The Bears' Philosophical Shift in Their Type of Running Back is Literally Hard for Defenders to Grasp

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The Bears’ Philosophical Shift in Their Type of Running Back is Literally Hard for Defenders to Grasp

Analysis and Commentary

I have a hunch Bears fans are going to like Mike Davis:

This is the spirit I need out of a running back. Sure, I absolutely love speedsters who blow past would-be tacklers and shifty backs who juke their way into open spaces as much as the next guy. But there’s something easy to embrace about a back who wants to run at you and through you on the way to the end zone that speaks to me.

And based on the types of rushers Bears fans have embraced in the past, I know I’m not the only one.

Davis is a tough customer to bring down. According to Football Outsiders’ data, Davis had a higher percentage of broken tackles per touch (16.4%) than Jordan Howard (9.6%). To be clear, that’s a pretty solid showing for Davis, though he still has some catching up to do before reaching Tarik Cohen (21.8%) territory. Speaking of Cohen, his 19 broken tackles on receptions was tied for the sixth most in the NFL last season. Cohen finds himself in good company with the running backs atop that particular category. Only Saquon Barkley (28), Christian McCaffrey (23), and James Conner (21) registering more.

Elusiveness is important to the Bears, who likely valued the heck out of the fact that third-round running back David Montgomery broke a Pro Football Focus record 100 tackles last season. All things considered, this probably isn’t coincidence. That makes the Bears’ trade up to draft Montgomery in April’s draft less of a desperation reach at a position of need and more of an opportunity risk in order to select a player who was the right fit based on previous production and ownership of a skill the organization thinks is important.

The Bears’ running backs room is going to look different in 2019. So while change is scary to some, it’s hard to miss as to why the Bears are shifting gears.

(Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.

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