Chicago Bears Training Camp Primer: Running backs
One of the Chicago Bears most dangerous offensive weapons is arguably running back Matt Forte. The 6-foot-2, 218 pound back is the perfect fit for Marc Trestman’s offensive system, as we saw last season.
The Bears rely heavily on Matt Forte as he logged 363 touches last season, the most since his rookie season. So having a productive option behind him will be nice to have for the Bears. They let Michael Bush walk in the off-season, who was a total disappointment, and drafted rookie Ka’Deem Carey from Arizona to compliment Forte.
They also have Michael Ford who played mostly on special teams last season and showed the ability to be an option for the Bears during the preseason last year. Whatever they do at the backup position will need to fill in when called on.
Spelling Matt Forte in situations this season will be a big thing in Trestman’s offense. When Forte needs to come out of the game, can the Bears rely on a backup to get the job done? They are going to have to.
Keeping Forte healthy is one of the biggest factors this season. Overloading him with touches could spell disaster for the Bears offense if no one can fill in.
Forte is the workhorse in the Bears offense and that probably won’t change in 2014. He had a big year in 2013 finishing with 1,933 yards from scrimmage, a career-high and good for fifth all-time in franchise history.
He will likely get 300+ touches again this season, which isn’t too bad because Forte can be a factor in the receiving game as well. One thing he would like to improve on is his blocking ability, which isn’t the best. Forte looks like he will have some motivation this year as well. Recently he was ranked No. 91 on the NFL Networks list of Top 100 Players for 2014 and he took to Twitter to show his displeasure.
Making his second Pro Bowl appearence last season, Forte is one of the most versitile backs in the NFL. He gives the Bears a whole new dynamic on the offensive end and will attract the defenses attention. He will be a big key to the Bears success or failures this season.
The Bears drafted Carey in hopes of giving the team a dual-threat at the running back position. Carey flashed signs of being a guy you can count on as he finished close to 2,000 yards in two of his seasons at the University of Arizona.
Carey is built like the perfect back to compliment Forte, which is exactly what the Bears are looking for. He’s not the fastest guy on the field but his running style will make defenders pay. Carey has the ability to pick up extra yards after contact, which is always good.
While Carey will battle Ford for the backup spot on the Bears, it seems like it might be his to lose. Going into camp, Carey will look to have a good showing and put the off the field issues he had in college away.
Ford impressed a lot of us last preseason and won a spot on the roster where he was used primarily on special teams. He didn’t get a touch in the regular season however.
His speed is something the Bears noticed and would like to utilize more if possible. He will have to beat out a few players to make the team on special teams or running back, so a good showing in camp is crucial for the former LSU Tiger.
Outside Looking In
The Bears signed a few other running backs in the offseason as camp bodies with the chance to make the team. These guys are surely on the outside looking in and will need a spectacular camp to remain on the roster.
The most notable is former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch who has converted to running back. The fans love the hometown kid and hope he gets a chance on the roster. Lynch is a guy with a great work ethic and will really earn his spot if he makes the team. Lynch probably won’t beat out the running backs to backup Forte, but he could see himself making the team as a special teamer if anything.
The signing of Shaun Draughn was another depth signing with the optism that he could somehow make his way on the team. Draughn is on his fourth team in the NFL but has received carries in regular season play. Draughn finished with 59 carries for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns with Kansas City in 2012. Draughn is another player that is likely fighting for a spot on special teams.