Bears Week 1 overreactions: Will Khalil Herbert take David Montgomery's job?

·7 min read

Bears overreactions: Will Herbert become RB1 by midseason? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears went into Week 1 as touchdown underdogs against a perennial title contender in the San Francisco 49ers.

To the shock of some (not this writer or his co-hosts of the Under Center Podcast), the Bears got the 49ers at the perfect time and pulled off the upset with help from a Chicago downpour.

A win is a win, and the Bears are 1-0. At this point in the season, you’re either undefeated or a bum.

So, with the Bears 1-0 and preparing to head to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers, I thought we’d take an exercise my friend Matt Maiocco does in the Bay Area and try it out. I asked Bears fans for their Week 1 reactions and overreactions to the win over the 49ers. They didn’t disappoint.

Overreaction? Yes, and maybe no

Khalil Herbert looked great on the nine carries he got Sunday against the 49ers, while David Montgomery was bottled on a soggy day at Soldier Field.

Montgomery is a talented back, but Herbert’s running style might fit offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s wide-zone scheme. Herbert is a one-cut-and-go back who should find immediate success as long as there are running lanes. Montgomery can sometimes be too deliberate, dancing behind the line, which doesn’t fit how the Bears want their running game to operate.

That said, I don’t see Montgomery losing the RB1 job before November, and I expect him to be better Sunday in Green Bay.

As for the defense, I have liked what I’ve seen from the front four all camp. But having three players reach the double-digit sack mark is challenging, even with the extra game. The 2014 Buffalo Bills were the last team to accomplish such a feat. The Bills did it in 2013 and 2014. Before them, the 2000 New Orleans Saints were the last team to have a trio of pass rushers with double-digit sacks.

Quinn will get there. The others … probably not. I do think the Armon Watts signing will end up paying dividends, though.

Overreaction? Yes, but I don’t hate it

Now we’re talking.

I thought Teven Jenkins had a solid first regular-season game at right tackle. He gave up just one pressure and zero sacks while recording the eighth-highest grade among all guards in Week 1.

You have to commend Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus, and Chris Morgan for finding a way to get Jenkins, their most physically gifted offensive lineman, on the field after he wasn’t working out at tackle.

Jenkins has been a right guard for less than a month. His progress has been impressive. But the Bears also had him in a rotation with Lucas Patrick on Sunday, and it’s unclear what the line will look like when Patrick’s thumb is healthy enough to resume snapping duties.

But if Jenkins eventually finds himself as the full-time right guard, I think he can have a really, really good year. A Pro Bowl selection would be one of the wildest about faces I’ve seen. It’s not impossible, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how the Bears’ O-line will shake out.

Overreaction? No

It’s hard not to be excited about Dominique Robinson’s NFL debut. The fifth-round rookie had 1.5 sacks and two pressures on 11 pass rushes against the 49ers.

Pretty good for a guy who was playing wide receiver a few years ago.

Now, let’s go to Detroit.

No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson had three pressures in his first four series and zero after that. The Lions rookie wasn’t good against the run and didn’t get after quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second half.

The are several reasons for that.

The Eagles are a run-heavy team that played from ahead for most of the game. In the second half, the Eagles only threw the ball nine times, and none of those passes went more than 9 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Tough to get pressure when the quarterback gets rid of the ball that quickly.

I’m not saying it will happen, but Robinson is up 1.5 sacks after one game.

Overreaction? A little of both

I can easily see the Bears leading the NFL in takeaways. This coaching staff has been fanatical in their approach to takeaways this offseason, harping on the players to punch and rip at the ball on every play.

We saw that bear out early in Week 1 when Jaylon Johnson punched the ball out of Deebo Samuel’s hands and Jaquan Brisker recovered it. Turnovers, however, are a highly volatile stat, and a lot of it comes down to luck. But I do think the Bears will put themselves in a position to force a lot of turnovers. It just depends if the ball bounces their way or not.

Top five scoring defense? That might be tough.

The secondary is much improved, but it’s still a young unit that will make mistakes. I’m interested to see how Eberflus and Alan Williams’ defense looks Sunday when it’s not a monsoon.

What I will say is the Bears are prepared and detail-oriented. The Eddie Jackson interception against the 49ers was a product of film study during the week. Also working in the Bears’ favor are games against Davis Mills, Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, Tua Tagovailoa, Zach Wilson, Marcus Mariota, and Mac Jones.

Not exactly a murderer’s row. It’s not inconceivable, but we need to see more.

Overreaction? Yes

The Week 1 win over the 49ers was significant, especially with the Packers on deck. Green Bay has some obvious issues on offense that it needs to work out. But that defense is one of the best in the NFL, and the Bears don’t have Justin Jefferson to tear it apart.

Now, if the Bears do upset the Packers, dates with the Texans and Giants look like wins. But in the NFL, there’s no sure thing. The Giants just knocked off the Titans, so they might not be the pushover many expect (they are).

I think it’s fair to expect the Bears to be 3-2 after five games. But I believe they can be more competitive than many people think.

RELATED: Bears' win vs. 49ers filled with bright spots for future of rebuild

Because an NFL season is often full of confusing results, here’s how I’ll say the first five weeks shake out:
Vs. 49ers: Win
At Packers: Loss
Vs. Texans: Win
at Giants: Win
at Vikings: Loss

If I had told you last week the Bears would start 3-2, you’d have taken it.

Overreaction? Yes. Yes. One thousand times yes

I love that you took the assignment to heart.

After the first quarter, Roquan Smith was all over the field. He led the Bears in tackles and almost caused an interception when he tipped a Trey Lance pass over the middle of the field.

The WILL linebacker spot in this defense will suit him just fine. It’s just a matter of if the turnovers come.

Overreaction? Yes

Nothing like a Week 1 upset to get people dreaming big.

Let’s pump the brakes, shall we? I still don’t think the overall talent level is there for the Bears to make a Bengals-type run. A win in a mud bowl didn’t do much to change my mind. Beat the Packers, and we can talk 13-4.

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