The Bears, collectively, were pleased with how third-round pick David Montgomery played in his NFL debut Thursday night. With that in mind: The seven touches he had in a 10-3 loss, then, only appear more glaring.
Coach Matt Nagy seemed to acknowledge that this week.
“Every touch that he had, he did well,” Nagy said. “I’ll put it at that. Between him, Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen, those three guys, they're all special when they have the football in their hands. I recognize that, I realize that and again, like I said last week, I'm well aware of it.”
While Montgomery gained only 18 yards on six carries, he looked better doing so than the numbers next to his name in the box score may indicate. He flashed as a route runner, too, on his 27-yard snag.
The good news for the Bears is all the things they liked about Montgomery while he was at Iowa State — the vision, tackle breaking, contact balance, pass-catching ability, etc. — all showed up in a legitimate NFL game, not just a snippet of a preseason game against backups.
“He performed the way that we expected him to perform,” running backs coach Charles London said. “He showed good vision, good patience, good feet, and he went out there and competed and you can't ask for anything more than that. And I look forward to seeing him play again Sunday.”
The Bears have moved on from Thursday night’s disheartening loss, and will head to Colorado to face the Denver Broncos this weekend with in all likelihood a renewed balance to their offense. They’ll also caution that committing to the run doesn’t mean loading up only Montgomery — the team likes Davis, and still views Cohen as a running back even if he lined up in the backfield on only four of his 51 snaps.
So that may not be the news fantasy football players who drafted Montgomery want to hear, though it’s fair to expect him to be much more involved in the Bears’ offense in Week 2 than he was in Week 1. The Bears didn’t trade up to pick Montgomery in the third round of April’s NFL Draft just to have him average seven touches per game.
Why that happened remains a little confusing, but the bet here is it won’t happen again — at least in a similar situation.
In addition to the on-field things Montgomery can do, the Bears came to appreciate his mental approach to things in getting to know him before and after the draft process. That didn’t change in the aftermath of Thursday night’s loss, in which he quickly texted London telling him he had moved on to the Broncos and wanted to know what he could do to play better in that game.
Based on what his coaches said about him this week — maybe it’s not much.
“Green Bay happened,” Montgomery said. “It’s over now. You can’t worry about the past, you got the present and the future right in front of you.
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