Montgomery rushed 18 times for 62 yards and a touchdown while adding a reception for an additional six yards in the Bears 16-14 victory over the Broncos on Sunday.
After being criminally misused in Week 1 when Mike Davis easily out-touched the rookie, coach Matt Nagy didn't make the same mistake in this contest. Although the Broncos consistently hit Montgomery at or near the line of scrimmage, he frequently was able to break tackles to gain yardage. On a late third-quarter drive, he was given five carries within a six-play span when the ball was inside Denver's five-yard line, and on the last play, he fought through tackles before finally stretching the ball across the goal line for his first NFL touchdown. Assuming he continues to work as the lead back, he should be a solid weekly fantasy option.
Montgomery rushed six times for 18 yards and brought in his only target for 27 yards in the Bears' 10-3 loss to the Packers on Thursday.
The rookie's much-anticipated regular-season debut left much to be desired in terms of his final line, but the blame could hardly be placed at the talented feet of Montgomery. The Iowa State product ran decisively on his few carries despite dealing with stacked fronts, showing off the tackle-breaking acumen that became a signature during his college career. Montgomery also displayed his ability in space on his 27-yard reception in the third quarter that took the ball down to the Packers' 33-yard line. Naturally, Montgomery's seven-touch workload was far from what coach Matt Nagy would have envisioned going into the contest, so getting the 2019 third-round pick into a rhythm early is likely to be a priority in the Bears' Week 2 matchup against the Broncos a week from Sunday.
Montgomery isn't expected to suit up for Saturday's preseason game at Indianapolis, Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune reports.
The same can be said for fellow running backs Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis. Once Week 1 rolls around, Montgomery seems to be the leader for early down work out of the backfield, with Davis serving as his primary competition. Meanwhile, Cohen is slated for his usual change-of-pace role.
Montgomery isn't expected to play in Friday's preseason contest versus the Giants.
Montgomery got a fair amount of work during the Bears' exhibition opener, taking three carries for 16 yards and a TD and hauling in three passes for 30 yards. While Montgomery theoretically has some competition for early-down reps in the form of Mike Davis, he may not get another chance to suit up before the regular season if coach Matt Nagy has his way. Look for Montgomery to get plenty of work once Week 1 rolls around.
Montgomery rushed three times for 16 yards and a touchdown and caught all three of his targets for 30 yards in Thursday night's 23-13 preseason loss to the Panthers.
Montgomery showed just why there's significant hype surrounding him ahead of his rookie campaign. Not only did he display his open-field ability on a 23-yard catch during the second quarter, but he capped that same drive with a seven-yard touchdown scamper. Although veteran tailback Mike Davis got the start, his three rushes for nine yards in a target-free outing certainly left Montgomery as Chicago's most impressive performer at the position, adding more steam to his preseason stock.
Matt Nagy has been impressed by Montgomery's hands, route running and ability to make defenders miss, Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune reports.
Nagy went on to explain that Montgomery extends runs with power, and his peripheral vision gives him a feel for when the next defender is coming, which helps him make defenders miss. In addition, the coach used the word "savvy" when describing the rookie's route running, and when these elements are put together, it's clear why the Bears felt the need to trade up to acquire him in the draft. For Nagy's offense, it's important to have a player like Montgomery in the backfield because defenses won't be keyed in as to whether a play is a run or a pass when he's on the field. Even though Tarik Cohen is certain to have a big role in the offense and Mike Davis is around to pitch in, expect Montgomery to see the bulk of the carries while also seeing work in the passing game. However, the fantasy community is already expecting big things from the rookie, as his ADP has him being taken in the top-24 running backs, so fantasy managers will need to make a significant investment to acquire him.
Coach Matt Nagy said Montgomery will get "a fair amount of carries" in preseason games, Larry Mayer of the Bears' official site reports.
With Tarik Cohen locked in on passing downs, the Bears need to figure out how they'll divide the remaining backfield snaps between Montgomery and Mike Davis. The team invested significant resources in both players, with the veteran Davis signing a two-year, $6 million contract that includes $3 million guaranteed, and the rookie from Iowa State requiring a third-round pick at No. 73 overall. A strong showing during training camp and the preseason could put Montgomery in the lead role, a job that translated to 250 carries and 26 targets for Jordan Howard last season. While he isn't likely to match Howard's ground workload, the rookie offers more potential as a pass catcher -- something GM Ryan Pace hinted at Sunday when he praised Montgomery for being well-rounded.
The Bears selected Montgomery in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 73rd overall.
Montgomery (5-foot-10, 222 pounds) is a runner who can handle a workhorse burden and offers a clear pass-catching upgrade over Jordan Howard. Free agent acquisition Mike Davis won't be easy to knock out of the running back rotation, but Montgomery should be able to force a stalemate in the meantime, and anything can happen once you get your foot in the door. Montgomery's limitation is obvious -- he was not elusive at Iowa State and might struggle to evade tacklers with his 4.63 speed and 28.5-inch vertical jump. Montgomery works best when he can accumulate carry volume and wear the defense thin with his tackle-breaking ability. At the very least, he possesses standout balance, which makes him a nice fit for a Chicago team looking to amplify its defensive strength with the ability to control time of possession. Montgomery is worth approaching in 12-team redraft leagues, though it's tough to guess now where he should go in the draft order. Perhaps the Chicago depth chart will make itself clearer closer to the season. If Davis does get out of the way, Montgomery would have considerable value.
|3||9/23/19||@ WAS||8:15 pm|
|5||10/6/19||@ OAK||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 6|
|9||11/3/19||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|11||11/17/19||@ LAR||8:20 pm|
|13||11/28/19||@ DET||12:30 pm|
|15||12/15/19||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|17||12/29/19||@ MIN||1:00 pm|