The Chicago Bears are entering the 2020 season with a huge question at their quarterback position. Is this the only position to be concerned about? In 2019 the Chicago Bears drafted David Montgomery 73rd overall. Montgomery was a highly touted prospect coming out of Iowa State University. His rookie campaign finished with 257 total touches, but only finished as the RB24 (PPR) in Fantasy Football. The other running back that gets attention in the Bears' offense is Tarik Cohen, a small shifty running back that will keep the defenses on their toes.
Matt Nagy has been the coach for the Chicago Bears since 2018. In two years, Nagy's Bears have gone 20-12 and won the NFC North in his first season. Nagy was the Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator in 2017. When Nagy took over as play caller for the Chiefs (12/3/17). Travis Kelce saw 1.2 more targets per game and Kareem Hunt saw 1.45 more targets per game. Nagy has always shown the preference to the tight end and pass catching running backs.
In 2018, when Nagy was brought in as coach, the Bears signed Trey Burton in hopes to replicate Travis Kelce. Jordan Howard was the primary ball carrier and received 250 carries and had 20 receptions on the year. Tarik Cohen received 99 carries and 71 receptions.
Montgomery had high expectations heading into the season after the Bears won the NFC North. Montgomery was utilized similarly to Howard's 2018 season.
Bears Running Backs
David Montgomery was the primary ball carrier for the Bears in 2019. He had 242 carries on the season. He was only able to come out with 889 rushing yards. Was the offensive line and/or Matt Nagy's play calling to blame? Either way the rookie was tied for 13th most carries in the NFL. Tarik Cohen is not a threat to Montgomery's rushing volume but does cut into the passing game. Cohen had 79 receptions, adding 64 carries. Cohen seems to have solidified his role in Nagy's offense accumulating 150 receptions over the last two years. Here is how the two were on the field (plays) in 2019:
There is not, however, a Kareem Hunt for Nagy's Bears. Montgomery is getting the carries and Cohen is getting the receptions.
The Fantasy Football community has conflicting opinions on David Montgomery. If you are looking for in-depth insight and analysis, check out what Angelo sees in David Montgomery. The Bears offensive line was ranked 25th (PFF) last year. While currently ranked the 22nd unit heading into the 2020 season, they are a shadow of their overall 11th place finish in 2018. For the 2020 campaign, the Bears made offensive coaching adjustments in the offseason.
David Montgomery would benefit from any offensive line progression. It is important to note that the newly hired Tight End Coach (Barone) has offensive line coach experience. Here is how Montgomery and Cohen were utilized on rushing and receiving downs:
Montgomery looks to continue to find volume through the ground and Cohen looks to continue to handle receiving work for the 2020 seasons -- any additional touches is a bonus for the duo. Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet were two key offensive additions for the Bears to address the tight end position. If the Bears are able to click as a unit the tight end play and running game will be vital components of the offense's identity.
It will be important to note the efficiency of the touches for the running backs when evaluating future implications of the backfield. Right now it looks like volume will remain steady for Montgomery and Cohen as the offenses looks to take a leap forward, with whomever is under center for the Chicago Bears in 2020.