Chicago Bears running back and heartbeat of the offense, David Montgomery, joined Jarret Payton and Kaitlin Sharkey on WGN’s GNSports TV this week and made a bold prediction about the 2022 season.
“I’m excited for everyone on the team, to kind of go out and have fun, but also dominate too,” he said. “We’re going to do a lot of things that people don’t expect us to do. We are going to shock a lot of people. I’m excited.”
Expectations are incredibly low for the Chicago Bears in 2022. Most prognosticators are picking the Bears to win fewer than six games; 2023 NFL mock drafts have Chicago picking as high as No. 2 overall. Essentially, football media thinks the Bears are going to flat-out stink this year.
Much of this overwhelmingly negative opinion is the offspring of general manager Ryan Poles’ decision to play the 2022 offseason conservatively. He didn’t sign any big-ticket free agents, nor did he select a sexy wide receiver in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Instead, Poles added unproven wideouts in free agency, a bundle of day-three rookies along the offensive line, and, yes, a new starting center.
The defense hasn’t fared much better. Chicago lost Khalil Mack, and Robert Quinn’s future remains in doubt. Poles did add two instant starters in the secondary in Round 2 of the NFL Draft — Kyler Gordon (CB) and Jaquan Brisker (SAF). In fact, Gordon and Brisker have a chance to make the biggest impact of all the new players added over the last few months.
So, it’s kind of understandable why football media is down on the Bears. Chicago hasn’t done much to provide on-field support around quarterback Justin Fields, and after winning just six games in 2021, it’s fair to predict a similar season is coming in 2022.
Here’s the problem with any predictions made about the Bears, however: there’s an entirely new coaching staff, and with it comes an entirely new offensive and defensive scheme. This year’s Chicago Bears won’t look anything like last year’s and the players Poles added, even if they aren’t household names, fit the systems the coaches want to deploy. It’s within the range of outcomes that the improved coaching staff and an offense with structure and a plan will turn into an additional two or three wins. In other words, we won’t know much about this team until the games are played.
Montgomery believes in this year’s Chicago Bears. His words are evidence of that. He thinks Chicago is going to shock a lot of people; put another way, he thinks the Bears are going to prove a lot of people wrong.
That kind of belief is all it takes for a team to overachieve. And when a star like David Montgomery is leading the charge, anything’s possible. Including a Chicago Bears 2022 season that includes meaningful games in January.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today.