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Bear Necessities: Khalil Herbert ‘ready to go’ as workhorse back vs. Packers

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By: Alyssa Barbieri

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When the Bears lost running back David Montgomery to a knee sprain, there was confidence in reserves Damien Williams and rookie Khalil Herbert to carry the workload. And they did.

Williams and Herbert combined for 34 rushes for 139 rushing yards and score last Sunday against the Raiders, where they were a big part of the offense’s moderate success.

But with Williams landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list, where Matt Nagy said he’s not going to play Sunday, the workload falls on Herbert, who will make his debut in the featured back role.

“Every day I come in here, I’ve got to be ready to go,” Herbert said. “I didn’t know when the playing time would come. It came earlier than I thought. But those guys did a great job of always keeping my mind going, keeping me mentally in tune and keeping me ready to go.”

Herbert’s role wound being more than we initially expected, and Nagy was impressed with how the rookie handled the opportunity.

“You saw some really good times where he hit that zone and he stuck that right or left foot in the ground, planted it, and he went north and south and got 7, 8 yards every time,” Nagy said. “I like his vision. I like his patience. I also like his toughness, and you guys see it when he’s returning kickoffs. He’s smooth, and people bounce off him, so he’s got good contact balance.”

Quarterback Justin Fields, Herbert’s draft mate, has been impressed with Herbert’s work ethic since he was drafted in the sixth round. Now, the two rookies will get the start together against division rivals Green Bay.

“Since Day 1, Khalil’s come to work,” Fields said. “I feel like he’s treated this whole process like a veteran. … In the morning, he’s here early. He really takes his work seriously. He’s a hard worker in the weight room. After practice, he’s always out there doing extra little moves or on the Jugs machine.”

Herbert faces a tall order against an 11th-ranked Packers run defense, which is allowing 102 yards per game. But he’s ready for the challenge.

“It’s just working,” Herbert said. “Coming here every day with that humble mindset, coming in ready to work, learning, taking in everything, trying to absorb as much as I can from the older guys and coaches.

“I’ve still got a lot to prove, still got a lot to fix, still got a lot to work on.”

Originally Posted On Bears Wire