There has been a lot of turnover within the Chicago Bears organization since the firing of long-time coach Lovie Smith and the hiring of offensive-minded coach Marc Trestman from the Canadian Football League. As such, much of the off-season focus has been on Jay Cutler and whether he is the team’s franchise quarterback, Brandon Marshall and the receiving corp, as well as the overhauling of the offensive line with key free agent and draft day pick-ups.
The one position on the offensive side of the ball — and on the team for, that matter — that seems to be overlooked are the running backs, or in particular, Matt Forte.
One year removed from signing a four-year, $32 million deal, the former 2008 second-round pick appears to be worth ever penny as Forte finished the 2012 season with 1,094 rushing yards and a 4.4 YPR average on the season.
Although his 2012 numbers aren’t Adrian Peterson-esque, when one factors in the vanilla offense run by then-offensive coordinator Mike Tice, the less-than stellar play of the offensive line, as well as the 44 catches that Forte made out of the backfield, and it’s clear that the running back has been the true pulse of the Bears’ offense over the last few seasons. Over his four-year career, he has totaled 5,327 rushing yards from scrimmage, 26 touchdowns with an 4.2 YPR average over his career.
While there has been much change to the offensive philosophy within Halas Hall with the team bringing in a string of running backs such as Chester Taylor, Marion Barber and recently Michael Bush, the one constant has been Forte’s production.
With yet another offensive coordinator coming in for the season, the one thing they need not worry about is the team’s feature back production. Regardless of whether this season turns into a remarkable playoff campaign for the Bears or one in which the team ends up with a top-five pick for the 2014 draft, the one position that will be of little concern for the Bears will be running back.