With David Montgomery out of action while on injured reserve and Damien Williams unavailable due to his placement on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Bears are in a place where they could use some running back help.
To that end, the team is seeking it by way of hosting workouts:
The Bears, who are dealing with depth issues at RB right now, worked out Duke Johnson, Chris Thompson, T.J. Logan and C.J. Marable.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 18, 2021
ESPN’s Field Yates reports four running backs were in for tryouts. Three players have previous NFL experience, while a fourth has familiarity with the team. Let’s discuss.
Duke Johnson — Johnson, 28, has the most pro experience of today’s tryouts. The University of Miami product has 91 games of experience under his belt, including 17 starts. A healthy chunk of his reps have come as a pass-catcher. While in Cleveland, Johnson was averaging 59 catches and 542 receiving yards per season from 2015-18. If the Bears’ running backs room continues to be hamstrung by the injury bug, having a pass-catching back who can give Khalil Herbert a breather every now and again would be a nice change of pace.
Chris Thompson — Thompson also fits the mold of pass-catching option out of the backfield. Much like Johnson, Thompson has ample experience (74 games) and a résumé suggesting his best asset is his ability to catch the ball as a back. In 60 games from 2015-19, Thompson was averaging 55 catches and 465 receiving yards per season. His contributions in the ground game in that same time weren’t as notable, although a 4.8 yards per rush attempt isn’t inconsequential.
T.J. Logan — Unlike Thompson and Johnson, Logan’s résumé isn’t a lengthy one. More notable than Logan’s relative inexperience compared to the two previously discussed options is the area in which he has experience. Logan has 13 punt returns and 25 kick returns under his belt. As a punt returner with Tampa Bay in 2019, Logan averaged 9.5 yards per return on 13 attempts. And over the course of two seasons returning kicks for the Cardinals and Bucs, Logan averaged 22.7 yards per return.
This is worth keeping in mind should Jakeem Grant Sr. pop up on the injury report later this week. Remember, Grant had to miss some time due to an injury flare up. If the early returns aren’t great, then we should be open to seeing a running back with return experience possibly joining the mix.
C.J. Marable — The Bears had Marable in camp this summer after bringing him in after he went unchosen in the 2021 NFL Draft. You might be familiar with Marable’s highlight package after shining at Coastal Carolina last season. Chicago might see its need for running back help as an opportunity to give a player it is familiar with another look.
All in all, this list of names isn’t the most awe inspiring. Moreover, that the Bears are checking in on the RB market further drives home how Tarik Cohen isn’t all that close to returning. Because, if he was, then the Bears would simply be biding their time. Instead, they are actively checking in on available players.
There isn’t much consolation when dealing with a situation in which two of your offense’s top contributors are unavailable. But for what it’s worth, the Bears have done well in recent years snagging worthwhile running backs from unexpected places. In other words, should the team need a boost at the position, the odds are in this front office’s favor. At least, when it comes to this particular position.