Martz confident Bears' Taylor will grow in sy
Martz confident Bears' Taylor will grow in system
Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz said he was surprised by how a report that running back Chester Taylor would be released picked up steam.
"Why would he get cut? Why would that happen?" Martz wondered. "It wouldn't make any sense, would it?
"We're pleased with him. We're very pleased with him. He really played well, especially in the last few games."
Not to mention Taylor received $7 million guaranteed, so the Bears are determined to get something out of their investment. Taylor is due a modest $1.25 million for 2011.
General manager Jerry Angelo recently said that although few roster spots are guaranteed, there isn't a target on Taylor's back. And the Bears reached out to Taylor's camp and said there was no reason to be concerned.
Taylor, 31, signed a four-year, $12.5 million deal last offseason after leaving the Vikings. He struggled at the start of the season, then was designated as the team's short-yardage back as Matt Forte separate himself as the workhorse. Taylor finished the season with a dismal 267 rushing yards on 112 carries for a career-low 2.4 yards-per-carry average. He had three rushing touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 139 yards.
"He had to learn what we do and we asked him to do a little bit more than he did in the past," Martz said in defense of Taylor. "You've got to remember, too, that's this is a first year in that type of offense. They are not familiar with it. Plus, all of the coaches are not familiar with it. So it's a growing thing."
In contrast to Taylor, Forte grew up fast. He finished with 1,616 yards from scrimmage, including 1,069 on the ground. He had nine touchdowns total.
"Matt played good in the first half of the season and was outstanding the second half," Martz said. "I think Matt started to understand what we were doing on offense better. And we started putting the load on him a little more in certain situations."