Bears RB David Montgomery ready to hit the ground running
Based on his success in offenses that ranked 29th, 26th and 24th in yards in his first three seasons, Montgomery figures to be a key beneficiary if the Bears’ offense improves under new coordinator Luke Getsy.
Running back David Montgomery went back to school in the offseason — mentally, not physically.
He is constantly, almost obsessively, looking for ways to improve. And with a new coaching staff and offensive scheme for 2022, he turned to a tack that figures to help him no matter what the scheme is.
He not only continued to work on his speed in the offseason, but also took his own crash course in understanding defenses. Entering his fourth year, Montgomery, out of Iowa State, prides himself on being an intelligent player — and a better understanding of what NFL defenses are doing figures to help take his game to another level
“Just learning different coverages, rotations, pressure and also understanding different things that the defensive line does,” Montgomery said. “Like, if he has his hand down or has another hand down, what does he do when he has [that] hand down?’ It’s just certain small things.
“I look at it as college. First year was like 100-level classes, my second year 200-level classes. You always try to find ways to improve. But as I get older, the game slows down. I want to be able to be sharper and more crisp at recognizing things at this point in my career.”
Montgomery’s production dipped in Matt Nagy’s final season with the Bears — 849 rushing yards, 3.8 yards per carry and seven touchdowns in 2021 after career highs of 1,070 yards, 4.3 yards per carry and eight touchdowns in 2020.
But based on his success in offenses that ranked 29th, 26th and 24th in yards in his first three seasons, Montgomery figures to be a key beneficiary if the Bears’ offense improves under new coordinator Luke Getsy.
Montgomery likes what he has seen. Who doesn’t at this point?
“I think it’s a great scheme,” Montgomery said. “I’m not going to tell you X’s and O’s of course, but I definitely think it’s good for me and the guys, as well, just learning something new and being able to hit the ground running. It’s different, but it’s definitely going to be great.”
When Montgomery arrived in 2019, he was handpicked to be the lead rushing weapon in Nagy’s offense. The Bears traded a productive back in Jordan Howard, then traded up 14 spots in the third round (73rd overall) to take Montgomery.
But like virtually every other player on the roster after the Bears hired general manager Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus to replace Ryan Pace and Nagy, Montgomery will have to prove himself to the new regime.
“I think the sky’s the limit for him and everybody else,” Eberflus said when asked how much more productive Montgomery can be in Getsy’s offense. “We don’t put ceilings on our guys. If the guy can climb all the way and go all the way up, man — go. We encourage you to do that, and we’ll keep feeding you. That’s the process of our whole football team. We never put a ceiling on anybody.”
With Montgomery in the final year of his rookie contract, this is a key season for him. He feigned ignorance about a potential extension when asked about it Wednesday.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know what an extension is.”
But his vow to be focused solely on production and not his next contract is consistent with his established role as a team leader. To do otherwise is not his style.
“Whether I’m going into my second year or my first year, I’ve still got to play football, and I still have to perform,” Montgomery said. “I could really care less about contracts, the contract terms and things. But I’m excited to be here for another year and play with my guys, too.”