Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy says 20 carries a game 'doable' for David Montgomery this season

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Matt Nagy is determined to make running back David Montgomery a centerpiece of the Chicago Bears' offense.

The Bears head coach reiterated his belief on Tuesday that Montgomery -- entering his third NFL season -- is capable of carrying the ball 20 times per game in Nagy's offense during the upcoming season.

"I think it's very doable," Nagy said as Bears veterans reported to camp. "And I know when I'm asked that question, you start getting into the analytics and you start talking numbers. And when you look at where David has been the last couple of years, getting him the football is a good thing. He can make a lot of people miss that aren't blocked. He can make guys miss that are blocked."

Nagy has drawn criticism for sometimes abandoning the run game -- and by extension, Montgomery -- in recent years.

Montgomery, 24, tied for fifth in total rushing yards (1,070) and finished fourth in carries (247) in 2020, but 77 of Montgomery's rushing attempts occurred over the final three weeks of the regular season.

Montgomery carried the football 20-plus times in only four games last year, including the playoffs. In 2019 -- Montgomery's rookie season -- the former third-round pick out of Iowa State also reached the 20-carry threshold on just four occasions.

"For us, when you're able to get in that fourth quarter and you have the lead and you can hand the ball off to David Montgomery, that's a good thing," Nagy said. "Unfortunately we haven't been in that situation enough in the past two years. So it's limited him a little bit with carries. A lot of these big backs or these guys that get these heavier carries are getting them in the fourth quarter and it's jumping their numbers up a little. So that '20' number was a part of that, when you're winning in the fourth. But at the same time, if he's running the ball well and we're doing great with the O-line, let's get after it.

"David and I have a phenomenal relationship -- very, very close with him. I trust him, he trusts me. And I think that's why we're really looking forward to getting to this training camp."