Bears’ Matt Eberflus Makes Strong Statement on David Montgomery vs. Khalil Herbert

David Montgomery

Getty Khalil Herbert is averaging 2.0 more yards per carry than David Montgomery.

W ith about a third of the 2022 NFL season in the books, the Chicago Bears have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, led by fourth-year powerhouse David Montgomery and second-year standout Khalil Herbert.

The Bears are averaging 170.8 yards per game on the ground behind the duo, which is second in the NFL. Both backs have been rotating to start the season, but one may be emerging as the team’s RB1.

So far, Montgomery has 62 rushes for 246 yards (4.0 yards per attempt) and a touchdown, with one rush over 20+ yards. Herbert has been more explosive, amassing 63 carries for 403 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and three TDs, with nine rushes over 20 yards.

Montgomery has been better in the passing game than Herbert, catching 10 passes so far this season for 113 yards, while Herbert has hauled in five receptions for 37 yards. Monty is also more of a third down back, but Herbert has been the hotter of the two this year, and Bears head coach Matt Eberflus says that’s going to matter moving forward.

Matt Eberflus: We’re Going With the Hot Hand

Eberflus was asked whether the team will continue to rotate Montgomery and Herbert, and his response was telling.

“We’re going to go with the hot hand,” Eberflus told the media on October 18. “Who’s ever hot right there, we’re going to stay with him and go from there.”

Clearly, right now, that’s Herbert, whose 6.4 yards per carry ranks second in the NFL among all players with a minimum of 60 rushing attempts. He’s also tops in the league in yards after the carry, per PFF.

Eberflus was also asked his thoughts about why Herbert is averaging over 2.0 more yards per carry than Montgomery is. “I know he’s a good runner, and I know he’s slippery, I know he’s got good contact balance, that’s for sure,” Eberflus said about Herbert.

In the games he has been healthy this year, Montgomery has gotten more carries than Herbert, but that may be about to change, as Herbert is doing far more with his opportunities.

Khalil Herbert Still Looking to Improve Despite Recent Success

Herbert, who was a sixth-round pick for the Bears out of Virginia Tech in 2021, is currently 10th in the league in rushing yardage, according to PFF, but when the 24-year-old rusher was asked on October 18 about the ways he could improve his game, he was quick to respond.

“A lot of different things,” Herbert replied. “Especially short yardage, being able to punch it in. When we’re in the red zone, find a way to get the ball in the end zone, for me. Pass protection. Catching out of the backfield. Still making that first guy miss consistently. So, those are just a couple things.”

The young RB also revealed that he has difficulty sleeping after games, win or lose, so he often gets up in the wee hours to study film.

“I never can sleep after the game, so it’s probably about 3 a.m., and I’m laying in bed trying to sleep and then I get just up, and I go grab my iPad because I’m still thinking about the play,” Herbert noted. “Really just trying to figure out what I can do differently if I’m presented that situation again. How can I get in? What could I have done different? Just so that if I’m in that situation, when I’m in that situation again, we have a different outcome.”

With Montgomery entering a contract year and Herbert flourishing, it will be interesting to see how the team chooses to divide the carries between the two backs moving forward. Right now, it looks as though Herbert is becoming the guy for Chicago.

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