What David Montgomery’s injury means for Bears offense

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The Bears offense suffered a blow with the loss of running back David Montgomery, who suffered a knee sprain in Sunday’s win over the Lions. The injury is expected to sideline Montgomery for 4-5 weeks, which happens to be right in the middle of the toughest part of Chicago’s schedule.

While the Bears lacked depth at running back last season, that’s not the case this year in the wake of Montgomery’s injury. Damien Williams and rookie Khalil Herbert bring valuable depth to the position, and they’ll get plenty of reps in place of Montgomery. Williams will be the primary back with Herbert getting his looks.

Williams suffered a thigh bruise in Sunday’s win over the Lions, but it sounds like he should be good to go. If not, it would be Herbert as the starting running back.

Chicago also has two running backs on the practice squad in Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce, one of whom figures to be elevated to the active roster if Montgomery is placed on short-term injured reserve at some point.

But while the Bears have depth at running back in Williams and Herbert, it doesn’t soften the blow of losing Montgomery, who has been the best running back in the NFC this season and Chicago’s best offensive player.

The Bears offense finally found some rhythm with the emphasis on Montgomery running the ball, which helped open up the downfield passing game for quarterback Justin Fields. While Williams isn’t Montgomery, he’s still an established, capable running back who has found plenty of success in this league.

Chicago is going to need Williams and Herbert to help establish the run game for an offense that’s predicated toward running the ball. Assuming offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is still calling plays, that should remain an emphasis for this offense.

While Montgomery’s loss will be a brutal blow for this offense – especially given his start to this season – the good news is the injury isn’t season ending, as originally believed when Montgomery was writing in pain on the field. The Bears’ bye week comes at the perfect time in Week 10, which gives Montgomery an extra week of recovery before their Week 11 game against the Ravens.

The Bears are built to survive a few weeks without Montgomery. But it’s still going to be a massive loss.