David Montgomery is the best player on the Chicago Bears offense. That is no disrespect to Darnell Mooney. It is merely a fact. No player has been more consistently productive over the past three seasons than the young running back. He has topped at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage and never had fewer than 849 rushing. All of this happened despite playing under a coaching staff that too often looked like they had no idea how to use him.
Never mind that he’s played behind a poor offensive line most of his career. If there was one player proven to be an expert at making a lot out of a little, it’s Montgomery. One would hope that’d be enough to earn him some respect from the wider NFL. Sadly that isn’t the case. ESPN’s top running back rankings for 2022 not only left him out of the top 10, but he didn’t even get an honorable mention or a single vote. Meanwhile, guys like Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders did.
Both of whom he outperformed.
This is nothing new for Montgomery. He is used to be overlooked ever since his days in college. Despite having loads of success at Iowa State, he still became only a 3rd round pick in the draft. The problem is he isn’t flashy enough for most voters. Highlight runs aren’t usually his thing. Montgomery is more of a grind-it-out type running back that wears defenses down with his relentless style. It also doesn’t help that his team hasn’t been good for three years.
Last but not least, it is the touchdowns. Across his three years in the league, Montgomery has 24 scores. That isn’t terrible at all. An average of eight per year. Unfortunately, his primary competition for national attention often scores somewhere between 10-15 touchdowns each year. The good news is the Bears finally started running him more inside the 10-yard line last season. The bad news is it was a low percentage of touches compared to other top backs.
David Montgomery may finally have a staff ready to use him.
New head coach Matt Eberflus made his intentions clear from the moment he took over. He wants his Bears to be a running football team. That is why he hired Luke Getsy as offensive coordinator from Green Bay. Yes, Justin Fields is the focal point as any quarterback should be. However, at its heart, the wide-zone offense is built around establishing the run. That is great news for Montgomery, as he showed lots of promise whenever the previous regime dabbled in outside zone gameplans.
There is a strong possibility he will see the football more than ever this year, as an ar runner and a pass-catcher. David Montgomery only caught six passes inside the red zone last season. By comparison, Aaron Jones caught double that in Green Bay, despite sharing snaps with A.J. Dillon. Another area Getsy could improve. Don’t underestimate what better coaching can do.
Maybe after this year, Montgomery will get more respect.
His motivation goes beyond that, though. The running back is in the final season of his rookie contract. He is playing for a chance to earn a lucrative second deal with the Bears. That is difficult for running backs in general. It’s especially true for him since the new regime had no hand in drafting him. If he doesn’t deliver this season, he may be on a new team by this time next year.