David Montgomery will enter training camp later this month poised to battle Mike Davis for early-down reps out of the Chicago Bears backfield.
With Tarik Cohen not expecting his role as primarily a pass-catching back to change, Davis and Montgomery will take over the Jordan Howard gig, splitting the majority of first- and second-down carries. Chicago coaches have insisted Davis was brought in to play a role, but it’s Montgomery who has the greatest chance to win difference-making reps in 2019.
The third-round rookie elicited resounding praise from coaches and beat writers throughout offseason workouts. Running backs coach Charles London glowed about Montgomery’s ability to break tackles, noting his “pretty rare contact balance.”
“He definitely possesses that,” London recently told Adam Jahns of The Athletic. “It’s important from the running back position because every play is not going to be clean and every hole is not going to be clean. Sometimes you just got to create that on your own. He did quite a bit of that at Iowa State. That was something that we noticed. And that is something you really can’t coach. You either kind of got it or you don’t and he does. It’s something we quickly noticed about him.”
The comments on Montgomery’s ability to break tackles stand in contrast to the past two coaching staff’s belief that Howard’s biggest struggle came in generating yards after contact.
After generating praise during the shorts portion of offseason workouts, Montgomery’s biggest test will arise when the pads come on during training camp and into the preseason. We’ve seen rookies crumble under the added pressure, and we’ve also seen young running backs — Philip Lindsay in Denver is one recent example — shine in camps, flashing tackle-breaking ability.
If Montgomery lives up to the offseason hype that’s been building, an already multi-faceted Bears offense will make life that much easier on QB Mitchell Trubisky.