The two major takeaways from the Chicago Bears first preseason game of 2019 were the performances of David Montgomery and kicker Elliott Fry.
Montgomery, the team’s third round draft pick from Iowa State had three runs, including a touchdown and three receptions.
Just being able to be out there with the guys is the most important thing for me. Being able to get comfortable out there on the field and get acclimated to the NFL.-David Montgomery
Coach Matt Nagy discussed his rookie runner’s progress, “No, it’s been steady and just completely in one direction. OTAs (offseason training activities) was a lot of pass game, so he got good at that, and then we get to training camp and we get to put the pads on and we can see what can he digest. You can see his arrow is up. He wanted more carries. I would have loved to give him more carries, but you have to be smart.”
Another player who’s stock may have risen as a result of this game was undrafted free agent tight end Ian Bunting from Cal. His 45-yard catch and run set up a 43-yard field goal as time was expiring in the first half. Nagy was asked about Bunting brings to the offense. “His size. He’s a big kid. He’s super smart. He’s really smart. He has big hands. A lot of times when people are big hands, they’re a natural catcher. He’s a natural pass catcher. This is just a really good opportunity for him to see how much can he digest in this playbook, and when the plays come to him and he gets a chance to make a play, does he make it. He did a good job with that. He executed everything we asked him to do and it was productive for him.”
Thursday evening. Fry won the kicker battle against Eddy Pineiro, who missed a 48-yarder wide left on the previous possession. “I thought it was awesome,” said Fry. “It was really fun. Obviously I’ve never played at this level before, so it was fun to get back out there.” He didn’t even realize the significance of his kick was the same distance and end zone as Cody Parkey missed field goal to end the 2018 season until it was brought to his attention after the game.
The number’s been ingrained into my memory. But I’m not out there thinking about Cody’s kick. I’m not thinking about anything like that. I’m just going in and focusing on making it. You really tune out the fans. The fans are yelling all game, so you’re not tuned in.-Elliott Fry
Perhaps if neither kicker impresses the coaching staff, the team should look no further than Joey Slye, who is challenging Panther’s place kicker Graham Gano. Slye converted a 55-yard attempt early in the game, that could easily have been good from sixty yards out.
Several of the starters, including Mitch Trubisky were in for a series or less. As Nagy explained, “That’s what I was telling him earlier here, is that it’s mentally preparing himself. There were other guys that just played a few plays. I think it’s so important for some guys, and it could be good for Mitch, too, that’s why I did it, was to just stay mentally prepared, pregame warm-ups, before the game, the pat and go, getting underneath the lights, taking snaps from center, and even though it was just a couple of hand-offs, I feel like just that part is good for him.”
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s defense played well against the run, but looked a little suspect on passing plays. That will need to be tightened up before the season begins.