Bears Reactions Week One: Will Khalil Herbert Take the Job of David Montgomery?

The Bears went into week one with a relegation to a permanent title contender at the San Francisco 49ers.

To the shock of some (not this writer or his Under Center Podcast co-hosts), the Bears got the 49ers on time and stopped the annoyance with help from a downpour in Chicago.

A win is a win, and the Bears 1-0. At this point in the season, you’re either undefeated or a tramp.

So, with the Bears 1-0 and ready to head to Lambeau Field to face the Packers, I thought we’d do an exercise that my friend Matt Maiocco would do in the Bay Area and give it a try. I asked Bears fans about their reactions in the first week and their overreactions to winning the 49ers. It did not disappoint you.

Overreaction? Yes, maybe no

Khalil Herbert looked great on the nine charges he got on Sunday against the 49ers, while David Montgomery packed on a wet day at Soldier Field.

Montgomery is a talented back, but Herbert’s running style might suit offensive coordinator Luke Jetsie’s wide-area scheme. Herbert is a fickle guy who should achieve instant success as long as there are lanes to run. Montgomery can sometimes be very willful, dancing behind the line, which just doesn’t fit the way the bears want their running game to work.

However, I don’t see Montgomery losing the RB1 job before November, and I expect him to be even better on Sunday in Green Bay.

As for defense, I liked what I saw from the front four all over the camp. But having three players hit the two-digit bag mark is a challenge, even with the extra game. The 2014 Buffalo Bills were the last team to accomplish such a feat. The Bills did so in 2013 and 2014. Prior to them, the 2000 New Orleans Saints were the last team to have a triple-double-digit sack pass forward.

Quinn will get there. The others…maybe not. I think signing Armon Watts would end up paying a dividend.

Overreaction? Yes, but I don’t hate it

This is required.

I thought Teven Jenkins made his first strong game of the regular season in the right tackle. He only gave up one compression and zero bags while scoring the eighth highest among all the bouncers in the first week.

You have to commend Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus and Chris Morgan for finding a way to get Jenkins, the most physically gifted of the offensive line, onto the field after he wasn’t training to tackle.

Jenkins has been the right guard for less than a month. His progress has been wonderful. But the Bears also made him into rotation with Lucas Patrick on Sunday, and it’s unclear what the streak will look like when Patrick’s thumb is healthy enough to resume rappel duties.

But if Jenkins does eventually find himself as a proper full-time bouncer, I think he could have a really good year. The Pro Bowl pick would be one of the wildest faces I’ve ever seen. It’s not impossible, but there is still a lot of uncertainty about how the bears’ O line will vibrate.

Overreaction? number

It’s hard not to be excited about Dominic Robinson’s NFL debut. The 5th-round Novice had 1.5 sacks and two 11 passes pressed against the 49 players.

Pretty good for a guy who was playing wide receiver a few years ago.

Now, let’s go to Detroit.

2 overall, Aidan Hutchinson had three pressures in his first four series and zero after that. The rising Lions weren’t very good at countering running and quarterback Jalen Hurts didn’t catch up in the second half.

There are several reasons for this.

The Eagles are a heavy side that played from the front for most of the game. In the second half, the Eagles only threw the ball nine times, and none of those passes crossed the scrimmage line by more than 9 yards. It’s hard to get pressure when a midfielder gets rid of the ball so quickly.

I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but Robinson went up 1.5 sacks after one game.

Overreaction? a little alike

I can easily see the bears leading the NFL in junk food. This coaching staff has been a fanatic of their off-season junk food style, playing players to hitting and ripping the ball through every game.

We saw it early in the first week when Jaylon Johnson hit the ball out of Deebo Samuel’s hands and Jaquan Brisker got it back. However, transitions are a highly volatile condition, and many are due to luck. But I think the bears will put themselves in a position to force a lot of shifts. It just depends on whether the ball bounces on its way or not.

Top five points defense? That might be difficult.

High school has been improved a lot, but it is still a young unit that will make mistakes. I’m interested to see what Eberflos and Alan Williams’ defense looks like on Sunday when the weather isn’t seasonal.

What I will say is that the bears are prepared and detail oriented. Eddie Jackson’s interception against the 49ers was the product of a movie study during the week. Also working for the Bears are matches against Davis Mills, Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, Tua Tagovailoa, Zach Wilson, Marcus Mariota and Mac Jones.

Not exactly a fatal disagreement. It’s not out of the question, but we need to see more.

Overreaction? yes

The first week’s win over the 49ers was significant, especially with the Packers on deck. Green Bay has some obvious crime issues that need to be solved. But this defense is one of the best defenses in the NFL, and the Bears just don’t have Justin Jefferson to tear it up.

Now, if the Bears upset the packs, dates with the Texans and the Giants look like victories. But in the NFL, nothing is certain. The Titans have just defeated the Titans, so it might not be an easy task that many (they are) expect.

I think it’s fair to expect the Bears to be 3-2 after five games. But I think it can be more competitive than many people think.

Related: Bears win against 49 players is full of bright spots for the future of rebuilding

Since the NFL season is often filled with bewildering results, here’s how I’d say shake up the first five weeks:
against. 49ers: win over
At Packers: Loss
against. Texas: win over
In giants: win over
In Vikings: Loss

If I had told you last week that the Bears were going to start 3-2, I would have taken it.

Overreaction? yes. yes. yes a thousand times

I love that you took the job so seriously.

After the first quarter, Roquan Smith was all over the place. He led the Bears into tackles and almost caused an interception when he rolled a Tre Lance pass over midfield.

A full-back Will’s spot in this defense would suit him perfectly. It’s just a matter of whether shifts come.

Overreaction? yes

Nothing beats the first week of getting people to dream big.

Let’s hit the brakes, shall we? I still don’t think the overall talent level is there for the Bears to run a Bengals race. Winning in a clay pot didn’t change my mind much. Beat the firmness, and we can talk 13-4.

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