If the Bears offensive line can get any push whatsoever I think Matt Forte and Chester Taylor can compile 1,500 rushing yards between them. Add in another 1,000+ through the air, and the Bears could have one of the best tandems in the NFL. But if the line can't get it done, I think Mad Mike Martz, with Lovie Smith's blessing, will abandon the run and chuck it all over the field.
Lovie wants to run the ball, but I don't think he's so naive as to not play to his teams offensive strengths. If the run game struggles early, I think step one will be to reshuffle the line, then step 2 will be Mad Martz taking over. We'll still hear the "get off the bus running" sound bytes on occasion, but they'll be followed with some "take what the defense gives us" mumbo jumbo. I really hope the line can gel and allow the Bears to have a legitimate two tier attack. After the jump I'll look at the backs a little deeper.
As much as I like Forte and Taylor, I wouldn't consider either of them special. Both are good all around football players, but neither runs with the power of Adrian Peterson or has the speed of Chris Johnson. They are both cut and go type runners with not a lot of wiggle, but both are well above average in the pass game, and that's what makes them so good for the Martz offense. I expect Forte to start all year with Taylor seeing plenty of snaps. For a good look at these two, check out Kev's piece on them from Monday.
Garrett Wolfe and Kahlil Bell are having the real roster battle among the tailbacks. Offensively, Wolfe has never looked too hot in my opinion, but Bell, even though his career is basically that one big run, at least looks like he can run with some authority. We all know how much the Bears value special teams contributions from their backups (as they should), so if it comes down to that, Wolfe is a gimme. I think both have a shot at the final roster if the Bears decide not to carry a true fullback on the roster. The other tailback in camp, rookie Brandon Minor, is a practice squad candidate. And they already made a call on supplemental draft pick Harvey Unga, his devastating injury found him a spot on IR.
Of the two fullbacks battling it out for a spot, I like Will Ta'ufo'ou best. Mostly because I've seen more of him than Eddie Williams. Ta'ufo'ou had a 6-yard reception against the Chargers, but neither did anything that memorable to make a case to stick yet. Depending on how many TE/H-Backs and RBs the Bears carry, they may decide to not even open with a FB on the roster.