Can Bears maximize Michael Bush?

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01
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    Can Bears maximize Michael Bush?
    February, 21, 2014
    11:53 AM ET
    By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

    INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s hard to blame the Chicago Bears for signing veteran tailback Michael Bush to a four-year, $14 million contract in 2012 that included $7 million in total guarantees.

    With starting running back Matt Forte locked in a contract dispute with the club after receiving the franchise tag following the 2011 regular season, the Bears needed to protect themselves in case Forte and the team were unable to reach a long-term agreement. Forte had also missed the final four games that year with a knee injury.
    In the end, Forte and the Bears reached an accord on a four-year deal and Bush spent the last two seasons as a part-time player in the Bears’ offense.

    Last year, despite eating up $3.550 million worth of salary-cap space, Bush carried the ball a career-low 63 times for 197 yards (3.1 yards per rush) and caught the ball just four times for 48 yards.

    Can the Bears get more bang for their buck out of Bush, who is scheduled to count $3.850 million against the cap in 2014?

    “I think, No. 1, it was very difficult to take Matt off the field, and it was very impressive that he had the endurance to do what he did this year,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said at the NFL combine. “There were times that we just felt we had a plan to play Michael more, the defense may have been on the field, and Matt had a good enough rest so we kept Matt out there and didn’t get Michael on as much as we would’ve liked to. We had a plan but we didn’t execute it. A lot of that, going in, was Matt’s productivity.

    I’ve experienced this in Oakland when we had Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner. There’s a place, certainly, for that type of back. If you have a system of football that’s flexible enough, you can seamlessly make that transition and still be just as effective.”

    If the Bears decide to cut ties with Bush, the organization would still be on the hook for $2 million worth of dead salary cap space -- the remaining balance of Bush’s prorated $4 million signing bonus. But it’s unclear whether the Bears believe second-year running back Michael Ford is ready to assume the role as the team’s No. 2 tailback. The 5-foot-10 Ford played on special teams last year where he appeared in 12 games and returned five kickoffs for 37 yards and made five special-teams tackles. Ford’s 2014 salary cap number is projected to be $496,166.


    For the cost, I think the team could afford to eat that contract over 2-3years(I've heard that is an option) and let someone like Ford or a late round pick get a crack at backup rb at a fraction of the cost.

    This has nothing to do w/Bush's ability, but everything to do w/Forte being to valuable to take off the field. I know a lot of people worry about his touches so I'll do some work about touches, age, and when RB's fall off the cliff to show why he's going to be okay. Also keep in mind, a good portion of his touches come from Rec's, and running outside of the tackles so he's not getting hit by the DL as often as some of these other "true rb's".
     
  2. Henry Burris

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    If they keep him, yes. He's faster than he's given credit for, and Trestman was finding more efficient ways of using him towards the end of the season than just as a bruiser.
     
  3. mdbearz

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    We were lucky that Forte stayed healthy last year. For 4 million Bush is a good insurance policy.

    Last year it was more of Forte being good and bush did not get too many touches, and when he did the defense keyed in on him.
     
  4. riczaj01

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    For me it's not age of a rb, but attempts, specifically rush attempts that age a RB, in the mid 2000's, at the height of the Shawn Alexander, Ladamian Tolminson, Larry Johnson rb craze I heard someone on the radio talking about rb's, and how 350 rushes was the breaking point, it's been a long time so maybe if i'm interested I'll try and find an article, but basically 350 rushes, was what tended to break a rb down and age them prematurely. I don't think it even takes that much, I personally believe that anything over 300 rush attempts over a prolonged career can break a rb down before 30. So going on that theory you can see why in their late 20's guys like Alexander, and Larry Johnson LT at broke down, and the others, while guys like Frank Gore are able to play and be productive into his 30's:

    Shawn Alexander seems to be the poster boy for why you worry about RB's as they get into their late 20's and nearly 30. But not age, rush attempts were what aged him Shawn had 4 years over 300 rushes, 1 at 295 before he fell off the cliff, 2 of those 5 consecutive years were 350 and 370, his last 2 he was done after that.

    Larry Johnson was broken down by KC in just 2 years, while he never had 3-4-5 years of 300+ or even multiple years of 350 rushing attempts, in 2 years he had 330 and 416 rushes attempts , after the 400 attempt season he was never the same.

    LT SD largely limited his rush attempts to 330 or less but unlike LT and SA,his 2nd year did he have over 350 attempts, and only 1 time after that, 3 years later did he have close to 350(348). Bit he had 8 straight years of 330 or more and then was largely limited.

    All three of these rb's were the workhorses of their teams and by 28 they were all done, now lets look at some guys that were very productive after their late 20's:

    Frank Gore has not once has a 300 rush attempt season, Last year he was 30 and had almost 1300 total yards and 9 td's.

    Thomas Jones was productive until 31, he had 3 seasons of 300-330 rush attempts, while he didn't get to be "the man" season one, he did have 7 1K plus seasons most of which came in his late 20's, and his limited touches early on seemed to have extended his career some.

    Matt Forte on the other hand has had 1 year of 300+ rushes, his rookie year, and it was 316, he's never had 350 rushes in a year or even 330, which as shown by LT over multiple seasons can also shorten a career. Forte also has never been one to run between the tackles like any of the above RB's did.

    While Forte might be getting older, and edging towards 30, his limited rush attempts, and even more limited hits by 280-300+ lb angry linement has been very limited. So while it's always wise to have a good backup rb the idea that somehow Forte is about to hit the wall b/c of his age is way off base. Even if you want to look at rec's added in, he's only had 2 years of 350 touches, compared to SA who had 5 straight years of 350 touches, LT had his 2, and LT had 6 years near 400-450 touches, LT is a HoF'r and a freak mind you, a throwback to the 80's and 90's rb's).

    All that said, Forte should be good to finish out his contract as the starter and workhorse of the Bears and while I'd like to see a good rb behind him, I don't know that a 4mil vet is required.
     
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  5. Seqq34

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    I wish they never would have signed Bush. I know some people like him, but i just think he's slow footed. I guess the way i'm thinking of it now is that explosiveness is a value in the NFL...Bush is not explosive.
    Find a young kid who has some spark to help ignite things as a backup role. Easier said then done i know.
     
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  6. jackiejokeman

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    The problem with Bush is they use him as an afterthought ... play him ...let him get warmed up.

    Then he scores.
     
  7. riczaj01

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    JJ problem with that is that you take Forte off the field to let Bush get warmed up; whats the point in that he's not even a fraction of the talent Forte is, and you are paying Forte much more. Would you take Marshal off the field to play Earl Bennett so he could get warmed up? Are you taking Marty B off the field for a series to let Donte Rosario get warmed up? No, and you are not taking the most dangerous rb on your team off the field to let his backup get warmed up either.
     
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  8. short faced bear

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    Bush would flourish more if we had more punch up front (see Garza). Don't know if Bush would take a cut in pay but if we got a better center I'd definitely try to retain him
     
  9. riczaj01

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    I'm not talking poorly on Bush, Bush is a good backup rb, or a really good tandem rb for a team that doesn't have a top 5 rb. But there is no need for him on the Bears making 4mil, but if you let him go you need to replace him w/a rookie RB in the late rounds of the draft so that you can have someone behind or in front of Ford, depending on how he performs IF Forte were to get hurt.

    Both Forte and Bush would do better w/better run blocking, as good as the OL was at pass protection they were not as good at run blocking.
     
  10. jackiejokeman

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    Hey Ric you said it yourself if sombody gets injured we better have a backup.

    Do you realize that Bush hasnt done anything since hes been with DA BEARS ?

    Do you know what fresh legs means ?

    Heres somthing I know that you dont know also being an Oakland Raiders fan ...

    Darren McFaddon went down like clockwork to injury ... when Bush was with Da Raiduhs,

    he was da Raiduhs RB. Look up the numbers.

    If you can find me a better RB to back up Forte ... name names.
     

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