Matt Forte as a RB and his Value to the Bears...........

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by soulman, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 7 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,761ß
    In a thread regarding Ka'Deem Carey and his fit as the Bears #2 RB several of us including; Ski, Ric, Bear Jim, JJ-30, and myself began to debate Matt Forte's abilities and status as an "elite" type NFL RB. Stats were presented which showed that Forte often gains much of his yardage on a few longer runs while often failing to gain significant yardage or even loses yardage on others and I for one don't deny that. But if you analyzed the runs of many other great RBs including Gale Sayers and Barry Sanders you'd find somewhat that same. They're known far more for their big plays than they are for grinding it out 4-5 yards or more at a time on almost every play like Walter Payton did.

    Ski pulled up some interesting stats on this which I commented on and we debated. In that same thread and JJ-30 also chimed in with his thoughts. In that regard I'll tip my hat to him and refer to some of his thoughts as well because yes, he does know a little something about NFL RBs, so IMHO his viewpoints have a special merit to them and should be considered with all due respect. I'm not going to reprint them but rather refer to them a bit in the rest of this article. No one is saying Matt Forte is not a great RB, least of all me. I love the guy. But what I'm attempting to do here is validate in exactly what ways he is and isn't an "elite" RB and what his true value to the Bears is. I'm not expecting agreement. In fact I'm actually trying to stir up some debate which is at least in part what I feel these original articles we as members write should be for. So have at it. No one is gonna hurt my feelings by substituting their own. How do you all see Matt Forte as an NFL RB?

    Here's my thinking on it.

    I have to agree with JJ on this at least as far as saying that Matt Forte isn't elite in the sense of a runner who can make something out of nothing as a Barry Sanders or Gale Sayers could. Forte needs space to maneuver in to escape a tackle or a hole or gap to run through. He seldom if ever creates his own and he's not a power runner who can move the pile or carry tacklers for much extra yardage.

    He's also not the kind of back you can depend upon to get you two or three tough yards on third down or at the goal line virtually every time you hand him the ball like Walter Payton could. He doesn't have that same close area elusiveness and even though he's a much bigger back he still lacks Walter's power, explosiveness and determination and his tremendous leaping ability.

    But what Forte does have that few other current NFL backs have is a very special package of skills that fit very well into the WCO style offense Marc Trestman runs and which Ron Turner also ran at one time. Like Walter Payton he's a triple threat RB as a runner, receiver and a blocker and he does all three very effectively. Because of his longer stride he also has deceptive speed and ability to makes cuts in space without breaking stride like many other great open field runners.

    During his career he's proven to be a tremendously well conditioned RB who can and often does play through some injuries that would have grounded other backs. He's a tough cookie both mentally and physically and he plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder because many do not consider him an "elite" back. That was somewhat obvious during his protracted contract negotiations and it's been a sore point with him since. He recently scoffed at being considered only the 91st best player in the NFL and ranked behind several other backs he's outperformed. He's a very proud guy and also very determined to get respect and IMO that makes him a very valuable player. He'll give you all he's got 100% of the time.

    He won't ever be as under rated as Neal Anderson was because he didn't follow a legend but Neal Anderson is probably the Chicago Bears back he's most similar to and in the more recent NFL I'd compare him to a Marshall Faulk type back. But elite or not without a doubt Matt Forte is one of the Bears top offensive weapons and their "Swiss Army Knife" on offense. It would be tough for that offense to be as productive without him on the field. It's not just his ability as a runner as JJ pointed out but his threat as a pass receiver that makes him more dangerous and tougher to defense. He's not a guy you want to see get the ball with room too much room to run because he will make you pay for it. Almost as many of his big plays come off a pass as they do a run and it's where he can really hurt a defense because he's almost like another WR.

    Forte says he'd like to continue playing for quite a while longer and even though he'll be nearing 30 when his current contract ends after the 2015 season (his 8th) I really wouldn't put it past him. Like Walter, he keeps himself in top condition in the offseason with a pretty rigorous conditioning program that in many ways rivals Walter's own and Walter played for 13 seasons. And before anyone makes a comment about Forte being a high mileage back think. Was there ever another NFL RB who had more tough miles on him than Walter Payton?

    So if Matt wants to keep on playing with an extension of his current deal or a new one, and his demands are affordable and in keeping with his production, then I would love to see him do it as a Chicago Bear. We weren't afraid to extend Brandon Marshall's deal at age 30 and if Matt Forte can continue to prove himself as productive and valuable to the Bears as Marshall has then I would hope we wouldn't be afraid to take the plunge with him either. Yes, NFL RBs don't usually have the career expectancy of a WR but there are and have been exceptions to the rule; Emmitt Smith ( 15 yrs), Marshall Faulk (13 yrs), Curtis Martin (11 yrs), LaDanian Tomlinson (11 yrs), Edgerrin James (11 yrs) and of course Walter himself to name a few.

    Ka'Deem Carey may prove to be a fine RB in his own right but until he's able to show that he can produce as much and in as many ways as Matt Forte does he'll still be his stable mate and the #2 RB for the time being and for now I would not want to see the Bears offense without Matt Forte.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
    • Bear Down! Bear Down! x 1
  2. Ski-Whiz

    Ski-Whiz George Halas Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 1996
    Messages:
    36,719
    Likes Received:
    754
    Ratings:
    +976 / 1 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    562ß
    Great article. I would call him our Swiss Army knife as well.

    I like how you compared his long runs to sanders and Sayers. One key thing to note, is that forte does make yardage like those two. That's the difference.

    He's still a great fit but with a good offensive line, his value goes down.

    Don't you ever wonder why certain team can always find a good rb or qb? That because they have a good line.

    Time will tell whether forte can put up even bigger numbers, especially with a monster wr trio.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 7 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,761ß
    The Bronco teams in the late John Elway as QB era were known for that. Alex Gibbs, the Broncos great OL coach, was the guy responsible for that. His zone blocking schemes opened a lot of space and cutback lanes that a smart runner could use to his advantage and turned a late round pick like Terrell Davis into an All Pro RB. Several others followed him as 1000 yard plus rushers behind those lines as well and none of them were high draft picks.

    Still Matt Forte has been productive during his entire career and we haven't always had a line this good. In fact never would be closer to the truth so we really can't short sell Forte's abilities as a top NFL back. The guy is pretty much an offensive machine who plays a smart enough game that combined with his running and receiving skills make him a top back. If we didn't want him I'm sure there are at least 30 other teams who'd take him and the only reason Minny passes is AP.

    There really isn't any other NFL RB I would prefer in the Bears offense than Matt Forte.
  4. Bearstuff

    Bearstuff Yes, in the woods. Staff Member SuperFan

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    29,722
    Likes Received:
    1,038
    Ratings:
    +1,227 / 3 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    602ß
    Forte is elite, but not as a pure runner, for all the reasons you stated. Even though you mentioned it, he is one hell of a blocker. I've seen him take on speed rushers and bull rushers alike, and be successful at blocking.

    I think Carey is capable of adding to Forte's numbers and his longevity. A rest here and there will help a great deal for a guy that gives full effort on every down, even if the ball goes somewhere else. No matter what shape you are in, having a breather and a few sips of water goes a long way towards the next play.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. DavidL

    DavidL Pro-Bowler SuperFan

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3,604
    Likes Received:
    639
    Ratings:
    +744 / 6 / -24
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,173ß
    I've seen every Bears RB for the last 50+ years, and I would rate him third (behind only Sayers and Payton). He is not a GREAT pure runner. Sometimes he does not see the holes on running plays (I watch games slow motion). But I am not complaining. He is a critical part of the Bears offense.
  6. Ski-Whiz

    Ski-Whiz George Halas Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 1996
    Messages:
    36,719
    Likes Received:
    754
    Ratings:
    +976 / 1 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    562ß

    It's just your opinion, but Neal Andersone is my #2 Bears Back.

    Now I haven't been around long enough to really date some of the older RBs, but Neal Anderson was special.


    View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Op3rnfR6BQ
    • Bear Down! Bear Down! x 1
  7. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    22,523
    Likes Received:
    2,961
    Ratings:
    +3,583 / 10 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,782ß
    Neal's another very underrated back for the Bears. I still like Forte more, I have more omg moments in my head from the Forte years then I do the Neal years. But I do really like both of them, I was only around for the mid 80's, so Water, Forte, Neal in that order, then a dropoff to TJ and Benson, and then a deep dark cliff.
  8. DavidL

    DavidL Pro-Bowler SuperFan

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3,604
    Likes Received:
    639
    Ratings:
    +744 / 6 / -24
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,173ß
    Sayers and Payton are top two. I doubt you could get many Bears fans age 60+ to disagree on that. Anderson was good but not the all-round talent as Forte when you take blocking and pass receiving into account IMO.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  9. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    544
    Likes Received:
    149
    Ratings:
    +167 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    66ß
    Thanks for the Anderson highlight reel Ski. I had forgotten how could he was. I'd put him at 3rd behind Payton & Sayers. Just a damn good all around player, as is Forte. Anderson had that take it to the house speed & great acceleration. We, as Bear fans have been really blessed to watch some great RBs thru the years.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. DavidL

    DavidL Pro-Bowler SuperFan

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3,604
    Likes Received:
    639
    Ratings:
    +744 / 6 / -24
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,173ß


    This video (near the end) has some of Sayers kick returns. He was almost as good as Hester, if not better. Some teams would not kick-off to him at all. They'd just squib it down to the Bears 40 yd. line.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 7 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,761ß
    I always see a similar gracefulness in the running styles of Anderson and Forte and both were/are dangerous receivers too.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    22,523
    Likes Received:
    2,961
    Ratings:
    +3,583 / 10 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,782ß
    it's a bit old hat, but I was reading another site and they were talking about Forte and it came up how often Forte seems to get stuffed at the line, and someone actually pulled the stat and he's really not that bad. I limited it to RB's w/200+ carries, b/c imo that is a teams featured back, and it changes the spectrum quite a bit compared to backups or rb by commitee.

    http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/player-rushing-statistics/2009/
    Run Stuff % 2013
    PlayerATTYDSY/AY/G10+TDFUMFD100+STUF%
    Jamaal Charles2591,2874.9786371247244.6
    Fred Jackson2068904.325621925415.3
    Knowshon Moreno2411,0384.3165261015315.8
    Ryan Mathews2851,2554.47827625466.3
    DeMarco Murray2171,1215.178032925936.9
    Rashard Mendenhall2176873.1746128443 6.9
    BenJarvus Green-Ellis2207563.4447137248 7.7
    Ray Rice2146603.084414422817.9
    Le'Veon Bell2448603.526613814818.6
    Eddie Lacy2841,1784.1579291116148.8
    Zac Stacy2509733.897023714749.2
    Reggie Bush2231,0064.517229454739.4
    DeAngelo Williams2018434.1956213135110
    Alfred Morris2761,2754.6280297557310.1
    LeSean McCoy3141,6075.12100479179710.5
    Adrian Peterson2791,2664.54903110359510.8
    Matt Forte2891,3394.6384419274511.4
    Maurice Jones-Drew2348033.4354175143112
    Marshawn Lynch3011,2574.18793612368312
    Chris Johnson2791,0773.8667236254212.2
    Frank Gore2761,1284.0971329355313
    C.J. Spiller2029334.6262222426414.9
    Run Stuff % 2012
    PlayerATTYDSY/AY/G10+TDFUMFD100+STUF%
    Shonn Greene2761,0633.856620835224.7
    Ray Rice2571,1434.457125915144.7
    BenJarvus Green-Ellis2781,0943.947317635445.4
    Ahmad Bradshaw2211,0154.597335635645.9
    Marshawn Lynch3151,5905.05993911469107.6
    C.J. Spiller2071,2446.017832625257.7
    Matt Forte2481,0944.417325524538.9
    Alfred Morris3351,6134.81101551348379.3
    Frank Gore2581,2144.7176428267310.1
    Steven Jackson2571,0424.0565274 47210.1
    Mikel Leshoure2157983.7157179346110.2
    Stevan Ridley2901,2634.36793312482410.3
    Doug Martin3191,4544.56913811158511
    Trent Richardson2679503.56631411336311.2
    Arian Foster3511,4244.06893815378711.7
    Jamaal Charles2851,5095.2994395562712.6
    Reggie Bush2279864.3462286443213.2
    LeSean McCoy2008404.270242445313.5
    Chris Johnson2761,2434.578296345513.8
    Michael Turner2228003.6502010340214
    Darren McFadden2167073.2759122133314.4
    Adrian Peterson3482,0976.0313161123851014.7
    Vick Ballard2118143.8651262350116.6

    I actually went back farther then this, but these 2 kinda make the point w/out becoming to long, and it's pretty much always the same.

    But moreso what the #'s showed me was just how pointless this stat is, it's cybermetrics at it's worst. When you look at the leaders, how many would put their money behind the guys at the top vs the guys lower on the list. Who here is really going to take most of the rb's at the top of this list over Forte, McCoy, and especially Peterson? The only stand outs on those lists were Charles and Lynch and Rice.

    I know it sounds crazy, but I don't worry about a guy that gets stuffed at the line 10-15% of the time. For Forte last year it was about 33 time, or about 2 times a game. Meanwhile he's more then making up for those 2 stuffs by his 15-20+ other positive runs. AP is constantly getting stuffed at the line at about the same rate, and he might be the best since Sweetness. McCoy might well be the best back in the league right now and he's right there also. I think many Bears fans think Forte suffers more then other top backs, but the reality is even the really top end backs get stuffed at the line more then we realize.
  13. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    9,940
    Likes Received:
    2,612
    Ratings:
    +3,021 / 4 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,721ß
    Forte gets a lot of production with piss poor run-blocking in front of him. Last year was no better (the run blocking). The pass blocking definitely was better last year, but the run blocking in recent years is poor - including last year. Time after time after time you see Forte making something out of nothing. I'll be honest, it makes me really angry to watch the crappy run blocking in recent years. Forte is amazing, because he is very productive anyway.
  14. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    22,523
    Likes Received:
    2,961
    Ratings:
    +3,583 / 10 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,782ß
    Ya for all those that complain about the OL and how it's treated Cutler, just think how much worse it's been for Forte, and then on top of that no real WR threats even after JC got here so the D's are still keying on Forte first and foremost.

    But just looking at the #'s it seems to happen to most of the top tier RB's, when teams know that you have a RB like that, they will likely be the first or 2nd option, so they prepare for that; again look at AP, and don't take my word for it, click the link, find the run stuff %, and go back 4-5 years, and AP is always in the 10-15% stuff range, same w/McCoy. When D's know your RB is a major key to the O, they are going to try and stop the RB first regardless.

    It also just doesn't seem to limit your elite backs, b/c just like always, no matter how far you go back, your great RB's get their yards in bulk, not 2-3-4 yards at a time. Out of 20 carries it's 5-10 1-5 yards, 3-4 stuffs, 3-4 6-10 yarders and a couple big runs. No RB that was great ever got 3-5 yards every time on his 20 carries. AP was stuffed 14% of the time in 2012 and had 2K yards, Shonne Green and Rice had 1/2 those yards but led the league w/4% stuff rates, would you take Greene or Rice and their 1K yards and 4 or so less TD's over AP and his 15% stuff rate? Of course not. Charles in an outlier last year.
  15. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Messages:
    612
    Likes Received:
    338
    Ratings:
    +409 / 0 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    141ß
    Benson is part of that deep dark cliff.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Messages:
    612
    Likes Received:
    338
    Ratings:
    +409 / 0 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    141ß
    Benson is part of that deep dark cliff.
  17. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    22,523
    Likes Received:
    2,961
    Ratings:
    +3,583 / 10 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,782ß
    I won't defend Benson but he wasn't that bad during his first couple years, and he was far more talented then Enis/A-Train/Salam. Hell on a fraction of his touches he had as many TD's and averaged the same ypc as the fan favorite TJ when they both played 15 games. Those 2 could have been a really solid 1-2 punch if TJ hadn't got all but hurt by the Bears drafting Benson and split the locker room before TC. That's if JA actually does something about the OL in the offseason after the SB loss.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  18. weneedmorelinemen

    weneedmorelinemen Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Messages:
    612
    Likes Received:
    338
    Ratings:
    +409 / 0 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    141ß
    674 yards is the most he could get in one year as a Bear. Anthony Thomas was twice the back Benson was as a Bear. Benson was a bigger bust than Enis. At least Enis had an excuse.
  19. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    1,505
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 7 / -3
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,761ß

    Neal was a great RB and few probably recall that in his rookie year he bulked up to around 225lbs so he could play FB to Walter's HB. When Walter retired right after he dropped back to 210lbs and became a Pro Bowl RB but because he replaced a legend he never quite got the appreciation he deserved. He also ended his career pretty abruptly saying he had only planned on playing that long and wanted to walk away from the game while he still could. Walk that is. He also had some difficult personal issues to deal with around the end of his career as well.

    I think in many ways Matt Forte is a very similar back but he'll get more recognition because he isn't Walter's replacement. That was a hard act for anyone to follow. I also don't believe Matt Forte is anywhere near ready to give up the game nor will he be for quite a while longer. JMHO
  20. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    22,523
    Likes Received:
    2,961
    Ratings:
    +3,583 / 10 / -8
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,782ß
    Benson had no OL, and didn't get the carries required to get more then those yards. A-Train wasn't a better RB, don't care if it was a Bear or anything else. Benson proved his worth in elsewhere. The Enis statement just proves your ignorance and/or blind hate.

    btw, this isn't about Cedric, it's about Forte. The entire point was there was a long line of flat bad to average RB's for the Bears between Neal and Forte. Don't like the names on the list, or the order, ignore the list stay on point for a change.

    I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan of Neals for the exact reason Soul mentions, he followed Walter, and as good as Neal was he couldn't be good enough, he also didn't play long enough. He was a hell of a RB looking back though, and the trail of bad rb's that followed him made you really miss what the Bears had in him.

    Forte on the other hand only had to be better then TJ and Benson, and the list of average to bad that came before them, and he has proven to be FAR superior to any of the list of RB's after Neal had left. So he'll be looked at in a far better light, but depending on how his replacements play he might get lost in the shuffle a bit, not as great as Watler or Gayle, not as bad as Enis and Salam, he'll be more like Anderson where people just don't talk about him much.

Share This Page