I am sure that when Michael Bush was signed by the Bears, he secretly hoped that the Bears wouldn't manage to get the deal done with Matt Forte. But the two sides did come to an agreement and Forte firmly secured his place as the team's number one running back.
With that being said, we still have to see exactly what role Bush will play for Chicago this season. How will he react to possibly just being used as a short yardage back? Or will things come together beautifully and Bush and Forte become one of the league's most feared tandems?
Let me be clear and state that I believe Michael Bush is a professional and will do his job to the best of his abilities. However, there can be no denying that Bush has the talent to be a starting running back on many NFL teams.
He more than adequately stepped in for an injured Darren McFadden in Oakland last season and finished the year with just shy of 1000 yards. He has a career average of 4.2 yards per carry. His hands are impeccable too, as he fumbles the ball every 210 carries!
Many see Bush being used in purely short yardage or goal line situations. Bush recently spoke about this and said:
"That's the role I've been stuck with because of my size, but if that's what I have to do, that's what I have to do. No one likes to be a battering ram. It just happens that way."
I think he's being a touch harsh on himself. Yes, he's a big back at 245 lbs, but many a large RB has forged a career for themselves as a number one rusher.
What I hope to see this year is Bush being used more than just a short yardage pile mover. Like I said, he has more talent than that. He has proved that with the Raiders. His feet are quick and he can break tackles to get into the open field. With his size, he is difficult to bring down and he knows how to keep his feet moving to gain the extra few yards.
It would be naive to wish for something more like a 50/50 split in terms of the work load, but Bush offers a very attractive change of pace, and will be successful at more than giving Forte a breather.
The Bears are in a fortunate position to have a back with the type of ability as Bush. If the worst happens and Forte succumbs to injury again, they will have a running back able to give them good production and not be too much of a step down from Forte.
My gut feeling is they should seek to harness this ability as much as they can, and let Michael Bush be more than just a battering ram.