Asked to call a signature second this season for David Montgomery, per week after he scored two touchdowns in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, working backs coach David Walker paused andthought about it.
“Some of my favorite plays are when he’s able to make something out of nothing using a combination of power and agility,” Walker stated. “There’s a run versus Houston I can keep in mind on the sideline, a short-yardage play the place he runs by means of a man. In New England, dragging defenders after contact. The first Green Bay recreation, we run an influence and he rips it off, makes a man miss and finishes. Those varieties of runs are those that come to my thoughts by way of his worth to our crew.
“He epitomizes what we have become throughout the course of the year.”
Montgomery has endeared himself to Matt Eberflus’ teaching employees a lot the identical method he did with Matt Nagy and his assistants after the Chicago Bears traded as much as draft him within the third spherical in 2019.
It’s not untimely to marvel what the long run holds for Montgomery, who shall be an unrestricted free agent at season’s finish. Saturday’s recreation towards the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field might be a part of his final stand with the group.
The working again place is loaded with abilities set to succeed in the open market. Topping the record are Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders, who leads the NFL with 1,495 speeding yards, and three different backs who’re among the many high eight in yardage: Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, Miles Sanders of the Eagles and Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys.
Point out to Montgomery that it’s a proficient, crowded group and he nods.
“Mine being one of them,” he stated.
Montgomery has 694 speeding yards with 5 touchdowns and is averaging 4 yards per carry. He has 28 receptions — 13 within the final 4 video games — for 282 yards and two scores. Quarterback Justin Fields leads the Bears with 1,000 speeding yards and Khalil Herbert, due again Saturday after lacking 4 video games with a hip damage, has 643 speeding yards and is averaging six yards per carry.
The Bears are the one crew within the league with three gamers to have greater than 100 speeding makes an attempt, and it will likely be fascinating to see how basic supervisor Ryan Poles prioritizes personnel strikes on offense that may form the roster.
“He’s a rock,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy stated of Montgomery. “He’s comes to work every single day. He can handle a lot mentally, so we do a lot of different stuff with him. … He’s awesome, tough as nails. You see the way he finishes every run. He’s one of those guys that you love having at the forefront of your program.”
Second contracts for working backs have been uncommon for the Bears. They signed Tarik Cohen to a three-year, $17.25 million extension in September 2020, one week earlier than he blew out his proper knee returning a punt towards the Atlanta Falcons. The solely lead working again the crew has re-upped since 2000 is Matt Forte, a second-round decide in 2008. He obtained a four-year, $32 million extension in 2012 to keep away from enjoying that season below the franchise tag, a sensible funding as he completed out that deal, enjoying eight seasons for the Bears. He ranks second in membership historical past with 8,602 speeding yards, is second with 486 receptions and seventh with 4,116 receiving yards.
The solely different again since 2000 to play past a rookie contract with the crew is Adrian Peterson, a sixth-round decide in 2002 who was saved round for his worth on particular groups.
The glut of productive working backs headed totally free company might make it a purchaser’s market at a place groups generally favor to fill by means of the draft. The Bears discovered Herbert within the sixth spherical in 2021, a pleasant discovery by former GM Ryan Pace. Surely they’ve large plans for him sooner or later.
Getsy likes having a 1-2 punch on the place with working backs which have completely different strengths, so whether or not it’s re-signing Montgomery or discovering a again that enhances Herbert in free company or the draft doubtless looms as a precedence.
An AFC personnel evaluator listed Jacobs, Barkley and Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns because the top-three pending free brokers on the place. He added a caveat with Hunt, explaining some groups won’t take into account him due to previous off-field points. Hunt was suspended for eight video games in 2019 after a disturbing video surfaced displaying him attacking a girl.
Pollard has been extra productive than Ezekiel Elliott this season however there are questions on whether or not the 6-foot, 209-pounder can deal with the load of a real workhorse again.
“I like Montgomery but he’s not a breakaway speed guy,” the personnel man stated. “He’s more quick than fast. I don’t think he has a ton of value on third down. He’s more of a base-down guy with a degree of third-down value.”
Montgomery has proved to be a dependable receiver out of the backfield. He caught 54 passes in 2020 and is averaging 10.1 yards per reception this season. He has been focused 33 instances and caught 28 passes with Fields simply beginning to use the working again place extra within the passing recreation.
The Bears are on tempo for 3,177 speeding yards, which might rank third all time. The 1948 San Francisco 49ers rushed for 3,663 and the 2019 Baltimore Ravens 3,296. The Bears are averaging 186.9 speeding yards per recreation, which might be a franchise report. The 1984 crew, led by Walter Payton, averaged 185.9 speeding yards.
“That’s super dope, especially being a part of it with Justin and Khalil,” Montgomery stated. “It’s super cool.”
The response epitomizes Montgomery’s priorities. He references teammates when speaking about achievements for an offense that has pounded the ball on the bottom. In the months to return, we’ll learn the way Poles and his employees really feel about him.
Matt Milano, Bills weak-side linebacker
Information for this report was obtained from NFL scouts.
Matt Milano, at 6-feet, 223 kilos, is in his sixth season in Buffalo, drafted within the fifth spherical in 2017 from Boston College. The Bills signed Milano to a $41.5 million, four-year extension in 2021.
Milano was the AFC’s defensive participant of the week after a 31-23 win over the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 20, ending with 12 tackles, three stops for loss and a fumble restoration. He ranks second on the Bills with 85 tackles and has six quarterback hits, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. With the Bears doubtless planning to lean closely on their working recreation, Milano shall be a key participant Saturday.
“He’s a top-five off-the-ball linebacker in the league,” the scout stated. “The Bills are a singular crew as a result of their base protection is nickel personnel with Taron Johnson as their nickel. The motive they will do that’s extra due to Milano and his protection means. He’s actually good in protection, will get depth, can match folks in protection, run with seams and nook routes and he’s additionally wonderful versus the run recreation.
“The reason I hold him in such regard is he can really do everything. He never has to come off the field. He can pressure and he’s the guy that knocked out (New York Jets quarterback) Mike White, going inside on a stunt and busting his ribs up. He is physical at the point of attack and really has good change-of-direction ability. This guy is one of the most underrated players in the entire league. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Buffalo. He’s got three-down traits and is playing at a really high level.”