The Chicago Bears will begin training camp at Halas Hall in just over two weeks and one position that can be labeled as the best on the team is running back. Featuring workhorse running back David Montgomery and complementary pieces in Tarik Cohen and Damien Williams. Depth also exists with players like Artavis Pierce, Ryan Nall, C.J. Marable, and Khalil Herbert, giving the Bears multiple players with a dual-threat skillset.
As Chicago continues to prepare for the 2021 NFL season, let’s get into three questions regarding the running back position.
1) How good can Montgomery be in 2021?
“It wasn’t enough for me last year, knowing my untapped potential that I have within myself,” Montgomery said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Just being more vocal, being able to stand what I say and allow my words to carry a lot of strength when I speak. Doing all things right at all times.”
As Montgomery enters year three, Chicago’s revamped offensive line should allow for him to see an increase in production with 2000 yards from scrimmage being a reasonable expectation. Montgomery clearly has high expectations of himself, looking to become one of the NFL’s best running backs, joining names like Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, and Alvin Kamara.
If Montgomery takes the next step forward, he’ll be eligible for a contract extension next offseason but to have a breakout season, Chicago also needs to continue feeding Montgomery and using his dual-threat skillset to the fullest advantage.
2) How much do Cohen and Williams open up the offense?
Chicago added Williams this offseason and with Cohen returning, the Bears will be able to run multiple plays featuring two-back sets. Both players have shown the ability to be dual-threat playmakers, impacting Chicago’s running and passing attack.
Cohen and Williams will also allow Nagy to get creative in terms of playcalling, while providing quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Justin Fields with mismatches against linebackers, freeing up wide receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney for additional deep throws.
3) Is Khalil Herbert being slept on?
Chicago drafted Herbert with the 217th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. During his lone season at Virginia Tech, Herbert averaged nearly 27 yards per return, showcasing the ability to be an electric player on special teams.
“They really want me to come in here and learn as much as I can,” Herbert said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Establish a role on special teams, they’re really big on that. Getting in my playbook, learning as much as I can to help contribute to the team in some way or form”.
Herbert should carve out a role on special teams, giving the Bears a long-term option as a returner but he should be given opportunities to impact Chicago’s running and passing game throughout his rookie season.