When the Bears go to Washington, D.C. to take on the Redskins Monday night, keep an eye on these matchups:
Bears running back David Montgomery vs. Redskins safety Landon Collins
Collins has fought against the label "box safety" since he was playing with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Eddie Jackson at Alabama. However, the burly safety, standing 6 feet and 218 pounds, is effective against the run and enters Week 3 as the Redskins leading tackler. Chances are, he's going to see the number 32 plenty on Monday night.
Montgomery has shown potential in flashes throughout training camp, his only appearance in the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season. While coach Matt Nagy has expressed an interest in running back by committee and Tarik Cohen will get plenty of touches, Montgomery was the back of choice against Denver, totaling 18 carries to Mike Davis's three. The rookie has 80 rushing yards on the season, and Week 3 could be an ideal time to double that number.
The biggest thing to watch is where these two meet. If the Redskins stack the box to dare the Bears to pass, then Collins is a likely candidate to be watching Montgomery. If Montgomery can break through the line of scrimmage, Collins may be the only thing standing between him and a first down.
Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks vs. Redskins guard Brandon Scherff
The Redskins offense is in transition, but Scherff is a stalwart guard that has gone to two Pro Bowls. Scherff is a mauler who can move. Coming out of Iowa, he was one of the rare guards taken in the top five picks and not be considered a bust. Scherff is likely to provide excellent protection for quarterback Case Keenum. .
However, Hicks is still in the middle of his prime and is ready to disrupt. With Hicks on one end and likely Roy-Robertson Harris on the other, the Bears defensive front is big and nasty. Hicks got to Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, and he'll look to disrupt Keenum at every opportunity.
At 6-6, 315 pounds, Scherff is pretty similar to Kyle Long, who Hicks spent all summer facing. Hicks complemented Scherff's technique and ability ahead of Monday's matchup.
"It's going to be a really good battle," said Hicks. "It's going to be fun. There's nothing that a competitor loves more than to battle someone that is…"
Hicks paused for effect.
"...close to his level."
Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller vs. Redskins receiver Terry McLaurin
McLaurin started his NFL career with a bang, bringing in five catches for 125 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. As a receiver built like a running back at 6-0, 210 pounds, the Ohio State product is tricky in the open field and doesn't shy away from contact. Through two games, he's the Redskins' leading receiver, and Keenum will surely be looking to find the rookie downfield against the Bears.
This all means there's a good chance that McLaurin will become acquainted with Fuller early and often. Last week, Fuller collected his first interception of the season, breaking a long Broncos drive that had come spitting distance for the end zone. Fuller's sticky hands will create a real problem for any quarterback who tries to challenge him.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said that Fuller's preparation is what sets him apart.
"He's a great pro," said Pagano. "I don't think there's anybody on our team; you know the entire team that probably watches and studies more tape than Kyle. He comes to work ever single day. He puts the time in. His preparation is really good, so he's been good."