The Bears ruled running back David Montgomery (concussion) out for Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, which could open the door for veteran Lamar Miller to make his 2020 debut.
The Bears signed the 29-year-old Miller to their practice squad in early October, leading to questions as to if the two-time 1,000-yard rusher could boost a lagging run game. He tore his ACL in a preseason game in August 2019 and was cut by the Patriots after this year’s training camp.
But there’s been a sneaky important factor to Miller’s role with the Bears: Running backs coach Charles London, who was Miller’s position coach from 2016-2017 with the Houston Texans.
“I know what Lamar at 100 percent looks like,” London said this week. “And we’ve been watching him, he’s really progressing and he’s doing well and hopefully he can contribute soon.”
The Bears’ running back room without Montgomery looks shaky at best: Cordarrelle Patterson, Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce. Adding Miller to Monday’s active roster – two players can be promoted from the practice squad on gamedays – would seem to make sense, seeing as there isn’t much experience in that trio otherwise (Patterson has 132 career rushing attempts; Nall has two and Pierce has zero).
But it all will come down to if Miller has shown coaches – London, Matt Nagy and new play-caller Bill Lazor – enough behind the scenes in practice. He’s been with the Bears for a month and a half and tellingly hasn’t been called up, even as the Bears’ run game has plummeted to being among the worst in the NFL (thanks, mostly, to some rough games by the offensive line). The Bears are averaging 82 rushing yards per game, last in the league.
So Miller may not be an immediate solution if he gets called up on Monday. But maybe he will be. Just like with Nagy handing play-calling duties off to Lazor – hey, it can’t hurt, right?
“I would say this with Lamar, he’s a really kid good that has a lot of experience and he has had that injury that is not always easy to come back from, but when he was playing at his highest level, he was one of the best running backs in the NFL,” Nagy said “And to have a guy like that, to me there’s an excitement of the possibility of him being able to fill a role for us. I do love this story. I think that if he does get a chance to go out there and do something, it will be exciting for him and for us.”