NFL Rumors: Michael Bush Will Shine in Matt Forte's Absence

John RozumCorrespondent IApril 10, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 13:  Michael Bush #29 of the Oakland Raiders stands on the field during their game against the Washington Redskins at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 13, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Last season, Michael Bush filled in for an injured Darren McFadden and ended up compiling almost 1,400 total yards for the Oakland Raiders.

Bush emerged as one of the league's promising backs and earned himself another opportunity for the 2012 season. Now in Chicago, Bush has increased odds at entering the regular season as the No. 1 ball-carrier.

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, running back Matt Forte may sit out the Bears' team offseason program:

The Bears will be without running back Matt Forte for the sessions if he does not sign the tender he received as the team’s franchise player or a long-term contract is not worked out. To this point, there’s been no sign of progress.

Bush proved in 2011 that's he fully capable of carrying the load of a starting running back. He also proved that he can lead his team to wins, even if their do have an anemic passing attack, and a rotating door at the quarterback position. 

Not to mention that in the game against the Bears in Week 12, Bush totaled 93 yards and accounted for one touchdown. That game also began Chicago's five-game losing streak, which ultimately cost them a playoff spot—although injuries played a major role as well.

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Michael Bush #29 of the Oakland Raiders beats Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears to the goal line for a three yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter at Coliseum on November 27, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by T
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Nevertheless, Bush was a reliable No. 2 ball-carrier for the Raiders, averaging over 700 total yards through his first three seasons.

The Bears, fortunately, are the best positioned team in the NFC North to to win. They have talented players, including quarterback Jay Cutler, receiver Brandon Marshall and return specialist Devin Hester. And together, Forte and Bush, give the the Bears a legit running game.

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings have Adrian Peterson, but they lack threatening receivers that will put a defense on it heels. Green Bay and Detroit are the standard at throwing the ball, but, like last postseason, being one-dimensional will only get a team so far in the playoffs.

If anything, the Bears have a balanced attack that will make them divisional contenders. Yes, having the two-back system of Forte and Bush would arguably be the best in the business and simply enhance the Chicago offense.

But Bush alone can and will get the job done.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect about Bush's 2011 season is that he didn't take over the No. 1 running back responsibilities until late October.

So during the final 10 games of the season, Bush collected 1,158 total yards, thus averaging 115.8 yards per contest. That kind of production would dominate the weak NFC North defenses and really open up the Bears' playbook.

Bush can slam up the middle, has the acceleration to go off tackle and is reliable on check downs. Pretty much everything that Forte can do, so Chicago won't be missing a beat. Now, if the Bears can upgrade that defense to slow down opposing passing games, then we're talking NFC title contenders.

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