Joniak: All Hands On Deck Needed To Play Against Rams

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- As the Bear(4-5) draw closer to their Sunday game against the Los Angeles Rams (5-4), it remains questionable if rookie running back David Montgomery will play after his injury.

Let's get to the news and notes of the day.

-- Going into Los Angeles to play the Rams means all hands on deck. It would be a real bummer if Montgomery misses the game. He sprained his ankle in Wednesday’s practice and did not practice Thursday. The hope is it is a precautionary decision and nothing more significant. 

-- Montgomery’s tough running is impressing teammates and coaches. He is living up to his reputation of being tough to tackle. “That’s him,” said offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. “He’s always moving forward, always getting a little bit more than he should and that’s been contagious, I think, for the rest of the unit.”

-- On average, Montgomery is facing eight-man defensive fronts just over 26% of the time on his 129 carries according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Among runners with a minimum 100 carries that ranks 9th highest in the league. Despite that fact, he is still getting a healthy amount of yards after contact, despite a per carry average of just 3.6 through nine games.

-- The Rams defense is stout against the run this season.  They have permitted the fewest 10-yards or more runs in the league with 18, they are second in the league against the run on first down at 3.32 a carry, and at home in three games they have allowed only 3.08 a carry overall. 

-- Aaron Donald not only challenges the pocket confidence of a quarterback, he is viscous against the run, with at least one stuff in seven of his 9 games, and 7.5 total, after just nine in 2018 per Stats Inc.

-- Building blocks create momentum as a season develops and the Bears offense feels it is finally stacking big plays.  “It was a confidence booster for us,” said center Cody Whitehair. “We got some things going and hopefully we can continue that.  It was definitely a step in the right direction for us.”

-- Rams quarterback Jared Goff faces a challenging situation against the Bears defense.  His offensive line is the great unknown right now, given a bushel full of injuries. Who starts where is uncertain. The Bears defensive front needs to turn a Rams problem, into a Bears solution.

-- Goff is still dangerous with explosive weapons surrounding him.  Tied for eighth in the league with 36 pass plays of 20-yards or more, only three of Goff’s big plays have produced touchdowns.

-- The Bears must cover Cooper Kupp.  He is Goff’s go to weapon with 91 targets this season.  He is dangerous.

-- One more note about the Rams defense in Los Angeles. In three games, they have 3 interceptions, 11 sacks, and 21 pass breakups. 

-- Inside Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski expects to make his 16th NFL start Sunday night.  He is admire for his consistent preparation in readiness by coaches and teammates. “I take pride in it,” said Kwiatkoski. “We as a linebacker room we all take pride in our preparation.  I see it first-hand.” 

-- Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is taking responsibility for the lack of wins in one-on-one matchups created by the attention offensive blocking schemes are giving to Kahlil Mack. “He’s garnering a lot of attention,” Pagano said.  “Everybody’s doing that. I think that falls on myself and I’ve got to do a better job of putting those guys in position… you know, take advantage of those matchups. That’s on me. I have to do a better job there.”

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.