Why Khalil Herbert will not pass David Montgomery in Chicago Bears hot hand approach
The Chicago Bears have lost three straight games and now are on a mini-bye, where they have been off from Thursday through the upcoming Monday. This is one of the best times the team will have to make legitimate changes.
One change that we suggested was to move the running back room into a more even divide between David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. Matt Eberflus appears to agree because he said that the team will focus more on a hot-hand approach at running back.
In the past, the team had been giving Herbert and Montgomery full drives and splitting them on and off. Now, they want to mix both in and continue to ride one if they are feeling it.
It is easy to look at that quote and assume that Herbert is about to take over. Herbert has more yards after contact this season than Montgomery has in total. However, while the split will not be 70/30 in favor of Montgomery like in the past two weeks, it also will not completely flip to Herbert leading the way.
The move will probably get closer to 50/50. We just did a breakdown that compared the skill set of David Montgomery to Khalil Herbert. The reality is that Herbert is the big play hitter, so he should always have the bigger yards per attempt rate.
Still, Montgomery does have a clear role if he is used correctly. Of the two, Montgomery has more power. Short down and distance and red zone snaps will be valuable for Montgomery, We saw Herbert get stuffed on a fourth and short, a play Montgomery would have been a better option for.
Beyond that, Montgomery is a better pass blocker as well as a better pass catcher. He is more trusted to chip, turn, catch a pass and turn it upfield. So, beyond short down and distance, Montgomery should also play long down and distance.
Montgomery has also played 100% of the two-minute drill snaps over the past two weeks, which should not change. However, there should be more 1st and 10 plays with Herbert on the field.
The Chicago Bears create too many big plays for Herbert to leave him on the bench. In specific situations when we know a pass is coming and we know a power run is coming, they have to use Montgomery. That will be nearly enough to get him close to 50% as it is.
With that in mind, they should mix Herbert in more for the other situations, as he is the more explosive back. The Chicago Bears should certainly ride the hot hand, but more than that, they should be looking to put the backs in the situations when they are best utilized.