One is the exception. Two needs a double-take. Three is a trend. Ty Montgomery complements a New York Jets versatile weaponry collection.
Positionless football is a phrase rarely uttered. A sport that features a wide variety of positions and players doesn’t jive with such a concept—not like basketball, anyway.
New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale continually preaches “positionless basketball.” Coming from Erik Spoelstra’s Miami Heat system that featured studs galore, it was a phrase constantly uttered. The rookie head coach carried the thought over specifically designed around Kristaps Porzingis initially, yet it still resides, via James Herbert of CBS Sports.
“I want to get up and down the court,” Fizdale said. “I want to share the basketball. I want to attack the paint. But none of that will start without us being a great defensive team. You know, we’re going to be a team that really plays a pressure, physical style of basketball. Get a lot of deflections, try to get a lot of steals, get into the open court, earn the right to go play a more free-flowing, attacking style of offense.”
In the open-court world of the new-age NBA, it makes sense. It jives. Granted, imagining Patrick Ewing leading the break circa 1993 is tough to imagine.
On the gridiron, it’s still a tough sell from an overall perspective. The New York Jets, however, seem to be catching the “positionless football” mantra within a specific group: weaponry.
On Friday, New York added Ty Montgomery. The one-year deal welcomes in another versatile, “positionless” weapon.
- RB: Running back
- WR: Outside wide receiver
- Slot: Slot wide receiver
- TE: Tight end
- X-factor: Do-it-all shifty weapon who can run routes and take a hand-off or two
Jordan Montgomery: RB, WR, X-factor
Montgomery, 26, entered the big-boy league as a wide receiver. The Stanford product caught 172 balls for 2,125 yards and 15 scores in four collegiate seasons. After a sole season in Green Bay as a wideout, he made the transition to running back when the Packers were desperate for a body. His 5.9 yards per attempt during the 2016 campaign remains his most impressive professional stat.
There’s no question this player can still play both positions when called upon.
Le'Veon Bell: RB, WR, Slot
Look no further than the Jets splashiest acquisition when determining overall versatility. Le’Veon Bell is a true NFL running back who also serves as a legitimate route-running wideout.
Bell’s top speed and body type are the only conceivable aspects holding him back from Jerry Rice-type wideout skills. His crisp route-running, hands and coverage-identification skills rival the best wideouts in the NFL.
Quincy Enunwa: WR, Slot, TE
Quincy Enunwa stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 225 pounds (in another world). He’s absolutely heavier than 225. The man is a beast and if he wanted to could absolutely play tight end. In fact, he basically did during a good portion of his career.
During the Chan Gailey years of 2015-2016, Enunwa serves as the de facto tight end. With very little on the roster, Ryan Fitzpatrick possessed no legitimate vertical-threat big body to target. With Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker out-wide, Enunwa played inside as the wing tight end or the slot wideout in four wide receiver sets. He’d even line up as an H-back at times.
Enunwa experienced the wide receiver or tight end convo heading into the league. There’s no question he’s a wideout, but there’s also very little doubt he falls under the “positionless” category.
Jamison Crowder: WR, Slot, X-factor
Welcome to the X-factor discussion …
What is the X-factor? It’s the man who can do it all: preferably play the slot, run the jet-sweep, return kicks, and even take a hand-off or two.
Crowder is undoubtedly a slot wideout yet is similar to Montgomery in many regards (other than the size). Expect Crowder to finish with over 15 rushing attempts in 2019.
- Trenton Cannon: RB, X-factor
- Elijah McGuire: RB, WR
Trendon Cannon is no NFL wide receiver. His hands are suspect and his mind is incredibly raw at this level. McGuire’s skill set matches up to Bell’s much nicer. He’s a true back with solid hands who can play little wideout.
Still, Cannon, if he finds a way to hang around come September, fits a specific X-factor role.
The moment Jeremy Bates finally figured out the new jet-sweep-dominant NFL was when Cannon found himself unleashed. He and Elijah McGuire tag-teamed many plays.
McGuire would line up as the single back with Cannon in the slot coming on the jet-sweep motion.
The new look in 2019:
- RB: Le’Veon Bell (1), Elijah McGuire (2), Jordan Montgomery (3)
- Jet-Sweep: Jamison Crowder (1), Jordan Montgomery (2), Trenton Cannon (3)
Adam Gase’s rushing attack is zone-scheme dominant but he’s not afraid in the least to mix in new-age concepts and man-on-man principles when the game flow is right.
The Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder and Ty Montgomery acquisitions scream “positionless football” louder than anything else in New York Jets land at the moment.