Matt Forte's not a big bruiser, he's not a shifty scat back and he's not a speed demon. What he is is a very good football player that is in a perfect system for him right now. He had a down year in the pass blocking department, but that hasn't been a problem throughout his career. I expect him to bounce back with his blocking, rush for over a thousand yards and catch 60-70 balls again.
For some reason many people are split on Matt Forte. Some consider him vastly underrated on a national scale and wonder why he isn't getting the same kind of respect as the other top running backs in the game today.
Others feel he's overrated and point to his inability to break tackles or get the tough yards as a knock on his play. I think some of that is overblown, because Forte has played with some poor offensive lines most of his career. It's kind of hard to get a yard when he's being hit in the backfield. He's an upright, taller (6'2"), one cut runner that is better when all 11 defenders aren't waiting in the box for him.
I also think some of his detractors soured on him during the #PayTheMan crusade. Forte was looking to get paid, and that's his right. You can't begrudge a player for wanting to maximize his payday with such a short earning window.
Matt Forte was third in yards from scrimmage in 2013 and third is exactly where Bucky Brooks of NFL.com ranked Forte on his best all around backs list. Here's what Brooks had to say.
It's hard to imagine a multi-time Pro Bowler being underappreciated on the national scene, but I firmly believe the football world has slept on Forte's talents as a dynamic multipurpose threat. The seventh-year pro has posted four 1,000-yard seasons and snagged at least 50 passes five times in his career. While those numbers are certainly impressive, it is the smooth, fluid nature of Forte's versatile game that stands out to me. He is one of the few running backs in the NFL capable of grinding between the tackles while also possessing the receiving skills to run precise routes as a quasi-receiver on the perimeter. Given Bears coach Marc Trestman's reputation for maximizing the talents of his running back, it's possible that Forte will make a run at the top spot on this list in 2014.
The bell-cow running back may not be as prevalent as years past, but if you have a player that can handle a bunch of touches and be productive, teams will build a big portion of their offense around you. Matt Forte has proven to be that guy.
Where would you rank Matt Forte among the best do it all backs in the game today?