Bears notebook: David Montgomery hoping for a Justin Fields boost

“When you’ve got a guy who has that skill set in using his legs, [the defense has] to respect that,’’ Montgomery said. Tashaun Gipson is doubtful, and Eddie Goldman likely is a game-time decision for the Browns game.

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Bears running back David Montgomery (32) has rushed for 169 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and one touchdown this season.

Jeff Haynes/AP Photos

Receivers aren’t the only players looking forward to seeing what Justin Fields can do for them when he makes his first NFL start Sunday against the Browns. 

Running back David Montgomery also figures to benefit from defensive linemen and linebackers hesitating even for a split second to see what Fields will do. 

“I hope it’s gonna help. I’m sure it will,” Montgomery said. “Justin is a dangerous weapon with his arm and his legs. When you’ve got a guy who has that skill set in using his legs, you’ve got to respect that. I’m excited to see what that’s gonna bring to the field on Sunday.”

Montgomery is averaging 84.5 rushing yards per game and 4.7 yards per attempt. He rushed for 108 yards on 16 carries (6.8 average) against the Rams in Week 1. But he was held to 61 yards on 20 carries (3.1 average) against the Bengals last week — including 45 yards on 12 carries (3.8 average) in the second half, when Fields played in place of injured starter Andy Dalton.

Montgomery, like his teammates, has been impressed with Fields’ demeanor as the starting quarterback. 

“He’s great,” Montgomery said. “He comes in with the winning mentality. He’s got the mentality to make everybody else around him [composed]. I’ve never seen anyone [like that] — you would think from [being under] a magnifying glass he’d have so much pressure on him, being in the position he is. But he’s so calm and composed. He’s just taking every rep as a game rep, and it’s very cool to see.” 

Goldman questionable

Nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who did not play in the first two games because of a knee injury, is questionable for Sunday and likely will be a game-time decision, coach Matt Nagy said.

Goldman, who has not played since Week 17 of the 2019 season, was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but did not practice Friday.

Safety Tashaun Gipson is doubtful and unlikely to play after suffering a hamstring injury in practice this week. Deon Bush, who has started nine games in his five-year career, figures to replace Gipson. 

Defensive end Akiem Hicks (illness), wide receivers Darnell Mooney (groin) and Marquise Goodwin (ankle), safety Eddie Jackson (toe) and defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (back) are questionable but expected to play. All but Mooney (limited) were full participants in practice Friday. 

The bar is low

Fields will be the Bears’ fifth rookie quarterback drafted in the first round to start in his first year since the 1970 merger — following Mitch Trubisky (2017), Rex Grossman (2003), Cade McNown (1999) and Jim McMahon (1982). 

None of the rookies thrived. McMahon’s 72.5 rating (two touchdowns, three interceptions) was the best. But all four games were decided by four points or less. The Bears won with Grossman (13-10 over the Vikings) and McMahon (20-17 over the Lions); they lost with Trubisky (20-17 to the Vikings) and McNown (20-16 to the Eagles).

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