yeah, I do see a two-headed monster here.
With the combination of Montgomery’s dynamic power and Gibbs’ versatility, Dan Campbell seems to have crafted a strategy to replace the production that the Lions are missing after losing Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift. Montgomery and Gibbs have potential to become the next Thunder and Lightning.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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