Should the Bear’s Keep Chester Taylor in 2011?
A year ago, the Bears had felt that after starting running back Matt Forte had struggled with injuries during the 2009 season it would be wise for them to bring in another back that could step in and start as needed. Free agency offered one very good prospect at that time and that prospect was former Minnesota Vikings backup running back Chester Taylor.
Sure, Taylor had some age on him but he hadn’t been used much since coming into the NFL (he was Adrian Peterson’s backup with the Vikings) and the Bears thought that he had fresh enough legs to be the featured running back if necessary.
In the end, it wasn’t whether or not he had fresh enough legs or if he could step in and start if Forte went down but instead it was the Bears inability to recognize what they had in him and not use him more. With Forte being healthy this season the coaching staff didn’t utilize Taylor that much and it resulted in a poor showing by Taylor for the season.
Overall, Taylor played in all 16 games for the Bears and had one start in 2010. He had 112 rushing attempts totaling 267 yards for an average of 2.4 yards per carry. His longest run was 24 yards and had three touchdowns.
As a receiver, Taylor caught 20 passes for 139 yards averaging seven yards per catch. His longest catch was 18 yards and he didn’t have any receiving touchdowns.
His production doesn’t look that significant but you have to keep in mind that Forte shouldered a majority of the load last season as the coaching staff seemed to not trust Taylor or just felt that Forte had the hot hand all season.
Luckily, Forte was able to make it through the season without being injured so there wasn’t much need for Taylor but there should have been much more of a need for him. Forte had the hot hand and so the coaching staff decided that Taylor didn’t need to be used that much. It made it appear as if he was ineffective when in all actuality, had he been used more often he would have been pretty effective in 2010.
So should the Bears let Taylor go this offseason? After spending the kind of money that they did to bring him in last season they should consider allowing him to stay around for another year so they can at least get some return on their investment from last season and also so they won’t have to worry about going out and finding some additional depth at the position.