In a league that is quickly becoming pass-first, the Chicago Bears are set up to prove that you still need a running game. Many people see the new Bears RB Michael Bush as an insurance policy for RB Matt Forte. While there is a chance the Bears won’t see Forte on the field until Week 11, it’s more likely that he’ll miss a portion of the preseason but be back when the regular season begins. Then we can see the impact that a RB like Bush can make on an offense.
Bush knows how to get into the end zone. He has scored 21 touchdowns on 632 rushes compared to Forte who has 21 touchdowns on 1014 rushes. Forte’s biggest issue has been scoring on short yardage situations, an area that Bush excels in. In the past two seasons, Bush has scored 14 touchdowns from seven yards away or less, while Forte only has scored three.
As much as the Bears would like to tout Michael Bush as the replacement for Forte if he holds out, Bush is going to be that bruiser that can move the chains or get into the end zone. He’s not a guy you can count on for 25 carries a game. In fact, he has only done that four times in his career. Don’t get me wrong, he has the size and ability to bust out for big yardage, but that isn’t going to be his role on the Bears.
The combination of Bush and Forte is going to open up the field for the receivers and tight ends. Look what the Giants did last year with Bradshaw and Jacobs. They were 7-3 in the regular season when both were on the field and 4-0 in the playoffs. The Bears will need both guys if they want to contend in the NFC.
And by saying this, I would like to emphasize that Matt Forte alone is not enough. The Bears need to be careful about investing in him long term. I do think he should get paid, but tying up too much money in him could prove to be a big blow to the Bears future. Michael Bush only cost the Bears $14 million ($7 million guaranteed) over four years, so the risk on him is relatively safe. I love Forte but money comes and goes, a Super Bowl ring is forever. And 2012 could be the year.
Follow me on Twitter @DoctorDeez