I was looking forward to the loss of Cedric Benson because that means rookie Matt Forte can learn from veteran back-up Adrian Peterson. Peterson is a team player that has taken up the opportunity to contribute on special teams when he couldn’t be in the backfield. Unfortunately, Forte will not have the aid of Peterson until training camp.
On Monday night, Adrian Peterson underwent an appendectomy and will be sidelined at least until the start of training camp. That leaves the Bears with Forte and Garrett Wolfe, who sparingly got on the field last season, to run plays in the backfield during OTA’s (Organized Team Activities). The positive is that Forte will now be thrust in a roll over the next few weeks to run all the plays with the first team offense and learn the playbook. He should have a solid grasp on the Bears offense by the time he puts on pads and takes real hits. The negative is that Forte will not have a veteran influence to help guide him on how to be an NFL running back. Players and coaches will have to guide him and get him started on the right foot.
Offensive coaches have done nothing but praise how great Forte looks in all the team drills and appear to optimistic what the rookie can accomplish. However, they always finish with a caution to reporters and fans that they haven’t actually seen Forte with pads on in full contract drills and training camp will be the true indicator of Forte’s impact. I for one am very anxious to see what he can do on the field. The biggest complaint by rookies in training camp is that they don’t get enough attention and don’t get a chance to learn the plays. Forte is in a crash course on Bears offense and has the attention of virtually every offensive coach. With this type of nurturing and cuddling into the system, if Forte can match with intensity in training camp he may be able to add a spark to the offense.
Even with this latest development, the Bears organization hasn’t given the slightest indication they plan on bringing a new running back into the fold. We have been assured that Peterson will be 100% before training camp and will resume his position. My guess is the Bears will wait until right before the start of training camp to evaluate the need to bring in a new running back.