Chicago Bears Season Preview: Running Backs

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Chicago Bears Season Preview: Running Backs
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

“Pay the Man." That was the phrase echoed by Bears fans all offseason.

The man they are talking about? Bears running back Matt Forte, who threatened to hold out for the 2012 season if he didn’t get the contract he deserved.

Thankfully for Bears fans, the Bears and Forte agreed on a four-year, $32 million contract—a contract that in many eyes was well-deserved for Matt Forte.

The Pro Bowl back finished with 1,487 all-purpose yards last season in just 12 games played. After he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 12 against the Chiefs, the Bears offense went down the drain.

Forte accounted for just over 37 percent of the Bears offense before he went down. It was undeniable that Forte was one of the main reasons for Chicago’s early success last season.

Now Forte is back, and the feeling around camp is excitement.

With Forte back and the key additions of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, those three will match with quarterback Jay Cutler to potentially provide one of the better offenses in the NFL. Well, fans hope so at least.

One problem for the Bears in the past has been the workload put on Forte. Many believe Forte will start to break and not produce like he has in recent seasons.

That issue has been addressed with the signing of former Oakland Raider running back Michael Bush.

Bush was brought into Chicago to spell Forte on short-yardage downs and goal-line situations. The big and physical Bush could be the perfect ingredient to a dangerous Chicago backfield.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Not only do the Bears return Forte and bring in Bush, but they also keep Kahlil Bell, who has shown he can come in and provide service if needed.

Chicago possesses one of the better backfields in the NFL, which opens up other options in their offense.  With the addition of Brandon Marshall, the Bears now have a more balanced offense.

That should open up chances for the Bears backfield.

With defenses focusing on Cutler and the passing game, the running game will need to excel.

If the Bears are successful in doing that, expect big things from the boosted up backfield.

 

Grades

Starter: A-

Forte returns looking to duplicate his production last season, but this time in 16 games and more. The Pro Bowl back looks to be a staple in the Bears offense again and a serious threat in the NFL.

 

Backup: B-

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I love the Michael Bush pickup. The 245-pound Bush gives the Bears a solid complement to Forte on short-yardage downs and goal-line sets.

 

Third String: C-

Kahlil Bell isn’t ready to be a starter in the NFL just yet, but he’s good enough to spell Forte and Bush. Giving those two a rest on a few plays will be key.

 

Other Notes

While I don’t see him creeping up the depth chart any time soon, former Notre Dame running back Armando Allen could land on the roster. He could find himself playing special teams and possibly in the backfield rotation if an injury were to occur.

 

This article is also featured on www.ChiCitySports.com. Follow Zack on Twitter, @Zack_Pearson

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