Is Khalil Herbert leader to return kicks for Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears - Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears did not quite figure out how to use Cordarelle Patterson on offense. However, it is hard to say that he was a disaster signing due to his kickoff return prowess. Patterson is consistently one of the best returners and in both seasons with Chicago had a return for a touchdown.

Without Patterson, the Bears are going to have to find some way to make up what is a bigger loss than some fans may realize. Matt Nagy was asked about the situation, and while he noted that he expects competition, he only mentioned one person by name. That would be rookie Khalil Herbert.

It is fair to Nagy to preach competition. Handing a rookie a job on his first day is not fair to the rookie or the others around him. However, it does seem worth noting that he mentioned Herbert and stopped on Herbert. It appears as though the job is his for the taking, and as long as he does not show rookie mistakes fielding kicks. he should be set.

It was noted when he was drafted that he had a background of returning kicks. This makes sense considering the Bears have David Montgomery as their lead back, Tarik Cohen as a change of pace, and Damien Williams as their backup.

When they drafted Herbert the first thought was that perhaps Williams was not locked onto the roster and that the rookie could compete for the job.

However, Patterson was essentially a fourth running back at times, if not a fifth WR. He has a role as depth on offense, but the Bears got the most value out of him as a returner. It seems as though they have that same role in mind for Herbert.

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Last year the Bears had Ryan Nall and Patterson make the initial 53 as running backs. Essentially the Bears are planning to swap out Nall and Patterson for Williams and Herbert. The upgrade from Nall to Williams is worth the drop from Patterson to Herbert. Even with Herbert, there is upside as a returner with much more of a sure role on offense if needed.