We're back again for another rousing game! Strike up the Polka Record, cause the running backs are ready! Matt Forte will be bowing out early. He was back to '08 form as one of the best receiving backs and blocking backs in the league. And he finally showed up in the running game. As Lester noted in his Roster Turnover: Running Back post, Forte ranked dead last in an injury ridden '09 among running backs. But what Lester didn't note was that Matt ranked second to last in '08 as a rusher according to ProFootballFocus. It was his receiving and blocking that shot his overall ranking to 12th. This year Forte was a much better rusher and behind a much worst line, and for my money he's the offensive MVP for the Bears this year and Team Co-MVP with Julius Peppers. So 22 gets a bye. Everyone else, get ready to fight for a seat. Here we go!
Chester Taylor: Ugh.....I know, Chester was running behind a horrible line. He also looked horrible himself, though. Full disclosure mode:I was completely behind signing Chester this past offseason. I was WRONG! OMG, was I wrong! Lester defended him a bit in his post, but I will not. I think Chet has crossed over into "over-the-hill" status. It wasn't just an inability to break tackles, and he didn't look bad on every play. But he looked bad frequently enough to justify cutting him lose, even with the bulk of his salary already paid. His receiving ability is still there, but we have Forte for that. His blocking wasn't horrid, but again, it wasn't Forte-like, either. Let's face it, the Bears gave Taylor $7M last season to become the first running back since the merger to average less than 2.4 yards per carry with more than 100 rushing attempts. The Bears line was bad, but that is inexcusable. Honestly, I think it's a very good possibility that Taylor makes the final roster next season, but it will be very hard to argue that this is anything more than the staff having problems admitting mistakes. It would be very hard to convince me that Garrett Wolfe of Kahlil Bell wouldn't have gotten more than 2.38 yards per carry if they had been given the ball instead. Chester Taylor might have a rocking chair, but he has no seat.
Kahlil Bell: One of the biggest regrets I have about Chester Taylor is that, because he took all of the carries Forte didn't get (minus a couple in mop up duty against the Vikings), we will have another offseason of discussions about Garrett Wolfe and Kahlil Bell. And there will be no new information about either to go on. Bell is a slow, plodding RB who has done very little (not by any fault of his own) in Chicago, but who has a following because he managed to run 72 yards untouched once and had a couple of nice runs where he carried defenders with his heart. I'm not a fan, myself, but I can see the appeal. I see him as a slower Adrian Peterson (former Bear, not current Viking) and I would have liked to see him get some of those short yardage carries that Forte and Taylor handled so poorly (though I was personally calling for former University of Texas RB and current Bears DT Henry Melton, at the time). It would have been nice to gage him in those situations. Unfortunately that didn't happen. So here we are wondering what to do with him. I don't see his chances of making the final roster as being good. The Bears used a supplimentary pick on Harvey Unga last season, and he is a faster more well rounded version of Bell. Because of Unga, I don't believe that Bell has a seat.
Garrett Wolfe: Mighty Mite had another invisible year. He took 4 carries for 8 yards against the Vikings, and that was it. He is still a valuable ST player, but honestly, I doubt that will be enough to keep him on the roster this year. One of the best college RBs ever, Wolfe just hasn't translated to the NFL, mostly due to his diminutive size and inability to block due to said stature. DaHamsta is going to kill me, but i don't see the Bears re-signing Wolfe. Garrett has no seat.
Harvey Unga: Unga spent 2010 on IR, and the Bears missed him in short yardage situations. Harvey is a big-bodied back who is surprisingly agile and quick for his size. The Bears spent a 2011 draft pick on him, and it was the one that they needed to fix the offensive line, so that's a pretty big investment. In all seriousness, Unga displayed the skills in college that the Bears sorely need from a complimentary back to Forte, and if his skills translate to the next level, then the Bears will be set in the backfield for a long time. I don't see Smith and Co passing up an opportunity to finally be able to get off the bus and run for 2 yards when we need a yard. Unga has a seat.
Eddie Williams: Surprise, the Bears actually have the H-Back they were trying to turn Manumalecan'tblock into this season. Williams was technically a tight end at Idaho, but was really more of an H-Back. He played from the fullback position and occasionally even rushed (19 times for 195 yards). But his real worth was his ability to block and as a receiver. Williams may turn out to be a smarter pickup than many realize. With Manumaleuna pretty much flopping like a manatee out of water this season, Williams could end up being a better alternative, and on the cheap. He was projected as an H-Back before the 2009 draft. To be honest, I see the Bears giving this kid a chance. It can't hurt that he spent time learning from Mike Sellers, either. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Eddie has a seat.
And there are your losers, folks. Chester Taylor, Kahlil Bell and the ever popular Garrett Wolfe (I'm sorry, DaHamsta)! Join us next time as we mix it up a bit. Instead of trying to find a seat, we'll force the receiving corps to hold onto their seats without dropping them. Goodnight Everybody!