The Bears are on their way to the Mile High City to take on the Broncos this Sunday. It’s likely to be a low-scoring game and a knock-out, drag-down fight between two defensive teams. This is also a game that will feature a strong rushing attack from Chicago.
Part of their ground game could be rookie running back David Montgomery. The Bears picked up Montgomery out of Iowa State in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was a workhorse in college for the Cyclones, and the Bears needed to find a lead back after trading Jordan Howard away to the Eagles.
Their rookie running back may be the weapon that can do the most damage against this Broncos defense. Let’s take a look at why.
Talented and Versatile
Like Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, Montgomery is talented and versatile. Montgomery is a big back, measuring in at 5-foot-10 and weighing around 225 pounds.
For a big man, he is a good option as a receiver out of the backfield. Montgomery runs with a lot of power and is tough to bring down when he gets a head of steam. He is also capable of plucking passes out of the air naturally away from his body and Montgomery does a good job of securing the ball after the catch.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio really likes what Montgomery brings the table.
“Really good. I know they really like him, they played him a lot the other night. He’s a good all-around back. He runs it good, good cuts, good instincts, sees the game, understands the game and you can see it in the way he runs the ball and in the way he runs his routes. They’ve got a good player there,” Fangio said.
Montgomery can hurt you in more ways than one. He can be a lead back and grind down a defense, but he also does not need to come off the field in obvious passing situations. Montgomery could be the centerpiece of the Bears offense in the near future.
We saw Jacobs get after a tough Broncos run defense for 85 yards and two rushing touchdowns in Week 1. Perhaps the Bears will try to feed Montgomery in a similar way to get the same result.
Moving on Up?
Last week against the Packers, we didn’t see as much from Montgomery as we could have. In fact, the Bears offense couldn’t generate much of a rushing attack against Green Bay’s rejuvenated defense.
In Week 1, Bears running backs combined for just 37 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Instead, Chicago opted on passing the ball more which led to Montgomery barely touching the ball – even though he led the team in carries with six.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy told me what the rookie needs to do in order to get more playing time.
“Just keep doing what he’s doing. He’s a young kid. It takes time to learn there are different defenses thrown at you. We know we have a really good player on our hands, it’s just a matter of how to use him and what’s not too much,” Nagy said.
Nagy is correct; the Bears do have a really talented player in Montgomery and it would be beneficial for their offense to figure out how to use him more. Let’s hope they don’t figure that out on Sunday against the Broncos.
Other Rushers To Worry About
The Bears could use Montgomery in a similar fashion to the way the Raiders used Jacobs in Week 1. However, if they still limit Montgomery’s touches, there are others on the roster who could do damage against the Broncos defense on the ground.
Against the Packers, change-of-pace running back Tarik Cohen lined up on 70 percent of the snaps for the Bears. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky attempted 45 passes and in a close game, the Bears did not want to establish their ground game. Veteran Mike Davis out-snapped Montgomery 41 to 28, but it was the rookie who had six carries for 18 yards while Davis had five carries for 19 yards. Cohen didn’t tote the rock but he did get 10 targets in the passing game that he turned into eight catches for 49 yards.
In addition to this group of running backs, Trubisky is one of the more-athletic quarterbacks in the league and will take off to run if he needs to. Trubisky carried the ball three times for 11 yards against the Packers and there were times when he extended plays that turned into passes instead. There is no doubt about it, Trubisky is a threat as a runner and one the Broncos need to be wary of in Week 2.
No matter how good and versatile Montgomery is, the Bears seem intent on utilizing a running-back-by-committee approach this season. Add in Trubisky as a rusher, and the Bears can run the ball if they so desire. This is going to be a tough game on Sunday, the Broncos want to make sure they are ready for the Bears to try and bully them on the ground.
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