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Looking Back: Backup Running Back Signings

Do I want to know what Bush is looking at?
Do I want to know what Bush is looking at?

With the addition of Michael Bush, the Bears get a valuable and experienced backup to spell Matt Forte. And as Dave Gilbert discussed earlier in the week, Bush's forte as a big, brutal short-yardage bowling ball should come in handy for a Bears' team that has struggled in short-yardage situations in the past, not to mention the fact that overall he is a talented running back that has previously performed well when called upon with the Raiders. If the Bears bringing in a touted backup for Forte sounds familiar, its because we've done it the previous two years with Marion Barber and Chester Taylor. What was the reaction to those signings? Time to look back at comments on the last two failed free agent additions.

Since Matt Forte joined the Bears - spelling the end of the Cedric Benson era - the second leading rusher on the team has changed every year. From Kevin Jones' 109 yards in 2008, Kalil Bell's 220 yards in 2009, Chester Taylor's 267 yards (and 2.4 ypc average) in 2010, to last year's 422 yards from the Barber. Hopefully the Bush signing works out better than the other attempts to fill the backup running back position, which is more crucial to the Bears with the struggles in goal line situations and with Forte coming off of an injury. First up on the look back: the signing of Chester Taylor, whom the team paid seven million dollars in year one of his four year deal.

As can be expected, there was a lot of rejoicing at the time, with Taylor coming from the hated mildly disliked (due to on the field averageness) Vikings after having four straight seasons of 700+ combined yards (rushing and receiving).

MidWayMonster54 kicked it off with a


While Sam Householder was just happy that Kevin Jones could rejoin the Lions.

All right. Not as excited as I would be about a safety, but still good. Kevin Jones is gone.

bears rock took some liberty with the use of the word "better."

Now we have 2 of the better,all around backs in the league.

rdent4hof read some tea leaves on what the Taylor signing meant.

I really believe this is a testament To how much Virginia likes/wants Lovie to succeed.

And LoveForTheGame went a bit over the top:


lookingdeadred liked the move for Martzfense:

A good get. CTaylor should be a good fit in Martz’s offense

While Shuffle85 actually closed the comments section down with perfect question:

I have noting against the guy, and live in St. Paul MN so have watched him lpay. He’s a solid back and a hardworker. Kind of reminds me of Thomas Jones. But he will be 31 next September. The statistics on RB’s over 30 are pretty dreadful. Is he going to drop off?

And now we move onto the Barber signing, which was a direct response to the failed Taylor move from the previous year. The Barber signing didn't have its own post but was tucked into the Free Agency Thread discussing him, Amobi Okoye, and other possible Bears' moves.

Shuggs was not impressed, but was only a year off from his prediction:

Do not like the Marion the Barbarian move. He is done.

The signing did prompt a dedicated discussion of power versus speed backs and who is more injury prone. Which I don't care about except that it left us with this from SuperBowlXX:

Jarome bettus (that's Jerome Bettis, if you're playing at home)

Nih1lus exposes the Jerry Angelo free agency strategy:

don’t understand the barber signing either. if angelo just throwing darts at a huge FA board?

And Dr. Handsome, D.D.S. provided this brilliant nugget out of nowhere:

In short, I do not want Chris Williams touching my balls.

YaoPau had a good explanation for the Barber signing (which still wasn't a disaster, IMO):

Chester Taylor was 31 last year, we knew that was a risky deal.

Obviously Barber runs hard. But he just turned 28, he’s always split carries in the NFL (he only has about 100 more career carries than Chris Johnson), and he even split carries with Maroney in college. I love that the Bears finally got a RB who at least has a short yardage resume.

Schweickert can't avoid throwing a Cubs' comment in there:

If Unga and Barber both make the roster, that's a Forte and two power backs. This sounds like Jim Hendry saying "We need to get more lefthanded."

"Hello, my name is Brendan Hess. Powerful men with bullish nicknames excite me."

Barber excites me. As a replacement to Chester Taylor, that is a fantastic move. Taylor was a sub-3 yard per carry back in his 30s last year. This is an upgrade like Spaeth is an upgrade to the recently released Dugong.

Oh, and Brendan broke down the "upgrades" we had that offseason. Not the greatest list of moves, but definitely had some solid improvements. My comments in parentheses.

Spaeth vs. Big M. (BIG upgrade!)
Barber vs. Taylor -remember our short yardage doom (Much better)
Hurd vs. Davis (Oh yea... wait, he sold what to who?)
Williams vs….. D.A.? Iglesias? (Honestly, that was still an upgrade)
Gholston vs….Oh yeah, we didn’t have a viable 4th End on the roster (Um... lets move on)
Okoye vs. Harrison (That move saved thousands in food costs)
Carimi vs. Shaffer (Better despite one working leg)
Paea vs. Harris (No more weak sauce)
Podlesh vs. Maynard (Really surprised how big an upgrade that was)

Retention of Roach, Graham who I was sure was gone, and Adams… (all solid moves, but 2 are gone a year later)

And Pete Dixon tried to counter... and failed.

I can't argue with this. I mean, I want to, but I can’t.

And we discussed the tenets of American society:

David Taylor: Truth

Just Dave: Justice

Just Dave: And

frenchbears113: SANDWICHES!!!

ed_brown: you guys are killn' me

Just because we need a reminder, suckmyditka sums up Braylon Edwards perfectly:

Edwards is teh SUCK

And we'll close with what has become the easiest joke in the world: the Bears' offensive line. The setup:

YaoPaul: They could go all young guys... (lists our terrible projected starting line)

And the responses:

speranz1: that would be fun for no one

jameslcrockett: Opposing Defensive Coordinators?

Steven Schweickert: Let me know when I can send the police for attempted murder of a quarterback.