LAKE FOREST – Damien Williams wants to know who wronged David Montgomery.
The seventh-year veteran Williams can see the fire in Montgomery’s eyes when he runs. The Miami Dolphins had a taste of that this week during joint practices with the Bears.
“He runs with a chip on his shoulder,” Williams said. “I want to ask him: ‘What have you got going on personally that makes you run like this?’”
Montgomery said that’s just the way he is.
The 24-year-old running back was irked in the spring when there was very little hitting of any kind during OTAs and minicamp. Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Montgomery came up to him and jokingly asked when they can start playing real football.
That chance is near, at last. The Bears and Dolphins will kick off at noon Saturday at Soldier Field for the first of three preseason games. Montgomery and the first-team offense will likely see the field for one or two series, no more than 10 or so plays, according to Nagy.
For Montgomery, the improvement from year one to year two was noticeable. He rushed for 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns, while also catching 54 passes for 438 yards and two touchdowns. The hope is that year three will bring even more.
Montgomery spent the offseason working on his running technique and speed. He believes he has more lateral quickness than he ever has.
Montgomery enjoyed visiting with now retired quarterback Alex Smith, who has been visiting the Bears. He said Smith spoke to the team for a while Wednesday and it was highly motivational. Smith, of course, returned from a gruesome leg injury last year with the Washington Football Team.
“I realize getting into my third year, this came faster than I expected,” Montgomery said. “So the only thing I can ever think is when it’s time for my career to end, I won’t realize how fast it goes until it’s gone. So I want to be sure that whatever opportunity I get to go out there, I can show my teammates and I can show myself that I belong to be out there.”
Adding Williams to the mix at running back gives the Bears another versatile weapon. It could prove to be a huge addition, too, if Tarik Cohen is unable to return at the start of the season. Cohen, who tore his ACL in Week 3 last season, has yet to practice.
Williams, 29, was impressed with Montgomery’s ability to pop up after plays. When the real hitting starts, Montgomery is going to be a hard man to bring down. Williams is excited to watch him Saturday, too.
“Just watching how people run and prepare for a game,” Williams said. ”I’m ready to see how he prepares for a game and goes out there because he’s a very passionate player.”
Practice notes: Rookie quarterback Justin Fields was impressive in the 11-on-11 red zone period. The offense was lining up inside the 10-yard line. Fields threw four touchdown passes on five attempts and rushed for another touchdown. The only miss was a dropped pass by receiver Riley Ridley.
“His demeanor, his poise,” Montgomery said of Fields. “He doesn’t walk around, he doesn’t carry himself as a rookie. He has this confidence about him.”
Andy Dalton and the first-team offense was a little bit less crisp than they have been in previous practices. They were playing without receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring) during team periods.
Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson had an interception in the end zone during the red zone period. He snagged a ball intended for Miami’s Jakeem Grant Sr. from starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Bears receiver Darnell Mooney showed his hops during 7-on-7, leaping high into the air to grab a pass from Dalton.
Injury update: Robinson (hamstring), receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot) and outside linebacker Robert Quinn (back) were limited in practice. Robinson and Goodwin did not participate during 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 periods.
Left tackle Teven Jenkins (back) and right tackle Germain Ifedi (hip) both remain out and have yet to practice. Additionally, safety Tashaun Gipson (groin), lineman James Daniels (quad), inside linebacker Josh Woods (quad), tackle Larry Borom (concussion), tight end J.P. Holtz (quad), receiver Thomas Ives (leg), inside linebacker Roquan Smith (groin) and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (knee) all sat out practice Thursday.
Offensive lineman Alex Bars left practice early with an apparent injury.
Source: The Daily Chronicle