David Montgomery is a man on a mission. It was evident from the start that he wasn’t satisfied with his 2020 season. This despite rushing for over 1,000 yards and scoring nine touchdowns. He thinks he can do better. No, he knows he can do better. So he attacked the 2021 offseason with a level of obsession that is significant even for him. Every little weakness he identified in his game was addressed and mercilessly worked on to improve.

That single-minded determination is what makes him such a good football player. However, it almost came at a cost. One thing Montgomery forgot during his quest to dominate is that football, at its heart, is still a game. Games are supposed to be fun. Somewhere along the line, he forgot that. When he spoke to Jeff Joniak in an interview, he told a story of how an encounter with his young nephew helped remind him of this fact.

It is sweet stuff.

Montgomery took that encounter to heart. Working hard is great, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t appreciate the rewards of it. That means enjoying the games along the way. It is nice to see the running back understand this lesson. One a lot of players don’t come to realize until it’s too late. Hence why many former veterans express regrets about how they handled their careers.

That isn’t going to happen with Montgomery. He intends to be great, but also won’t let that pursuit ruin his enjoyment of the game. Perhaps that is why he is off to the best start of his career. He found the happy medium between work and play.

David Montgomery will be needed more than ever

Chicago is going to kick off the Justin Fields era on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. That means it could end up being a somewhat bumpy ride. As is usually the case with rookie quarterbacks. Having a steady ground attack is often crucial in such situations. Hence why the presence of Montgomery is even more important. When things get tough? Just hand the ball to him.

At the same time, having Fields in the mix should also help David Montgomery be more productive. One figures the Bears are set to run a lot more zone-read and RPO (run-pass option) plays. The benefit of having a mobile quarterback. Fields’ obvious speed will force defenses to account one defender for him in those situations. That should help the running back see more open lanes than if Andy Dalton were still starting.

A scary proposition given how good Montgomery already is.

If Fields also becomes an effective passer in the coming weeks? There is no telling how much better this offense can get. With teams forced to focus on stopping him through the air, it makes life that much easier for the running back. Montgomery said as far back as training camp that he was going to show everybody in the NFL they made a mistake ignoring him. Him playing hard is one thing. Him playing hard and loose? Good luck.

SOURCE© Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.