Meet the 2022 Chicago Bears: Who’s Taking Handoffs From Justin Fields?
Training camp begins this week! And with it, a new era of Chicago Bears football. Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace are long gone, leaving the franchise to usher in a new Matt (Eberflus) and Ryan (Poles) in their place. Halas Hall is the place to be this summer as the new guys prepare for the 2022 season with practices and workouts. So, let’s take a look at who’s on the team right now as things get into gear.
Previous: Quarterbacks, Offensive line
Today: Running backs
Meet the Starter: David Montgomery
2021 stats: 225 carries, 849 rushing yards (3.8 Y/A), 7 TD; 42 catches, 301 receiving yards, 0 TD
ESPN’S 2022 projections: 241 carries, 962 rushing yards, 8 TD; 46 catches, 333 receiving yards, 2 TD
The New Guys
Sure, the old regime had its flaws. But one thing it did well was build up a sturdy running backs room with usable options. This offseason, a new-look Bears front office went out to accomplish what the old one did so well. It begins with Darrynton Evans, a waiver claim from Tennessee who was a sleeper prospect when he was draft-eligible in 2020 and someone with kick return experience in the pros. The team further bolstered backfield depth by selecting Trestan Ebner, whose speed and versatility could allow him to chip in at a variety of spots as a rookie.
And for good measure, the Bears signed free agent Khari Blasingame — whose arrival ushers in the return of fullback usage in Chicago.
Don’t Forget About…
Khalil Herbert. No, seriously. Don’t you forget about him.
Herbert can be a forgotten man in the shuffle. And at times, he was certainly that as a rookie last year. Because even though Herbert flashed some moments in a pinch while David Montgomery and Damien Williams were unavailable due to injuries, Herbert went back to receiving minimal carries once those players returned to health. It’s not that I was expecting Herbert to go full Wally Pipe and snatch Montgomery’s starting role. But the prior regime failed at finding a happy medium in deploying both of its talented ball carriers. Hopefully, new play-caller Luke Getsy can strike that balance.
Highs and Lows
I’m high on… the entirety of the position group. Having a well-rounded running back room can be as valuable as rostering one workhorse back. If deployed properly, a multi-pronged attack featuring Montgomery, Herbert, Evans, and Ebner could help keep rushers fresh and make give opposing defenses fits. The variety of looks opponents could be accountable to defend this year could make for some interesting football watching when the Bears have the ball.
I’m worried about… nothing in particular. This is one of the position groups that I’d consider to be solidly put-together. I suppose I could have minimal beef with entering another season in which the offense’s best and most consistent production comes from the backfield. But I know better than to take the ground game for granted.
What We’re Looking For During Camp
I, for one, am looking forward to finding out what the fullback does. It’s been a while since the Bears have rostered one of those.
All jokes aside, it’ll be interesting to see how the many backfield pieces fit into this puzzle. Can Darrynton Evans stay healthy long enough to make a strong impression? Will Trestan Ebner see enough looks to give us an idea of how he can best be utilized as a rookie with the ability to catch passes out of the backfield? Is there a possibility that Khari Blasingame is more than just a traditional fullback? This backfield is full of fluid situations. I can’t wait to see how it shakes out.
The Final Word
A pop culture quote, clip, song, or something else that fits the vibe of this position group
You can watch another full Razor Ramon-Walter Payton promo here. You’re welcome. 🙂