Bears Analyst: Matt Nagy Must Commit To The Running Game

The Bears’ quarterback competition may be dominating headlines, but head coach Matt Nagy needs to call more running plays in 2020, Tom Thayer says

Tiki and Tierney
September 03, 2020 - 6:09 pm

For all the talk about Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles and which quarterback will win the starting job, the Chicago Bears might be wise to get back to their roots and commit to the running game.

Consider this: In 2019, the Bears ranked 20th in the league in rushing attempts and 27th in rushing offense. They went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Compare that to 2018, when the Bears ranked seventh in the league in rushing attempts and 11th in rushing offense. They went 12-4 and won the NFC North.

Can the Bears compete in 2020? Yes. But it might depend on Matt Nagy’s philosophy.

“They can compete, but Matt's got to be willing to call the running game,” former Bears offensive lineman and current radio analyst Tom Thayer said on Tiki & Tierney. “Last year in the New Orleans game, they only called seven runs. Within this division, that's inexcusable. When you're talking about Kirk Cousins or Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford, you got to be able to keep your offense on the field, and you got to keep your defense [rested so that] they can go out and [dominate]. If you go out there and you exhaust them and you have a team that can run the ball consistently against them, you're taking the defense away from what they want to do.”

David Montgomery, who has been dealing with a groin injury in training camp, led the Bears with 242 carries for 889 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and six touchdowns last season, while Tarik Cohen added 64 carries for 213 yards (3.3 yards per carry). The Bears will need more out of their backfield in 2020, especially in divisional matchups.

Like their season-opener in Detroit on Sept. 13.

"Your offense better stay on the field,” Thayer said. “It may be just a methodical running game that can help you win as much as the decision you make at quarterback.”