Why the Bears think they will have a top running game in the NFL

Why the Bears think they’ll have a top game appeared originally on NBC Sports Chicago

It’s no secret that the Bears will be more focused on building a running game this season than they were during the Matt Nagy years. Luke Getsy installs a wide-area running scheme that is popular in the Shanahan coaching tree, and his passing attack will be built around that running game. Ryan Poles reshaped the offensive line to ensure blockers up front can run as needed. The team has not one, but two running backs on the 53-man roster. The three midfielders add value to the attack. They can all make an impact on the field. And everyone uses the same word to describe their room: special.

“These guys just give me love, it’s just who they are,” David Montgomery said. “Honestly, I think we, as a whole, can be really special. We can all do different things and we can all put pressure on the defense in different areas. I am very excited to see what it will be. It will be fun.”

Anyone who has watched the Bears the last few seasons knows what Montgomery brings to the table. It is a true steeplechaser with a rare blend of power, fleetness and speed. If Montgomery misses any time, Khalil Herbert showed last year that he can step in and lead the way with a similar approach. Then there’s Khari Blasingame, the team’s leading back. Blasingame knows a thing or two about productive plays, coming to the Bears from Tennessee. Blasingame’s primary role with the Titans was blocking Derrick Henry and helped Henry rush for over 2,000 yards in a season and lead the league in rushing twice. There’s no comparison for Henry in the NFL, but Blasingame already likes what he’s seen from Montgomery.

“Explosive runner,” Blasingame said. “He runs like he’s angry. He runs like he’s mad at someone. He works extremely hard and is a leader.”

Finally, there’s rookie Trestan Ebner. He’s a bit of an x-factor in the room as a change of pace back, and a huge playmaking threat if he gets the ball in open space. Montgomery has taken Ebner under his wing, helping him with both football and life as he learns how to be a pro. Montgomery also made a strong impression on Ebner in training camp.

“He’s been driven,” Ebner said. “It takes it to another level. You hear him talk and preach certain things, then you see them on the field and it’s like, “Okay, he’s really turning it on.”

Ebner is familiar with the pass rush scheme, having learned it in college at Baylor. In 58 games in college, Ebner was a true dual threat. He carried the ball 343 times for 1,690 yards (4.9 YPC) and nine touchdowns, and caught 127 passes for 1,515 yards (11.9 YPC) and 11 scores. He is comfortable in Getsy’s system and feels he can pick up where he left off with the Baylor Bears. Ebner obviously has no experience in the professional game, but he has high expectations for the NFL Bears given what he knows about their program and personnel.

“I think we can challenge the guys for the best running back group in the league,” Ebner said. “This is something we talk about and this is something we stand for. We are working towards it. We don’t just talk about it, we put in the work for it. Going home and holding each other accountable, and everyone performing like they should be starting.”

Blasingame has the same high expectations for the team.

“I don’t even want to put a ceiling on it,” Blasingame said. “It’s drugs. It’s a really good atmosphere in the room … it’s really like hanging out here with the guys and being here, working, showing them that I’m trying to help them win games.”

Montgomery has the most context for how things have changed from Nagy’s offense to Getsy’s, so if anyone has a true appreciation for the new philosophy, it’s him.

“You will see a lot of interesting, new, different things. It should be nice,” Montgomery said. “I’m really excited to just get back out there and run, get my feet back on the ground and show myself what I can do.”

Montgomery said he’s ready for Week 1 and can’t wait to introduce the new-look rushing attack. But he wouldn’t share a preview of the new, interesting things we’ll see when the Bears finally face the 49ers.

“You’ll see,” said Montgomery. “There is no preview. You should tune in. It will be a sight to behold, that’s all I can say.”

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