Bears' Taylor lost in shuffle
Despite little production rushing from Forte, they haven't turned to the high-priced backup much
By Brad Biggs, Tribune Reporter
6:42 p.m. CDT, October 8, 2010
Now that the Bears have a running back to split time in the backfield with Matt Forte, they still aren't taking the familiar face off the field much.
So far, you can make a pretty convincing case Chester Taylor's biggest value to the Bears is he isn't on the Vikings' roster. A productive third-down back the past three seasons, he was lured out of Minnesota with a $12 million, four-year contract, including $7 million this season. Few players are making more and playing less.
Forte has continued to be the primary running back for the Bears and the playing time has been lopsided the last two games. Forte totaled 81 snaps against the Giants and Packers. Taylor got 21. Through four games, Forte has been on the field 74 percent of the time to 28 percent for Taylor.
There certainly isn't much of a disparity in production. Forte has rushed 50 times for 134 yards with a 2.7-yard average. Taylor has carried 19 times for 66 yards and a 3.5 average. Forte had the big game receiving in the opener and since has been quiet.
I am hoping to play more," Taylor said. "I just go week by week. Whatever the game plan is and whenever they call my number, I just go out there and play.
"As long as we are winning and as long as we are getting production, I am fine. Of course I want to get the ball and help any way I can. But I don't call the plays."
Taylor's idle sideline time begs the question of why the Bears pursued him signed a 30-year-old free agent running back to a bigger contract than they once gave Thomas Jones.
Part of it, of course, is the Bears simply haven't shown an interest in running under offensive coordinator Mike Martz. That isn't a surprise. The Bears rank 31st in the NFL in rushing and are averaging a meager 3.3 yards per carry. They're 29th in rushing attempts, averaging only 21 per game.
With veteran backup quarterback Todd Collins starting Sunday at Carolina, it would seem prudent to change direction. But Martz isn't going to reinvent his strategy.
"We definitely need to get Chester some more snaps," running backs coach Tim Spencer said. "We will get Chester in there to make sure he can give us some of his skills. It's always nice to have a little inner competition, not that those guys are like that."
Spencer said "there is no question" Forte remains the starter. He doesn't sense either back is frustrated or pressing.
"They're pretty confident about their abilities and they feel pretty good about the previous wins we had."