David Montgomery Injury Adds to Bears' Problems
A week after the Bears were in a state of flux on the offensive line, uncertainty has hit them elsewhere.
Running back David Montgomery had practiced Wednesday on a limited basis due to what coach Matt Nagy called "lightly rolling" his ankle, but on Thursday Montgomery did not practice at all.
Needless to say, it creates a dilemma because the Bears cut backup running back Mike Davis last week in order to gain a fourth-round compensatory draft pick.
"Again, we’re working through that, I can’t say either way," Nagy said of the injury to Montgomery. "We'll just kind of keep an eye on it as it goes here and see how it is today. We're working through today and see how he goes."
Asked what the contingency plan for the Bears at running back would be, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was at a bit of a loss.
"You're going to have contingency plans for everybody and everything," Helfrich said. "It's perfect because I have no idea, so I can answer as honestly as possible.
"But you have to have plans for every situation and we'll do that to the best of our ability."
Tarik Cohen can get more carries than normal, although attacking Aaron Donald and the Rams' front with a 5-foot-6, 190-pound running back isn't the prescribed method for moving the pile.
The Bears had Ryan Nall off the practice squad and active for the first time, but limited him to special teams plays. He had a tackle and a penalty on those.
They also have seventh-round pick Kerrith Whyte on their practice squad still.
And then there's Cordarrelle Patterson, who didn't have a rushing attempt the last two games after having at least one in each of the first seven. He also didn't catch a pass last week. Patterson has 12 rushes for 78 yards and 11 receptions for 39 yards this season.
The Bears have more issues on offense than what to do if Montgomery can't go. The team with a seemingly endless supply of underachieving or injured tight ends is scraping the bottom this week.
Trey Burton hasn't practiced this week due to a calf injury suffered against the Lions.
"It's a position right now where we have a lot of them," Nagy said. "That's a good thing. The mentality that we have as coaches and really as players as well, if somebody isn't able to go, the next guy that steps up, we gotta try to use their abilities as best we can.
"If that's the case, and that's the way we go, I have more than enough confidence in those guys."
The problem with that depth is it's rapidly vanishing.
Last week, Adam Shaheen was inactive because of poor play. He may not even be available this week because he didn't practice on Thursday due to a new injury, a foot problem.
This would leave the Bears with Ben Braunecker, J.P. Holtz and possibly Bradley Sowell returning to the field for the first time since Week 2. Sowell made his only career reception against the Rams for a touchdown last year, but it was when he was playing tackle.
Other Bears tight end options are on the practice squad, undrafted rookies Dax Raymond and Jesper Horsted.
Beyond lineup situations is the problem switches cause on special teams. When a reserve starts, often it means he's no longer available on special teams.
Nick Kwiatkoski is one of the better special teams players but now has to play for injured linebacker Danny Trevathan. And Braunecker playing more on offense likely means a reduced role on special teams. He's been a stalwart on special teams.
"Well I think it always affects it a little bit," special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said. "But I think that they're still guys that are main guys for us. They'll be able to handle it. How we play them and those type of things is our world.
"With that is next-man-up, and we've got some good guys in here. If they have to play in those (starting) roles, they can do that, so I feel good about it. But those guys (Kwiatkoski and Braunecker) will still also play on special teams."