Underrated value of David Montgomery return to Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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David Montgomery returned to the Chicago Bears active roster and immediately got back to being the workhorse back. While some fans wanted the Bears to mix in Khalil Herbert more, there are some reasons that complicate his skill set.

Herbert brings little to nothing in the passing game. He is below average as a pass catcher and pass blocker. David Montgomery has not been elite in the passing game, but he and Herbert both have 10 targets, but Montgomery has 66 yards while Herbert has 44.

However, much bigger than that is pass protection. The Bears started Damien Williams over Herbert against the 49ers because Herbert was a complete liability in pass protection against the Buccaneers. Before the Bucs game, the Bears were being very hesitant to use Herbert in pass protection, and we learned why very quickly.

On the flip side, the Bears immediately got Justin Fields an extra blocker on eight of his dropbacks last night. The Bears had Larry Borom lined up against T.J. Watt for most of the night, and while Watt got his, a lot of it came down to scheme. Watt had a coverage sack and a sack where Fields booted right into him. Borom held up, but that was aided in part due to Montgomery.

Below you can see that Montgomery takes the play-action fake and immediately puts his shoulder into the chest of Watt. This keeps that entire side clean.

Next, Montgomery goes out into a route, but before doing so he gives a little shoulder to Watt. Watt starts so far outside the tackle, but with Montgomery chipping on his outside shoulder, Watt now decides to jump inside. Fields sees Watt jump inside and hits the scramble lane created. We wrote about Khalil Herbert being in a similar situation against Devin Bush, and he essentially evaded Bush.

Speaking of Bush, the play below is a prime example of how Herbert should step up and block a blitzing linebacker. Montgomery is reading him like he reads the holes and sees Bush hit the hole. Montgomery meets Bush and protects his quarterback. On one hand, it is good that Herbert can see firsthand how to handle this, on the other, these are the plays that will ensure Montgomery sees 80% and Herbert sees 20% moving forward.

This play can speak to the awareness that came from David Montgomery in this game. He takes one step to Watt but sees that Chris Wormley beat Sam Mustipher to the inside. Montgomery immediately steps inside and helps his center, knowing that this was a more pressing need.

Below is the last play of pass protection help. We see that he starts to the left of Justin Fields but works all the way around to the right side to help Larry Borom against T.J Watt. There was another similar example of Khalil Herbert struggling to execute this type of block against the Buccaneers.

For the season, PFF gives Montgomery a grade of 88.6, while Herbert is 58.2. As runners, Montgomery and Herbert are different, but the huge difference comes in the passing game.

Next. This choice continues to hurt Bears. dark

As a pass-catcher Montgomery is capable while Herbert has struggled. However, the difference in pass protection is stark, and it may have been a help for Justin Fields having a career game as a passer. The Chicago Bears are going to continue to rely on Montgomery and continue to push Herbert to the bench.