CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 26: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears follows blocker Frank Omiyale #68 as he runs against Shaun Ellis #92 and David Harris #52 of the New York Jets at Soldier Field on December 26, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 38-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Forte; Frank Omiyale; Shaun Ellis; David Harris
In his third season with the Bears, Matt Forte ran for over 1,000 yards and made 51 catches for 547 yards. He scored nine touchdowns and lost just two fumbles. He is versatile and fits in well with Mike Martz's offensive scheme, and the Bears picked up an expensive free agent RB last season in Chester Taylor. Still, fans question if he's the elite running back for the Bears, and favor the Bears going after a free agent "stud back."
Is it a problem with Forte, or is that the NFL has changed?
Running backs aren't the hot commodity they once were. The last running back who won the MVP was LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006. A running back wasn't taken in the draft until the 28th pick. More and more, teams are using more than one back to shoulder the load in the running game. SB Nation found that multi-back teams are more effective in yards per carry and yards per game.
Stud backs just aren't what they used to be.
With the wear and tear put on running backs, having an effective back-up (like what Chester Taylor is supposed to be) makes more sense than investing everything into a so-called stud back. Forte already suffered injuries during his second season, but came back to be an integral part to the Bears offense. The smartest thing the Bears could do is to avoid "stud backs" who would drive a high price, and keep on keeping on in the running game.