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You usually don’t want to assume you are smarter than an NFL coach. There’s a reason they have the jobs they have and we have the ones we have, after all. They know a thing or two about this game, and besides, it doesn’t really matter whether you are smarter than them, because they’re the ones calling the plays.
But sometimes they make decisions that are hard to understand, even from a layman’s perspective. What you want to see from our side when that happens is an acknowledgement of the mistake, and a promise to do better. If they follow it up with action, well that’s the best-case scenario.
We saw what we wanted to see from the Bears on Sunday. Coach Matt Nagy told reporters, “I’m not an idiot” when asked about the fact that the team only ran the ball seven times in Week 7, and he reportedly promised his players he would call more runs this week. He did, and the players backed up their end of the bargain, leading to the best game of David Montgomery’s career, a true breakout performance we’ve been waiting for.
Montgomery, who entered Week 8 eight with 71 carries in six games, ran the ball a whopping 27 times Sunday for 135 yards, more than double his previous career best. He scored, caught a career-best four passes, and even showed off some big-play ability for the first time, ripping off a career-long 55-yard run. That’s a lot of career-bests for Montgomery, even if it ended up with a similar outcome to the Bears previous few games — a lackluster overall offensive performance and a loss.
For Fantasy, all we care about is that Nagy recognized a limitation in his playcalling, promised to fix it, and then actually followed up on it. Nagy had a plan and followed through on it, and now we can start Montgomery with conviction moving forward, right?
Well, that’s the hope. The Bears offense didn’t exactly blow the doors off, and you’d feel better about the chances of them going back to this plan next week if they had actually won. Plus, Montgomery still needs to prove he’s worth this kind of workload moving forward, something he hasn’t done as often as we’d have wanted to see so far in his rookie season.
Still, it’s hard to find a player who saw his Fantasy value rise as much as Montgomery’s did in Week 8. There’s no guarantee this was the start of his breakout, but it’s the best sign we’ve gotten so far. Hopefully Nagy sticks with the plan.