CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 29: Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears scores a touchdown in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers during a game at Soldier Field on December 29, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
The Chicago Bears report to training camp next week in Bourbonnais, and as we prepare for the team to arrive at Olivet Nazarene University, Grizzly Detail is here to bring you a breakdown of the various position battles that will be taking place when the teams hit the practice fields.
Today we will be examining the situation in the Bears’ backfield as we break down their running back situation.
Just like every other offensive position it seems like, there is a surefire starter at the running back position, and it’s Matt Forte. The back has started all but five games for the Bears in his six year career with the team, and he’s quickly establishing himself as one of the great backs in team history.
Last season was a career one for Forte, as he rushed for a career high 1339 yards, a career high nine rushing touchdowns, and caught a career high 74 passes. He racked up 1933 yards from scrimmage, also a career high, and had a total of 12 touchdowns for Marc Trestman’s new look offense.
When the team let go of Michael Bush after the 2013 season, it appeared that Michael Ford was going to get a chance to be the back-up running back. That certainty gave way to doubt at May’s NFL Draft, as the team selected Ka’Deem Carey out of the University of Arizona in the fourth round.
Carey was a two-time All-American at the school, and was arguably in the top tier of running backs available in the draft. He had 1885 yards rushing in 2013 after racking up 1929 yards in 2012, and combined in his final two seasons with the Wildcats he had 42 rushing touchdowns.
Ford appeared in 12 games for the Bears, but was relegated to a special teams role. He has shown flashes of skill during preseason games, but with Carey in the fold now, he’d have to really blow away the coaching staff in training camp to get any reps with the first team, much less to get carries during the regular season.
What to Watch For:
There won’t be a position battle for either the starting job or the back-up job this training camp season (unless Trestman knows something that we don’t about Ford competing with Carey), but it will still be fascinating to watch just how much work Carey gets with the first teamers. There are thoughts that he could be a good change of pace back for Forte, and with the sheer number of touchdowns he had at Arizona, he could get some red zone carries too.
With that in mind, we’ll be watching to see if Carey lines up with Forte in the back field or if he stays in more of a back-up role. As for Ford, he’ll continue to toil away on special teams (along with undrafted free agent Jordan Lynch), and he’ll bide his time until he gets a crack at a bigger role on offense.