Place rookie running back David Montgomery in a category not unlike the one where Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky finds himself.
Montgomery is determined to get the offense started on a productive path after a mistake he's taking full blame for in last Sunday's 36-25 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
"I'm big on taking accountability of myself," Montgomery said Thursday at Halas Hall. "I didn't have the best game."
Montgomery only had two carries for 6 yards in the loss, a statement about the poor blocking and play calling at least as much as about his production. Still, Montgomery's fumble in the first Bears play of the second half at their own 29 was a setback against the Saints, although the defense recovered from it and forced an errant field goal.
"I was trying to do too much and playing outside of the offense as opposed to doing what I was supposed to do," Montgomery said. "That's a mistake that I made."
Montgomery's fumble and also one by Anthony Miller helped make it easy for the Bears to turn away from the running game in the loss.
"I took myself out of character," Montgomery said. "I wasn't paying attention to the details.
"I rarely fumble. But in that situation I was trying to go outside when the play wasn't designed to go outside and I fumbled. That was one of the mistakes that I made, a big mistake that I made in that game. It was just based on me trying to do what I wasn't supposed to do."
Montgomery is averaging just 3.3 yards a carry behind an offensive line lacking any kind of a push so far this season. His remorse over the fumble is something coach Matt Nagy anticipated.
Montgomery fumbled only three times in three seasons at Iowa State.
"The one thing with David is, like when he fumbled that ball, I don't have to say anything – I know what it means to him," Nagy said. "And I know he doesn't want to fumble that football. Nobody does. But he doesn't have to say anything. I don't have to say anything. It's just one of those deals.
"He's extremely passionate about how he plays and obviously he didn't get enough opportunities last week. And so, when you get limited opportunities and then you throw a fumble in there, it's hard. But he'll be harder on himself than anybody. And that’s why I don't worry about it, because I know he cares."
The problem with the Bears offense is everyone cares, and no one is getting it done.
"As an offense you want to help out the defense as much as possible because the defense is always bailing us out," Montgomery said. "I wouldn't say there's pressure just wanting us to be able to carry our ende of the bargain, carry our side of it – we're really just trying to do whatever we can do to help out the defense."
The Bears have an opportunity this week to get Montgomery and possibly even Mike Davis running inside. Los Angeles ranks 21st against the run and both Chargers starting defensive tackles Justin Jones (shoulder) and Brandon Mebane (knee) missed last week's 23-20 loss to Tennesee. They haven't practiced this week, either.
In fact, backup Damion Square has a hamstring injury and has been limited in practice this week. They've been using Notre Dame rookie Jerry Tiller as a backup tackle and he was regarded by many before the draft as being more of an end than a tackle because he was too light. He's since put on a little weight and is at 292 but is 6-foot-6. Another defensive tackle, Cortez Broughton, has been ill this week.
The Bears have only four runs of 10 yards or longer, fewest in the league, and rank 28th in rushing overall. Yet, even while gaining only 231 yards on 71 carries, Montgomery has been able to show some things to Nagy in the slow start.
"So he can get you those extra 2 or 3 yards at the end of the game when you have the lead," Nagy said. "And he can do that early on, too, which is great. So I have all the confidence in the world in David Montgomery and in all our backs. I really do.
"It's a point right now where we're at where we're all pulling together to make sure we get something better. It's hard to do less than what we've done. That's No. 1. But we do have guys that their care factor is pretty high and I know with David in particular, this is a new year. It's a rookie year. It's a new league. So he's getting the taste of where things are at. It's a rough start but I have all the confidence in the world in him."