Chicago Bears: 5 Position groups that improved this offseason

Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, David Montgomery
Chicago Bears – Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Chicago Bears Position Group: Running Back

Prior to Tarik Cohen’s ACL injury in Week 3 of 2020, Cohen and David Montgomery split time at running back and sometimes shared the field in 2RB formations. If Matt Nagy wanted to waste a play, he’d bring in Cordarrelle Patterson and let him get stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

Prior to Week 11 of last season, the Chicago Bears running game was virtually non-existent. Once the Bears’ offense began to lean more heavily on the legs of David Montgomery, they began to find more success running the football. Utilizing a heavy dose of outside zone runs and play-action to freeze the pass rush, Chicago’s offense started to score points. Rushing for 423 yards in December alone, Montgomery helped Matt Nagy find the Bears’ identity on offense (hopefully).

Establishing himself as a star running back for Chicago last season, David Montgomery is looking to build off a strong ending to 2020. Rushing 247 times for 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns, Montgomery ranked third in the NFL with 29 broken tackles. As a receiver, Montgomery caught 45 passes for 438 yards and two touchdowns. With the ability to do it all and make people miss out of the backfield, look for Montgomery to be used heavily by Matt Nagy’s offense in 2021.

Electing not to bring back Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency, Chicago signed an actual RB instead. Signing former Kansas City Chief RB Damien Williams to a one-year, $1 million dollar deal, the Bears took a very minimal risk.

Known by fans as “Playoff Damien” for his breakout performance during the Chiefs 2020 playoff run, Williams arguably should have won the 2020 Super Bowl MVP. Running 17 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, Williams also caught four passes for 29 yards a touchdown.

Having played under Andy Reid in Kansas City, familiarity with Matt Nagy’s scheme won’t be an issue. Unlike Jordan Howard or Cordarrelle Patterson, Williams will be able to threaten defenses as a receiver out of the backfield. Outside of Kareem Hunt, Chicago couldn’t have found a better scheme fit at RB2 behind David Montgomery. With Tarik Cohen still on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) nursing a torn ACL, look for Williams to play a big role for this Bears offense in 2021.

Feeling pressure to add depth to this room in the draft after injuries to both Cohen and Montgomery in 2020, Ryan Pace took Virginia Tech RB, Khalil Herbert in the sixth round. A three-down back with special teams flexibility, Herbert offers Chicago a potential starting kick returner and change of pace RB. Graded by many scouts as a third or fourth-round pick, Herbert was a great value selection for Ryan Pace in round six.

Entering 2021 with an ascending young offensive line and revamped running back group, there is a lot to like about the potential of this run game. Looking back on what this group looked like a year ago, it has definitely improved entering the 2021 season.