As we count down the final days to the start of Chicago Bears training camp, we’re doing a preview of all of the position groups. We’ll look at our projected starters, key backups, training camp battles as we review the additions and subtractions to the Bears roster over the offseason.
TODAY’S POSITION: RUNNING BACKS
Projected Starter: Matt Forte
Key Departures: Michael Bush
Matt Forte looks to build on a career year in 2013 in Marc Trestman’s offense and gain the national recognition that he’s earned through his career. After gaining nearly 2000 yards from scrimmage, you’d think he would have finished higher than 91st on the NFL Network’s Top 100 players of 2014. The knock on Forte had always been that he can’t get into the end zone, but with an improved passing attack, a more than competent offensive coordinator and an improving offensive line, Forte notched 12 total touchdowns. What he’s got going against him is the calendar, he might be heading for the running back cliff.
Behind Forte, or ahead of him depending on your point of view, the Bears expect to keep Tony Fiammetta, the only fullback currently on their roster, to help lead the way for Forte. Fiammetta had just four catches for 57 yards and zero rushing attempts, but he’s primarily employed as a blocker.
The Bears invested a fourth round draft pick on running back Ka’Deem Carey to compete for the backup running back spot. With that much investment and pressure on Emery’s draft picks to start producing, I expect Carey to get plenty of carries. Journeyman Shaun Draughn was signed in the offseason, but would appear to be a longshot to make the roster. He’d need to shown something extraordinary on special teams to crack the roster.
Speaking of special teams, Michael Ford, Jordan Lynch and Senorise Perry are likely all competing for the last running back spot. Former Heisman candidate, quarterback Jordan Lynch, will compete for a roster spot as a running back and special teamer. Lynch excels with the ball in his hands, but he’ll need to make a smooth transition to running back to hold off Ford and fellow rookie Perry.