The hype surrounding second-year running back David Montgomery has cooled a bit after the groin injury he suffered in training camp. His status for Week 1's opener against the Lions on Sept. 13 is unknown at this time and has brought attention to the Bears' underwhelming depth and skill at the position.
Still, there's no reason to panic, right? In a worst-case scenario, Montgomery's injury will keep him out of two or three games. A platoon of Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall, and Cordarrelle Patterson should be good enough to survive that stretch, and when Montgomery is healthy and ready to return to the starting lineup, he'll resume his role as the Bears' bell cow and begin his quest to prove he's a legitimate three-down back in the NFL.
That's what Bears fans are hoping for, at least.
Then came the Jaguars' decision to release Leonard Fournette, the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft, and the rumors of the Saints' willingness to trade Alvin Kamara.
Suddenly, Bears fans seemed ready to move on from Montgomery. Both Fournette and Kamara represent upgrades at the position and GM Ryan Pace should make his move, right?
Most online betting sites had the Bears second to only the Saints as the team most likely to open the season with Kamara in their backfield.
But let's not forget about Montgomery, who just two weeks ago was a leaner and meaner version of himself, armed with a new diet and an extra gear, who was ready to finally reach his potential in coach Matt Nagy's offense.
"I like the way that he handles his day-to-day operations," Nagy said last month from Bears camp. "He realizes how important he is to this offense. I love his mentality. He's a hard worker, and I think he's eager to really go out and show what he can do."
Sometimes, players are only important until an upgrade is available. In the case of Montgomery, landing that upgrade doesn't seem likely.
Fournette is seeking a power running team that will feature his strengths; that all but rules out the Bears. Kamara is in the midst of the moonlight dance of contract negotiations; the Saints aren't going to trade him, nor should they.
That leaves the Bears with Montgomery as their feature back in 2020, and that's fine. In fact, it's more than fine. Montgomery has a Kareem Hunt-like skill set and can quickly become one of the NFL's most respected players at his position by season's end.
"As long as I get the opportunity to run it and be able to be out there with my teammates and my line, and to be able to run the ball, it's pretty sweet," Montgomery said in August.
Montgomery is going to get that opportunity. And there will be very little competition standing in his way.