Khalil Herbert has gotten off to a strong start this season. He has averaged at least five yards per carry in three of the first five contests and is coming off back-to-back games with over 75 yards on the ground. However, his promising season will be put on hold for the time being, as he will be on the shelf for a few weeks due to suffering an ankle injury in the second half of Thursday night’s game. How will the Bears fare in the wake of his injury?

Many teams would be in a precarious position if they lost their leading rusher, but Chicago has enough quality depth behind him to maintain the same level of play. Roschon Johnson will be the main beneficiary of an increased workload while Herbert is on the mend. The fourth-round selection does everything you want your lead back to do, and there is reason to believe he does it well. He has done well with his limited opportunities this season and has averaged just under five yards per carry through four games.

Johnson will also be eager to prove he can thrive in the pros, as he had to pick up the scraps in Bijan Robinson’s shadow at the collegiate level. However, the University of Texas product is a former four-star recruit, so he has more than enough talent in his own right. He’s just waiting for an opportunity, and the injury to Herbert could accelerate that process. Unfortunately, his breakout game might not come this week, as he also got hurt against the Commanders, suffering a concussion in the second quarter.

While losing Johnson and Herbert would be a massive blow to the Bears running back room, they still have a potential secret weapon waiting in the wings in sixth-year man D’Onta Foreman. The 27-year-old has been inactive since the season opener, but that has more to do with the Bears’ depth at the position (and his inability to play special teams) than it does his skills as a runner. In fact, he was one of the league’s most impressive running backs last year with Carolina, averaging over 80 yards across the final eleven games of the season after they traded away Christian McCaffrey.

Foreman proved that he could thrive as a lead back last year, and he was awarded with a one-year, $3 million with Chicago this offseason. He might not replicate his performance from last season with an increased workload following Herbert’s injury, but the Bears won’t rely on him to do so with the presence of Johnson. However, it’s hard to envision a better third option than Foreman, who has enough talent to fill Herbert’s shoes as an effective early-down thumper while the rookie sees the field on passing downs (at the very least).

Chicago is also bringing in Darrynton Evans from the Dolphins practice squad. Evans actually played with the Bears last year and had 64 yards on 14 carries, but he seems more like Travis Homer insurance (since he also got hurt on Thursday night) on special teams than someone they are counting on to see the field. With that said, his familiarity with the scheme is a huge plus if it comes down to it.

The Bears’ offensive line appears to have finally found their groove. While they are not yet at full strength, they played much better the past two weeks after a rough start to the season. It’s no coincidence that Justin Fields had ample time to diagnose the Commanders’ defense with Teven Jenkins back in the fold. Injuries are the only thing holding the third-year guard back from being an All-Pro, as he is a beast in both the run and pass games.

The line should be able to open up lanes for whoever is in the backfield (Justin Fields definitely helps widen running lanes too, since defenses have to respect his legs), and they should get another boost when left tackle Braxton Jones returns from IR.

Will the Bears miss Herbert? Sure, he’s played at a high level to begin the year and is one of their most efficient offensive playmakers. However, they still have more than enough talent in the backfield to (at the very least) replicate his impact.

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