No matter what happens with Cubs Manager Joe Maddon moving forward, one thing that will always stick with me is the idea that you should never run away from expectations. When expectations are high, it means there is a belief that good things are going to happen because of you. And when good things are expected, it means you’re being held in high regard. That’s all good stuff.
So with that being said, I’m looking forward to embracing the high bar that is being set for Bears rookie running back David Montgomery:
NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter selected Montgomery as one of the two running backs for his All-Rookie Offensive Team. Reuter believes Montgomery will be what Jordan Howard wasn’t for last year’s Bears, an elusive back with tackle-breaking skills who keeps drives alive by moving the chains on the ground and through the air. Or in other words, Montgomery will be what Howard was during his first two years before slowing down in Year 3.
To be honest, it’s tough to project what kind of numbers Montgomery will put up in the year ahead. But we can take an educated guess, right? Howard averaged 17.8 touches per game in the two seasons he shared with Tarik Cohen in the backfield. Over the course of a 16-game season, that’s roughly 285 times for Montgomery to have the ball in his hands. But if Mitch Trubisky improves as a passer, it could lead to more (and longer) offensive possessions, which means more plays and opportunities for Montgomery to be on the field. It’s possible that we’re looking at Montgomery getting anywhere between 280 and 300 touches in 2019 based on what was left behind by out-going running backs and how he is used in this offensive scheme. Even if we went to the conservative end of the projection spectrum, Montgomery should be well-positioned to make an instant impact on offense.
There is no shortage of rookie running backs who have received a ton of post-draft hype who ultimately were disappointments because they didn’t get the necessary touches. And while it’s still early, it seems as if Head Coach Matt Nagy is going to give Montgomery every opportunity to make it happen:
Matt Nagy continues to talk up David Montgomery just days after the Bears traded up to acquire the RB in the Draft. Fantasy owners who doubt him this season will be on the wrong side of history (Kiss of death?!).
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) May 6, 2019
The fantasy community seems to believe in what Montgomery can do as a rookie. Mike Clay (ESPN) ranks Montgomery as the No. 48 player in non-PPR formats. Heath Cummings (CBS Sports) puts Montgomery at the top of the list of rookies in dynasty drafts this year. Michael Beller (SI.com) has his eyes on Montgomery as one of the rookies to watch from a fantasy perspective. So while fantasy isn’t always reality, the generally held belief here is that Montgomery is going to get his fair share of opportunities. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what he does with them in 2019 (and beyond).