4th in a Series; Ten Most Important Bears in 2014.....Matt Forte

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    The 10 Most Important Bears of 2014 - #7 Matt Forte

    By Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.@wiltfongjr on Jul 11 2014, 11:00a 17
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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


    For the 6th straight year, I'm bringing you whom I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. Finding his way back onto my list after not making it in 2013 is running back Matt Forte.

    Last season wasn't the first time Matt Forte was in a West Coast Offense. His first two years in the league were spent in Ron Turner's version and he put up some very solid numbers. I expected him to thrive in 2013 under Marc Trestman and he did just that, delivering career highs across the board.

    I knew Trestman would bring out the best in Forte, I just didn't expect him to lean on him as much as he did. Forte played 87.9% of the offensive snaps last year.

    One of the reasons I kept Forte off my list last season was the presence of veteran Michael Bush. I expected Trestman to use Bush much more than former offensive coordinator Mike Tice did, which would lessen the need to rely on Forte as much as years past. Bush only played in 13.1% of the Bears' snaps on offense, down from 23.7% in 2012.

    Another reason I left Forte off my list last year was I kind of lumped him and the importance on the run game in with #2 on my most important list last season, Marc Trestman.

    With one season of the system in the books we know exactly what to expect from the starting tailback in Trestman's offense. We also found out how much trust Trestman has in Matt Forte. He rarely pulled him that often for backup Michael Bush, and Bush only managed 63 attempts on the season, far less than the 114 he received from Tice.

    Forte was even getting goal line and short yardage caries from time to time last year. The offense didn't always come out in a jumbo package on those situations, but instead they spread out the defense and let Forte find a hole, often out of a shotgun formation. (Much better plan for a runner like Forte)

    But what if Forte goes down this year? While I expect the TCO to chug along without Forte -- because adaptability was a Trestman strong suit while coaching in the CFL -- there isn't a proven veteran back on the roster.

    Newly signed Shaun Draughn had 59 carries in 2012, but his play doesn't elicit confidence. Second year man Michael Ford is unproven and it's too early to call rookie Ka'Deem Carey the next Sweetness. And please don't even bring up Jordan Lynch when talking about filling Forte's shoes.

    Trestman's near 90% reliance on Forte last season, coupled with a group of question marks behind him, leads me to add Forte to my list this year.

    Hopefully one of the backup running backs can carve out a niche on the game plan week in and week out, but until we see how the playing time is split up, I'll have to assume Forte will be option number one, number two and number three in the run game.
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Maybe I'm just too optimistic but I really never worry about Forte for any number of reasons.

    1) He's so consistent he's almost like and electric motor. Give him his touches and he'll make plays. He's even getting much better around the goal line now that they block it differently.

    2) He can and has played hurt. It may have limited him a bit at times and at others kept him off the field for a game or two but he can play at less than 100% and still be effective and he heals fast.

    3) The guy keeps himself in tremendous physical condition in the offseason with a workout regimen that Walter would be proud of. He knows all too well that he's a high mileage RB and was even when he was drafted so he's not gonna let that come into play. He's gained a little bit of good weight since his first couple of years and he's a smarter and tougher runner now.

    4) The guy has a huge chip on his shoulder and I mean HUGE. He doesn't appreciate not being thought of as an "elite back" and he's out to prove people wrong with every game he plays. There's no quit in him and it's tougher than hell to keep him off the field because of it. He's gonna keep on playing that way until they do consider him an "elite back" or until they have to shoot him, LOL.

    5) If he's still productive after next season and the Bears don't extend him I'm willing to bet he'll keep playing somewhere else until he puts up number that are too hard to ignore and he's considered one of the best to have played the game. The guy has a lot of pride in his play.

    No doubt we need a strong #2 guy and Ka'Deem Carey at least has the college credentials to say that he could be that guy. I like his running style because it's a nice compliment to Forte's but I still have to wonder how much of the field he'll see too. Forte does not like coming out and he resents it when they replace him on short yardage or goal line plays where Carey's running style or even Michael Fords might be more effective.

    As for Jordan Lynch I don't think anyone is seriously looking at him as a #2 RB. Most hope he can just hang on as a STeams guy and make the roster and that's probably 50/50 at best. But if he does in another year or so I could see him becoming a very nice utility type back or even a FB/RB type if he can bump Fiametta out.

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