Rookie Trestan Ebner looks for a bigger role in the Chicago Bears running game with Khalil Herbert on IR – The Denver Post


When the Chicago Bears took the practice field Wednesday at Halas Hall to prepare for Sunday’s road game against the Atlanta Falcons, rookie Trestan Ebner was their top running back option.

The Bears placed top rusher Khalil Herbert on injured reserve Tuesday with a hip injury that knocked him out of the Week 10 game against the Detroit Lions. And David Montgomery missed practice Wednesday for personal reasons.

Those developments put a spotlight — and maybe a bit of pressure — on Ebner, a sixth-round draft pick out of Baylor.

“It’s a little nerve-racking because you want to get in and execute,” Ebner said. “You know what the running game means to this offense, so I don’t want to let anybody down, any of my teammates down. I like making my fellow running backs proud.”

Coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears expect Herbert back this season but didn’t specify a timeline. Herbert must sit out at least four games. The 2021 sixth-rounder rushed for 643 yards and four touchdowns on 108 carries in the first 10 games.

Without him, the Bears figure to rely heavily on Montgomery, who has 115 carries for 434 yards and two touchdowns and 15 catches for 150 yards.

But Ebner, whom Eberflus praised for his speed, vision and ability to cut back, could see his workload go up.

He has 18 carries for 46 yards and two catches for 8 yards, the majority of his work coming in Weeks 3 and 4 when Montgomery was hurt.

“The biggest thing with (Ebner) is learning our plays, the motion shifts, because our plays are wordy,” Bears quarterback Justin Fields said. “So digesting that as a rookie. And in protection, too, knowing where he has to go if we get four weak, four to a side. Just knowing his job.

“He has grown since Week 1 or from even the preseason to now. He’s an explosive running back, he’s great with his hands. So I’m excited to see what he does this week.”

Ebner has received significant work on special teams, including as a kick returner, and that has complicated his learning process on offense.

“It’s a little tricky,” he said, “just because I go to all the special teams meetings and I get to our running back meetings a lot of times and it’s Khalil and D-Mo getting coached up on things and then doing the film.

“Now that I’m in this position, it’s those little details that make the difference. I’ve got to tune back into those and remember all those because that can make a difference in the game — making a good play or messing up a play.”

Ebner said he also will embrace roles in pass catching and blocking.

“(Blocking) is a big role because with Justin, you can be pass blocking and then soon you turn into a run blocker,” Ebner said. “So you want to fight even more to stay on your block because that can be a 60-yard play just waiting to happen. So it’s really important with him.”

In other roster news, the Bears signed defensive end Taco Charlton off the New Orleans Saints practice squad.

Eberflus was with the Dallas Cowboys when they drafted Charlton in the first round out of Michigan in 2017, and Charlton was in Kansas City in 2020 when Bears general manager Ryan Poles worked in the Chiefs front office.

“We know the man,” Eberflus said. “Good production up to a certain point. … We’re excited to see where it can go. He’s going to be in there for depth for us, a rotational player … and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Since leaving the Cowboys after two seasons, Charlton has played for the Miami Dolphins, Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. He has 11½ career sacks, 22 quarterback hits, 12 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles in five seasons, with a career-best five sacks in 2019 with the Dolphins.

“Every experience I had, I take it as a learning experience,” he said. “I take it on the chin and I keep on rolling. I don’t lose the confidence in who I am as a player, so I still feel like I can definitely play well and make some great plays and play this game at a high level. So I’m excited to show that here in Chicago.”

Charlton said he doesn’t think it will take him long to get up to speed with the Bears because of his familiarity with Eberflus and the style of defense they run. He hasn’t played in a game this year.

“A lot of the terminology is very similar to what I’ve heard before,” he said. “Of course, the small details I’ll have to learn through walk-throughs and stuff like that, but I should be able to pick it up very fast.”

The Bears waived defensive end Kingsley Jonathan on Tuesday and linebacker A.J. Klein — whom they acquired in the Roquan Smith trade — on Wednesday. They activated linebacker Matt Adams off injured reserve.