By Scott Engel of The Game Day
The Bears are heading into the 2022 season with a new coordinator handling an offense that has a potential star quarterback at the helm.
One key for Luke Getsy, the former quarterbacks’ coach and passing game coordinator for the Packers, is to make sure the running game is an effective crux of the attack.
David Montgomery can be a huge asset in what figures to be a game plan that features the run/pass option and play-action passing.
The potent combination of a mobile quarterback and a prime running back could boost the Chicago offense to new heights this upcoming season. Montgomery may be headed for a very impressive campaign in a contract year.
David Montgomery: A Big Season Ahead?
Montgomery is headed to free agency after the 2022 season, and a contract extension may be unlikely in an NFL market that devalues the RB position. A trade may not be possible, and you have to believe the Bears are considering Khalil Herbert as a RB of the future once Montgomery is gone.
Playing for a new deal should give further incentive for Montgomery to continue to show why he has been one of the more underrated RBs in the league over the past two seasons. He had more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage in 2020 and was top five in the NFL in rushing last season until he went on injured reserve with a knee issue.
Montgomery still had 1,150 yards from scrimmage last year despite missing four games. He has also rushed for 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Despite all the frustration about how Matt Nagy’s offense could never get untracked, Montgomery often posted all-around quality totals.
Now, with a new-look offense that will reportedly borrow elements from San Francisco and Green Bay, Montgomery is expected to play a major role to the point where he could go from an underrated performer to a true standout.
David Montgomery Gets Rolling With RPO
It has been widely reported and speculated that Getsy will bring elements of the Kyle Shanahan style of offense with him to Chicago while also incorporating more of an RPO look than what we saw in Green Bay. That makes apparent sense, as Justin Fields is much more mobile than Aaron Rodgers is.
In both the Shanahan and Green Bay offenses, the running back is a significant part of the game plan. The 49ers were fourth in run/pass ratio in the NFL last season. Green Bay was not in the top 15 in that category, but that is no revelation on a team that featured the MVP award winner at QB. Chicago will obviously not be leaning as heavily on its QB to spur the offense.
Ideally, a quality RPO attack will have a mobile QB and a strong RB presence that will keep defenses off balance and enhance and encourage play action. The Bears have both of those pieces in place with Montgomery and Fields, and it will be the job of Getsy to best utilize those top players in tandem for optimum results. Getsy is considered to be a very bright offensive mind, even though he will be a first-time play-caller.
Montgomery is a tough runner and a tackle-breaker who should flourish even more in a consistent dual-role with Fields. There will not be any maddening trading of play-calling duties this time.
Fields will also utilize Montgomery often as a pass-catcher. Montgomery will be the key to balancing the offense for Fields. Still, the regular threat of being a passer and runner will also help Montgomery against opponents that will be kept guessing often.
Bears RB Committee Situation?
One similarity between a classic Shanahan offense and the Packers’ RB approach was that two or more RBs would be utilized. Green Bay certainly could have used Aaron Jones as a sole featured back but having AJ Dillon as an alternate “hammer” certainly was more taxing on opposing defenses.
Fantasy players may not want to hear this, but Montgomery may not be truly dominant in terms of the RB workload next season. He should be the main ball carrier for the Bears, yet we could also see some Herbert in the mix, too, especially if his pass protection improves. There will also be the matter of Tarik Cohen’s health and effectiveness.
Having a healthy Cohen and an improving Herbert can give the Bears a deeper backfield and ensure that Montgomery does not get overworked and is less exposed to possible injuries. Defenses will have to account for two to three different RBs that can challenge them, and Montgomery can stay fresher to make the most of his touches.
The Nagy era is thankfully over, and with his departure may finally come the type of offensive excitement that was hoped for and never seen for most of four seasons. Montgomery is set to be a significant part of the projected improvements in 2022.
This could be Montgomery’s last season with the Bears.
It could be one in which his push for a new deal and playing a big part in a rising offense could help him gain more national recognition as one of the better RBs in the game.
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