Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte has been mostly durable in his career. This six-year veteran has missed only five games in his career. The Bears have to knock on wood for Forte’s durability but at some point the luck will run out.
Forte is in great shape and plays a style that can be sustained for at least four more seasons. The Bears can do themselves and Forte a favor by finding a solid option behind him. Michael Bush just isn’t the answer and will likely be released.
The kind of guy the Bears need is well, Matt Forte. Blocking, receiving, protecting the football and running hard between the tackles are the little things that separate Forte from regular backs. Finding a backup who can do those things on a smaller scale is what the team needs.
The reason why Bush didn’t work is because his skill set is limited. He can’t catch, block and becomes very predictable when in the game. Deception is the name of the game when it comes to a quality running back.
Who are the top choices to backup Forte? If the team chooses to go the free agent route, Arizona’s LaRod Stephens-Howling is smaller but provides some burst, blocking ability and good pass catching ability. Packers running back James Starks was once on the Bears’ radar during the 2010 NFL Draft and should be again during the upcoming free agency period.
There are some solid options in the draft. The Bears won’t take a running back early but they could look at Arizona State’s Marion Grice would be the perfect all-around back. He’s ranked on our top 10 running backs list for this year’s draft.
Regardless of what direction the Bears go, they need to address the backup situation for Forte. Jay Cutler had Josh McCown, Brandon Marshall was helped by Alshon Jeffery and even Zack Bowman is serviceable when Charles Tillman went down.
It’s time for the Bears to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to the situation before it’s too late.