Team speed has been lacking when it comes to Chicago’s offense in recent years (that’s why we were so excited to learn that David Montgomery has apparently – and shockingly – added 1.5 MPH to his running speed). And that’s a bummer. Not only because Head Coach Matt Nagy has often talked up the idea of playing fast and getting guys in space, but also because the lack of speedy game-breakers has been a contributing factor in why the offense has yet to take off.
Perhaps an offseason of focusing on how speed kills will lead to better days for the Bears offense moving forward.
The Bears aren’t known as a fleet team, but they’ll bring four receivers to camp with sub-4.4-second times in the 40-yard dash: Marquise Goodwin (4.27 seconds), Damiere Byrd (4.35), Darnell Mooney (4.38) and Anthony Miller (4.38)—though Miller’s Chicago future is uncertain.
Mooney and Miller return from last year’s team. But adding Goodwin and Byrd brings a little extra oomph that wasn’t in the room last year. It’s not just that these guys are fast. It helps, but we’ve seen how timed speed doesn’t necessarily play out as one dreams on turf. And we have also been witness to how speed without skill can hinder an offense. Nevertheless, there is a level of intrigue I have now when thinking about this offense that I didn’t have before.
Think about it. Goodwin, Byrd, Miller, and Mooney have the capability to stretch defenses thin simply because their speed is a threat. This doesn’t account for Justin Fields, who ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at his workouts. And it doesn’t take into consideration the 4.42 Tarik Cohen ran at The Combine in 2017. Those two players are on a cut just below that top class. But it doesn’t make them not fast.
Nagy hasn’t come out and bemoaned the lack of team speed on offense. But he looks to have more of it now than he did at this time last year. It’s now up to Nagy to properly deploy it on the field. Good timing, too. There will be some pressure to show what his offense can do after three years of being stuck in the mud. Ideally, the fast guys will help lead the way out of the muck.