Will Montgomery Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener


The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series continues with a look at Chicago Bears veteran offensive lineman, #64, Will Montgomery. The profile on Montgomery marks only 64 days until the Bears kickoff the regular season, with a match-up against the Green Bay Packers.

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The Bears signed Montgomery to a one-year free agent contract early in the off season, directly after releasing last year’s starting center Roberto Garza. After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, Montgomery has gone on to have a successful eight-year NFL career, with the Bears being the fifth team he will play for in his career.

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Montgomery bounced around a little bit as a spot starter on the interior offensive line with the Panthers, New York Jets and Washington Redskins throughout the first four years of his NFL career. He got his first opportunity to be a full-time starter in 2011, when he became the Redskins’ starting center. He held onto the job for three seasons, starting all 48 games at center for the team in that span.

Last season, Montgomery played for the Denver Broncos, appearing in all 16 games, including eight starts at the center position. He is considered to be an extremely smart player with solid skills as both a run blocker and pass protector.

What to Expect from Will Montgomery in 2015

Montgomery followed head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase from the Broncos to the Bears, and his experience in their system will be extremely important for the team in 2015.

He is not only an ideal fit for Gase’s zone run blocking system, but Montgomery’s leadership and knowledge of the system will be similar to having a second quarterback on the field for the Bears. That is of course, if Montgomery can win a starting job on the Bears’ offensive line.

He is likely to be in direct competition for the starting center position with Bears’ rookie Hroniss Grasu. With strong experience and knowledge of the offense, Montgomery surely has the upper hand over Grasu at the moment, but do not count out the rookie.

Nov 1, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Hroniss Grasu (55) blocks for Oregon Ducks running back Royce Freeman (21) against the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears obviously like Grasu after selecting him in the third round of the 2015 draft. He is a very quick and mobile offensive lineman who is a perfect fit for Gase’s zone system. While Grasu does not have any experience in this specific offense, he was given major responsibilities in college as the starting center in Oregon’s ridiculously fast-paced offense.

Montgomery probably has the edge at the moment, but he is going to have his hands full in this position battle throughout training camp. Also, in a possible rebuilding year, would the Bears simply play Grasu to get him the game experience? I doubt it, but it is something that should be taken into consideration.

In his piece where he projected the Bears starting offensive unit, our very own Derek Hanfland brings up an interesting scenario for Montgomery to get on the field. After all of the talk of Kyle Long kicking outside to tackle this off season, Hanfland projects Long as the Bears’ starting right tackle for 2015. This move would open up right guard, a position that Montgomery played almost exclusively early in his career.

If Long plays outside, the Bears could get both the experience and knowledge of Montgomery in the lineup at right guard, while kick-starting Grasu’s career at center. On top of that, there is not a better player on the roster for the young Grasu to learn from. He would certainly benefit from playing next to Montgomery for an entire season. This is a situation that would be very beneficial to the Bears, and is something they should be considering.

Whether it is at center or right guard, Montgomery is likely to be an important player for the Bears as they transition to this new offensive system. He probably will not get a lot of praise, but the Bears made a great move by bringing in this veteran lineman.

Next: Five Most Important Offensive Reserve Players for Bears

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