Head Coach Matt LaFleur has used the word “disciplined” several times at the podium this week. With Trubisky, it applies to both defending the run and rushing the passer.
The Packers have to carry out their assignments with the read-option and not sell out to stop the running back, because he might not get the ball. They also have to keep integrity to their rush lanes when Trubisky drops back and not give him easy openings to escape.
“We have to keep him in the pocket more now, … make sure he can’t use his feet effectively,” inside linebacker Blake Martinez said. “That’s our main assignment now.”
The increased use of the read-option could be a product of Montgomery, the rookie running back, getting more comfortable in the offense and as the No. 1 back.
In the opener, the Bears used veteran Mike Davis and Montgomery equally, but Montgomery is definitely the guy now. Scat back Tarik Cohen is still employed as a change-up, but it’s a given Montgomery will get more than the six carries he received against the Packers in the first meeting. He might have that many by the end of the first quarter.
The rookie third-round pick from Iowa State, who was actually the Bears’ first draft pick last spring because they didn’t have a selection in the first two rounds, only has one 100-yard rushing game to his credit so far. But his 86 yards last week vs. Dallas are his second-highest total, with the 20 carries third most.
“That’s very common,” Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said of skill-position players seeing their responsibilities grow significantly as their rookie years progress. “He’s certainly one who sticks out to us. He’s playing well.”
At 5-10 and 222 pounds, Montgomery possesses plenty of power. He hasn’t been used a ton as a pass catcher (23 receptions, 173 yards), but he did have his first career receiving TD on Thanksgiving at Detroit.
“We were really impressed with him coming out of the draft,” LaFleur said. “Big, he’s a physical back, and from what I’ve seen from him he’s running that way. I think he’s a versatile guy, as well. So, we’ve got to have to have a good plan for him this Sunday.”
For two runners, playing different positions, and potentially run-happy QB like Trubisky is something the Packers haven’t really had to deal with all season.
Nagy said “for whatever reason” Trubisky wasn’t running with the ball as much this year previously, but the second-year head coach certainly has opponents thinking more about his QB’s running ability as the Bears try to make a late run for a playoff spot.
“His legs are a weapon and any defensive coordinator will tell you, when you have to defend a quarterback’s legs, it just adds another element to where he’s at on any down and distance,” he said. “That’s a good thing for us.”