Which Chicago Bears running back is the better receiver?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

One thing we know about the Chicago Bears running backs is that neither Khalil Herbert nor David Montgomery is a legitimate pass-catching threat. The Bears brought in Darrynton Evans and Trestan Ebner, and both will compete for pass-down work. Still, these two are going to be on the field for enough passing downs, that they have to be trusted in this area. Last season Montgomery had 51 targets and Herbert had 16.

Based on the volume and production, it would be easy to surmise that Montgomery is the better pass catcher of the two. He at least was trusted more by Matt Nagy to catch passes.

Which Chicago Bears RB is the better pass catcher?

Beyond that, Montgomery averaged 7.2 yards per reception while Herbert averaged 6.9. Montgomery also averaged 1.05 yards per route run, while Herbert averaged 0.68. Montgomery ran more routes but was more efficient on a per-route basis.

Some of this can be pointed to quarterback play and offensive design because Montgomery is targeted on 12% of his routes, while Herbert is only targeted on 5% of his. Still, the Bears designed screens for Herbert on 25% of his targets and only did this for Montgomery on 16%, so you can argue that Montgomery was being better as an outlet, or getting open more often in any area.

Still, if Herbert were to have an argument it would be that he did not get enough work, and potentially in the right areas of the field. Herbert had an average depth of target of -0.7, meaning most of his passes were caught behind the line. On the flip side, Montgomery had an ADOT of 0.9, catching balls nearly one yard down the field. With just a 0.3 difference in yards per reception, this hurts Herbert.

Beyond that, Herbert averaged 7.6 yards after the catch per reception, while Montgomery was at 6.6. Some of that can be aided by catching the ball nearly a yard behind where Montgomery was, but it does make up for some of the differences in their overall statistics.

Next. Khalil Herbert advanced stats review. dark

Overall, neither Montgomery nor Herbert is going to be the leading pass catcher for this team. However, Herbert being inefficient on a per route basis may have more to do with the number of targets and where he saw these targets than it has to do with his ability in this area.