Chicago Bears: Predicting Matt Forte’s 2013 Totals

By Ryan Heckman
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte was in competition with another electric running back for most yards from scrimmage as a rookie.

He and Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans were lighting up the football field week after week and had experts debating who teams would rather have if given the option. Starting off his career with a bang, Forte is now placed in the category of the injury-prone question marks.

Looking forward to 2013, the Bears have quite a different look due to a brand new offense instilled by brand new head coach Marc Trestman. Historically, Trestman’s offenses have been high-powered and quarterback-focused. What will the future hold for Forte, who last year signed a four year extension with the team?

Well, it begins with the question: Will Forte stay healthy for a full season? He has had many issues with his ankles and knees in the past, and Chicago hopes that they are behind him and he is ready to go for 2013.

If Forte does indeed play out an entire season with the Bears, he could see his totals rise even in a pass-happy offense. The biggest reason I am optimistic on Forte’s future under Trestman is because his skill set will finally be taken advantage of.

Forte is one of the best in the business at executing a screen play. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had the type of play-caller nor the offensive line to help his case on those particular downs. With Trestman calling the plays, Forte is sure to see many more passes thrown his way.

Going into the upcoming year, Forte will also be helped out by a new and improved offensive line. In signing Pro Bowl tackle Jermon Bushrod from the New Orleans Saints and a young, upcoming guard Matt Slauson from the New York Jets, the Bears have given both Forte and quarterback Jay Cutler a safer outlook up front.

The Bears also dug into the NFL Draft and grabbed the son of NFL Legend Howie Long, Kyle Long, who will more than likely compete for both a guard and tackle spot. Long is a versatile lineman who has played every position up front, a luxury for new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.

Forte is more comfortable outside the tackles, therefore having guards like Slauson and Long who can pull and lead the charge blocking-wise will prove highly beneficial for him. He has always had the great ability to cut back and hit a hole. So, whether it’s off a screen pass or an outside run, Forte will be able to accomplish what he is accustomed to doing: making it tough on defenses outside the hash marks.

Again, all of this depends greatly on Forte’s ability to stay healthy. But, if he can stay on the field, the Bears are going to see the Matt Forte they know and love. He may very well wind up with a 1,000 yard rushing season and anywhere from 500-700 yards receiving, giving Trestman one of the ideal weapons many offenses long for.

Only time will tell how all of these factors play out, but things are looking excellent for Chicago and their star back.

Ryan Heckman is a writer for covering the NBA and NFL. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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