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Bears’ David Montgomery: Run game is ‘going to be better this year’

Of the 20 players in the NFL with at least 200 carries last year, only the Jets’ Le’Veon Bell averaged less than Montgomery’s 3.67 yards per carry.

Bears running back David Montgomery carries the ball in the season finale against the Vikings.
Bears running back David Montgomery carries the ball in the season finale against the Vikings.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Bears running back David Montgomery sat in his car Tuesday, ready to open the door and walk onto a suburban field to throw with quarterback Mitch Trubisky and his teammates.

The Bears know, though, that the best thing Montgomery could do for his quarterback — be it Trubisky or Nick Foles — is to stabilize a run game that ranked among the league’s worst last year.

Last season, the Bears ranked 27th in the NFL with 1,458 rushing yards; 28th with eight rushing touchdowns; and 29th with 3.7 yards per rushing attempt.

The team was extremely disappointed with its rushing attack and fired the offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and tight ends coach shortly after the season ended. They were replaced by coordinator Bill Lazor — who has experience in run-first offenses — as well as offensive line coach Juan Castillo. New tight ends coach Clancy Barone is a former offensive line coach.

Those changes could help the run game. Montgomery’s evolution as a running back will, too.

Asked what he thinks put him in a good position to make a leap this year, Montgomery pointed to the year that has passed.

“An entire year of me being in an offense,” he said on a video call, where he was honored as one of the team’s two Brian Piccolo Award winners. “Me not being solely a complete rookie and me going in with the unknown that, ‘I don’t know any of the offense,’ or me going in with the unknown that I don’t know if I’ll play or not. [Or] me going with the unknown of not knowing if I will get carries or not, or worrying about all the small stuff that doesn’t even matter anymore.

“I can really get to playing football now because I’m a year in and I’m a lot more confident. I’m ready to go have fun now.”

Of the 20 running backs in the NFL with at least 200 carries last year, only the Jets’ Le’Veon Bell averaged less than Montgomery’s 3.67 yards per carry.

“It’s going to be better this year,” he said. “I’m going to be better this year for this team and this organization. I’m going to come as prepared as ever to lead that running back room the way I need to — and be who I need to be for this offense and this team.”

Last year’s third-round draft pick from Iowa State spent the offseason thinking about 2019. Montgomery, who won’t see a blocker or tackler until training camp, tried to focus on simply trying to take care of his mind and body.

He’s focusing on what he can control this year; that wasn’t always the case last season, he said.

“Whatever happened, happened,” he said. “I can’t go back and change anything. You just take it for what it is and just try to get better, be the best you you can be every day. And put your best foot forward and just get better.”