David Montgomery's rebound headlines things to watch in Bears vs. Packers

·5 min read

Montgomery's chance to rebound headlines things to watch vs. Packers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Sunday night at Lambeau Field will be the perfect opportunity for the Bears to author the perfect start to the Matt Eberflus era.

Justin Fields and Co. sprung an upset on the San Francisco 49ers during a deluge in Week 1. Now, they travel to Green Bay to face a Packers team searching for offensive answers in a post-Davante Adams world.

With the Houston Texans and New York Giants coming in Weeks 3 and 4, an upset of the rival Packers on Sunday night would give the Bears a chance to get out to a surprisingly hot start.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have won six straight in the series, and the 38-year-old star quarterback is 23-5 in his career against the Bears.

Should the Bears find a way to knock off Rodgers, their 2-0 start will be the most surprising thing to happen since #SpitGate or whatever the hell went on with Harry Style and Chris Pine.

Anyways, back to football.

Here are three things to watch for when the Bears face the Packers on Sunday night.

David Montgomery's productivity and workload

A lot has been made of David Montgomery's poor outing in Week 1. Rushing in a downpour against the 49ers' stout front, Montgomery managed just 26 yards on 17 carries. Meanwhile, backup running back Khalil Herbert picked up 45 yards and a touchdown on nine carries against the 49ers.

Montgomery is a talented back, but Herbert's one-cut-and-go running style might be better suited for the Bears' wide-zone attack.

The Bears aren't at that point yet, though.

"Honestly, it wasn't… I wouldn't view it that way," offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said when asked if the Bears turned to Herbert because Montgomery was bottled up. "I think Khalil had a few more presentations that were a little bit easier than David had, and he took advantage of them now, don't get me wrong. He did. But David — literally one of the plays of the game, in my opinion, was that screen. We literally didn't block anybody. And David made six guys miss and get a 16-yard gain. That was a huge play. We're lucky. We got two good ones. We're gonna keep going with those two guys."
 
The Packers have a stout defensive front led by Kenny Clark, which will present a tough challenge to the Bears' interior offensive line. Cody Whitehair, Sam Mustipher, Teven Jenkins, and Lucas Patrick have to consistently open holes for Montgomery and Herbert to make the Packers respect the run and make life easier for Fields.
 
If Montgomery struggles to gain traction early in Green Bay, will Eberflus and Getsy turn to Herbert or ride the more proven back?
 
How Montgomery runs Sunday in Green Bay and the division of carries between him and Herbert will be an important subplot.
 
Creating separation
 
The Packers' secondary is among the best in the NFL. Jaire Alexander is one of the best cornerbacks in football. Second-year man Eric Stokes, fresh off getting scorched by Justin Jefferson, is a solid cover man on the other side.
 
We didn't learn much about the Bears' passing attack in Week 1. The offense was stuck in neutral (maybe reverse) during the first half against the 49ers. Fields didn't complete a pass to a tight end or receiver during the first half.
 
Fields finished the game with eight completions, four of which went to wide receivers.

The aerial attack wasn't anything to write home about in Week 1. The game script, the 49ers' game plan, and the weather didn't lend themselves to Fields airing it out.
 
On Sunday, against a Packers defense that will be gearing up to stop the run, the Bears' receivers have to find a way to get separation against the Packers' secondary and present easy throwing windows for Fields.
 
If Mooney and Co. get locked up on the outside, it could be a long night for Fields and the offense.
 
Green means go
 
The Bears' defensive front did an admirable job in poor conditions against the 49ers.
 
It needs to be better Sunday in Green Bay.
 
The Packers have an uncertain offensive line situation that Robert Quinn, Justin Jones, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Trevis Gipson, and Dominque Robinson should be able to exploit.

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Tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins both are questionable with knee issues, while guard Jon Runyan is recovering from a concussion. Jenkins was a full participant during Friday's practice. Runyan and Bakhtiari were limited.
 
Green Bay's offensive line struggled in Week 1 without Bakhtiari, Jenkins, and Runyan. Right guard Royce Newman shifted to right tackle, which meant Jake Hanson started at right guard. Hanson and center Josh Myers had forgettable days against the Vikings. Rookie Zach Tom was serviceable but unspectacular in relief of Runyan at left guard.
 
The Packers' offensive line issues present an opportunity for the Bears' defensive front to get after Rodgers early and often Sunday night. The Bears need Jones to bully Hanson or Tom if they are out there. Even if Bakhtiari and/or Jenkins plays, Quinn should be able to have the edge on tackles, who likely will be rusty after time off.
 
A shaky offensive line for the Packers should allow the Bears to get penetration, make Rodgers uncomfortable, and stop running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon from gashing them consistently on the ground.
 
A good game from the Bears' front four is vital to a win Sunday.

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