May 14, 2013; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears and the Forte-Bush Ground Attack

In an age of football that favors and features aerial attacks, the Bears are poised to supplement their passing game by a dominating ground game.  Bears Running Backs that will be the benefactor of a new, West-Coast style offense.  Both Matt Forte and Michael Bush are polished and accomplished receivers, however they are running backs first and receivers second.  I have visions of Roger Craig running, catching and dominating out of the San Francisco backfield for years it seems.  Can Forte and Bush have similar success?  My bet is that they will enjoy the new high-octane offense that Trestman will unveil this season. 

The first order of Running Backs is to gain yards while possessing the football.  In layman’s terms…gain positive yards and don’t fumble!  Chicago Bear fans have been blessed if not spoiled by truly exceptional Running Back play for decades with very few years not featuring a stud back.  This year will be no different.  Forte is a stud, he is in his prime and he will be a featured part of Trestman’s new offense.  Expect to see his receiving yards to increase in 2013 and be prepared for some explosive runs as well.  Forte is entering his 6th year and is 27 years old and is a warrior and a professional in terms of his preparation and takes care of himself during the offseason.  Bush is a big, physical back who runs too upright to suit me, but he has quick feet and soft hands.  Bush is entering his 7th season at age 27 and is primed to make a significant contribution to the team’s success in 2013.

I believe the Bear’s offense under Trestman will tend towards a pass first mode of operation.  Bear fans will not know what to think and Chicago sports writers will likely be clamoring for more “balance”…that is unless the Bears are winning a lot of games!  I am not predicting domination from this team yet, but I am predicting more yards, more points, more offensive plays, longer drives and as a result the Bears running backs will accumulate more yards on the ground, even though the pass-to-rush ration will lean towards pass more than it has in the past.  I suspect we will see some new formations as well and probably more single back sets with double Tight Ends.  Perhaps, most of all, after a first down incomplete pass we will see something other than a 2nd down run.  That sequence of plays is as predictable as the sun rise and I am ready to see play action pass or a quick pass to a receiver on the outside instead of the usual 3 yards and a cloud of dust.  Welcome to the 21st century Bear fans!

One thing the Bears do not have to worry about at the Running Back position is a lack of talent or a propensity to fumble.  The most impactful change to the running game is likely to be a combination of play calling and probably more impactful, the numerous changes on the offensive line.  Open competition at all positions except perhaps the center position can only help the effectiveness of the team.  This is assuming Trestman is a better judge of the talent on his team that he sees in practice every day than Lovie Smith was.  I believe that Smith and his staff made numerous errors of judgement in this facet.

Given the physical nature of football and the Running Back position, in particular, the players behind Forte and Bush are likely to be called upon to contribute at some point during the season.  Pencil Armando Allen in as the third Running Back…at least for now.  Harvey Unga is still on the roster though I am not sure why.  I have to assume that Lovie Smith saw something in Unga he liked so now new eyes will be judging Unga.  My money is on him exiting the organization.

The player that has caught my eye, is undrafted LSU free agent, Michael Ford.  Emery has shown a propensity for placing a premium on athleticism and Ford has plenty of that for an undrafted free agent.  He ran a 4.56 40 yard dash and averaged 6.0, 6.0 and 5.5 yards per rush in his three seasons with LSU.  All UFA’s are a long shot to make the roster, but this kid has talent and neither Unga nor Allen has distinguished themselves yet.  Perhaps the Bears will keep an extra TE or RB as a special teams player where they had used DB’s or LB’s in the past.  One thing I am sure of…the Bears are in really good shape at the Running Back position and I expect big things in 2013 from this group.

Well Bear fans, are you confident about our Running Back situation?


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Tags: Chicago Bears Marc Trestman Matt Forte Michael Bush

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