Can Chicago Bears keep David Montgomery involved in passing game?

Chicago Bears - Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Everybody saw David Montgomery break out on the ground last season, but one of the more underrated aspects of his ascension was his ability to impact the passing game. With Tarik Cohen in the mix, it was hard to get Montgomery going as a pass catcher, but without him, Montgomery became an all-around back for the Chicago Bears.

He was averaging 4.1 catches for 31.2 yards per game in 2020 without Cohen which does not sound like a lot but was over double his production when Cohen was healthy. The threat of him as a pass-catcher opens more space and forces corners to sit on the flats when he flares out.

With that in mind, it was very disappointing to see that Montgomery went from a 12.1% target share beyond Week 3 last season to a 3% target share in week one. Were they really going to phase him out of the passing game after he took that step in year two?

The Bears got Montgomery involved in the passing game on Sunday. While it was just three catches on four targets for 18 yards, it is the threat that opens passing lanes, and it adds more dimensions to the offense.

Montgomery was targeted 14% on Sunday, which is right in line, if not higher than the type of work he was getting last year.

In week one Damien Williams was cutting into that workload for Monty. In Week two, Williams impressively was targeted 14% as well, including one designed pass. So, on the season Williams is still getting 13% of the targets.

However, Montgomery shot up from 3% to 7%. Overall, the Bears would like to get Montgomery higher, because 7% was about the rate he saw as a rookie. The 3% rate was entirely unacceptable.

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Still, it is worth noting that the Bears were able to carve out 28% of their targets for Williams and Montgomery. They were able to add to the workload for Monty, while still having another pass-catching back involved. This is important because Tarik Cohen could be back in Week 7. If so, the Bears need to add his splash play potential, but cannot let his target share cut into Montgomery.