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David Montgomery’s concussion another blow to Bears’ run game

The Bears’ options if Montgomery can’t play: undrafted free agent Ryan Nall, veteran Lamar Miller, undrafted rookie Artavis Pierce and former wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

Bears running back David Montgomery (32) rushed for 30 yards on 14 carries (2.1 avg.) against the Titans on Sunday, with a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. He also suffered a concussion that puts his status in doubt for Monday night’s game against the Vikings.
Bears running back David Montgomery (32) rushed for 30 yards on 14 carries (2.1 avg.) against the Titans on Sunday, with a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. He also suffered a concussion that puts his status in doubt for Monday night’s game against the Vikings.
Wesley Hitt/Getty

Asked about the mood at Halas Hall on Thursday, Cordarrelle Patterson was defiant.

“Honestly, I don’t care what nobody else’s [bleepin’] mood is, man,” Patterson said. “I’m always happy and smiling and always having fun. That’s just the mood I bring. If I see someone even trying to be moody, I’m going to crack a joke on their [butt] and try to bring them up.”

This hasn’t been the year Patterson was expecting. Coach Matt Nagy hoped to take advantage of Patterson’s versatility — like Bill Belichick did — and moved him to running back. The hope was that he would be a unique weapon as a gadget player.

But like almost everything else with the Bears’ offense this season, Patterson’s role has never developed. He has gained 88 yards on 29 carries (3.0 average).

But he’s not going to let that bring him down.

“No mood swings around me. I’m gonna always be up,” Patterson said. “Teams are never gonna be down around me. I’m always happy. I’m always smiling. Even when you think I’m angry or something, I’m smiling on the inside — [that’s] what I bring.”

Patterson could be in for a bigger workload — or not — Monday against the Vikings, with leading rusher David Montgomery recovering from a concussion he suffered against the Titans. Montgomery did not practice Thursday as the Bears began to prepare for the Vikings.

“We just don’t have a lot that we can do with him being in [concussion protocol],” Nagy said. “We’ll just have to wait and see and hope that each day he gets a little bit better.”

If Montgomery can’t play, the Bears will be in a familiar position — a few options, but none of them great:

• Ryan Nall, the apparent next man up, has been in Nagy’s offense for three seasons since signing as an undrafted free agent from Oregon State in 2018. But he has two carries in his NFL career.

• Veteran Lamar Miller made the Pro Bowl in 2018 with the Texans. But he just got here — he was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 5. And he hasn’t played in an NFL game since a playoff game following the 2018 regular season because he suffered a torn ACL in training camp with the Texans in 2019.

• Patterson still is a complementary running back whose impact has diminished throughout the season. In the last six games, he has 14 carries for 31 yards (2.2 avg.).

• Rookie Artavis Pierce, an undrafted free agent who showed some promise in training camp and was promoted from the practice squad in Week 3, has played one offensive snap this season.

And it remains to be seen if it will even matter, with the current dilapidated state of the Bears’ offensive line and offense in general. Montgomery has rushed for 472 yards on 131 carries in nine games — 52.4 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry. The Bears are last in the NFL in rushing and 29th in yards per carry.

But Montgomery still is the best the Bears have.

“Anytime you lose a player like David Montgomery, that’s obviously a big loss,” Nagy said. “I have so much respect for the way he plays this game and what he does for his offense — and I know what we’re far, far, far from him being what he can be as a running back in the league, and I’m excited to see that happen.”

The Bears made Nall available to the media this week, so it’s presumed he’ll be the first in line if Montgomery can’t play. But Miller is an intriguing option with his resume. More than likely, they’ll have to find someone who can make something out of nothing.