Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy recently joined the “Under Center” podcast to discuss a number of topics surrounding the team. When David Montgomery’s name came up, Nagy had nothing but praise for his now third-year running back.
If that type of offseason talk translates to on-field decision-making, Nagy should increase Montgomery’s workload this upcoming season. Furthermore, if the head coach has so much faith in his running back, as he claims, the expectation should be a breakout season from the Iowa State alum.
Rookie Year vs. Sophomore Year
When dissecting the numbers, Montgomery saw an uptick in production last year compared to his rookie season. He still logged nearly the same number of carries but was far more productive when he did get his touches. He improved in the touchdown department as well compared to his 2019 season. Where Montgomery saw more usage in 2020 compared to the prior year was in the passing game. He more than doubled his receptions and saw an uptick of 253 yards in the receiving game.
Overall, Montgomery saw 34 more touches and 434 more yards in his second season than his first. Those improvements came while the Bears had questionable offensive line play, poor quarterback play, and a head coach who has trouble committing to the run.
What Lies Ahead?
Now, imagine what a more motivated Montgomery can do with better surroundings. The QB position seems to have more stability and the offensive line has improved thanks to additions through the draft. It’s all up to the play-caller to stay dedicated to feeding Montgomery.
If defenses actually respect the Bears’ QB play, that would result in less stacked boxes and more openings for Montgomery to run through. A balanced play-calling approach that includes true commitment to a running game would help his cause as well. Furthermore, Montgomery was mic’d up during OTAs and seen conversing with Matt Nagy. He’s aware of where he’s ranked amongst his peers. Montgomery is aware, as is Nagy, as to how good he is and where he can finish.
In the hopes that the Bears offense can finally function and take off, Montgomery should see his production steadily improve. However, there is a caveat. The Bears have a crowded backfield. During the offseason, Ryan Pace added Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert to the mix. Tarik Cohen will also be returning from his devastating ACL injury, which basically is an addition in itself. This all comes with Ryan Nall and Artavius Pierce already in place. It stands to reason the Bears will carry at least four running backs in 2021, and Herbert and Williams appear to be Montgomery’s main competition for carries. As for Cohen, the Bears will likely ease him back into the swing of things and utilize him more in the passing game.
Predictions for 2021
Nevertheless, the way Nagy praised Montgomery and has been doing so could mean Bears fans get to see a heavy dose of him this season. Certainly Nagy could try to protect either of his two new QB’s by letting #32 feast. Montgomery’s versatility and knowledge in the running and passing game could result in big things for him and the Bears moving forward if Nagy fully unleashes the third-year back.
Therefore, here is my prediction for David Montgomery’s 2021 season:
- 275 carries, 1,275 yards (4.6 Y/A), 12 TD
- 70 receptions, 560 yards (8.0 Y/R), 3 TD
In total for 2021 (17 games)
- 345 touches, 1,835 yards (5.3 Yards/Touch) 15 TD