Bears RB David Montgomery enters contract year with the chance for a breakout season – Chicago Bears Blog

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears Matt Eberflus, coach, has a love for acronyms. He has one for on-field execution – HITS (hustle, intensity, takeaways and (playing) smart) – and he has one for the traits of the players he hopes to have on the roster.

The latter is referred to as M&M. Eberflus values the qualities of his offensive and defense linemen as being able to drive well and be mean. However, as Eberflus learned more about his personnel during the offseason, he expanded that classification to include runningback David Montgomery.

“Talk about motor and mean, yeah, he is that guy,” Eberflus said. “Serious, a pro, worker – he’s going to be exciting to work with, and he’s going to fit right in. He’s the kind of guy who just says, ‘Hey, watch me go. I’m not going to say a whole bunch of things, but just watch me do my job.’”

There’s a lot on the line for Montgomery, who is entering the final season of his four-year rookie deal. If the Bears don’t extend him during the season, they’ll have exclusive negotiating rights with Montgomery until the new league year begins in March 2023, after which point he would become an unrestricted free agent.

Chicago traded up to draft Montgomery in the third round in 2019, and he has developed into a dependable – if not spectacular – ball-carrier. He is ranked eighth among running backs for rushing yards (2.808) since 2019.

Josh JacobsWho is the? Las Vegas Raiders drafted in the first round in 2019, ranks fifth (3,087 yards) on that list, but the Raiders declined to pick up Jacobs’ fifth-year option, which is offered only to first-rounders. That means if the Raiders don’t extend him before the 2023 NFL league year begins, Jacobs will become an unrestricted free agent.

“At the end of the day, whether I’m going into my second year or my first year, I’ve still got to play football, and I still gotta perform,” Montgomery said in April. “I could really care less about contracts, the contract terms and things, but I’m excited to be here for another year and play with my guys too.”

Montgomery has accounted for 24.4% of Chicago’s scrimmage yards since 2019, which is the seventh-most in the NFL over that span.

“The thing I like about David is he doesn't feel like he's arrived yet,” Walker said. “Some of the guys that have been in the league for a while think they have arrived. He is trying to learn from his perspective.

“I believe I'm [the third coach] In four seasons, he was there. He has to be able to take in new and different things every season. He is doing a great job. I love his drive to learn and push himself to do better. We will do our best to meet his high standards every day.

In addition to Montgomery, Chicago’s running back room includes Khalil Herbert, Darrynton Evans, rookie sixth-rounder Trestan Ebner Undrafted agent De’Montre Tuggle. The Bears added fullback. Khari Blasingame Free agency

Chicago's plan to divide the responsibilities in the running game with Luke Getsy (a former Packers assistant) as the offensive coordinator could be similar to Green Bay's approach with its backs over the past three seasons. Aaron Jones The load was carried as an all-down threat AJ Dillon Provided short-yardage work.

After 2020, Montgomery was appointed lead back. Tarik Cohen Three games into his season, he had torn his right ACL. He rushed for 1,070 yard and eight touchdowns that year and then followed that up with 849 yard and seven TDs last year, even though he missed four games due to injury.

Montgomery has also become a reliable pass-catcher, with 96 receptions in the past two seasons.

“We're going to stress those [running backs] They can also stretch their roles, so he could run the gamut of passing trees. Which, you know, it looks like he can,” Eberflus said of Montgomery. “Can he beat guys one-on-one consistently? It's a safety net or a linebacker who covers him. It's a positive … if he can beat all those guys — DBs and linebackers — and we feel he has the skill set to do that.”

Montgomery has been difficult to take down. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 429 of Montgomery’s 849 rushing yards (51%) in 2021 came after first contact, the 10th most in the NFL last season.

After mandatory minicamp, which runs Tuesday through Thursday, the Bears will be on vacation for the remainder of summer. Though it’s difficult to tell what the run game will truly look like until Chicago is able to have full contact in training camp, the early returns have been positive.

“It's hard to really do the run game how you want to do it and how it should be looking in a game right now without pads on, but you can see where this run game can go with the outside zone,” tight end Cole Kmet said. “And the running backs we've got with David, Khalil and all the other kids that we brought in, we're all excited to get to camp so we can really put the run game to the test and start really building upon it.”

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