Bears notebook: Khalil Herbert ready for bigger role

Running back David Montgomery did not practice and is day to day after suffering an ankle injury against the Texans last week. But with Khalil Herbert averaging 7.3 yards a carry, the Bears’ running game is less likely to suffer.

Herbert ably took the lead role against the Texans after Montgomery left early in the first quarter. The 2021 sixth-round pick rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries — the most rushing yards in the NFL in Week 3. His 52-yard run on the Bears’ first offensive play of the second half led to Herbert’s one-yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 20-17 lead.

In three games, Herbert has 33 carries for 240 yards and three touchdowns. He’s sixth in the NFL among running backsinrushing. His 7.3-yard average is second among running backs with 10 or more carries. He has nine carries of 10 yards or more. Only the Browns’ Nick Chubb (10, on 62 carries) has more.

Though Montgomery is the Bears’ lead running back, Herbert keeps pushing for a bigger role every time he plays. In four games as a replacement for Montgomery last season, he had 78 carries for 344 yards (4.4 avg.) — rushing for 97 yards on 18 carries against the Packers and 100 yards on 18 carries against the Buccaneers.

But Herbert said he feels even more comfortable in Luke Getsy’s offense.

“We put detail into everything,” Herbert said. “And just knowing where the o-line’s gonna be, who they’re going to — stuff like that helps me prepared throughout the week, so when I get in the game it’s the same thing we’ve done in practice already.

“It feels real different. Since April, the stuff we’ve put in and being able to go through it and build this offense together, [it] definitely feels more comfortable.”

Injury report

Besides Montgomery, cornerback Jaylon Johnson (quad) did not practice. Linebacker Roquan Smith (quad), wide receiver Velus Jones (hamstring) and tight end Ryan Griffin (achilles) were limited.

Eberflus, who gives very little information on injured players, said Johnson is “doing good,” but did not speculate on his status for Sunday’s game against the Giants.

Linebacker Matt Adams (hamstring) and safety Dan Cruikshank (hamstring) did not practice.

Butkus visit

Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus — the embodiment of the H.I.T.S. principle before Eberflus ever dreamed of it — visited Halas Hall on Tuesday.

Not surprisingly, the 79-year-old Butkus was a big hit when he took over the team’s Twitter account. And also with the coaching staff and their families at a family dinner the Bears host.

“It was awesome to have him here. It was special,” Eberflus said. “I got a chance to take him up to my office and show him the Monsters of the Midway behind my desk. Of course, he’s on top, which is cool. He really liked seeing that. It was a joy to visit with him.”

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