A season ago, the Chicago Bears got 2,064 yards from scrimmage from their stable of running backs, but their most versatile back is now wearing the Honolulu Blue of the division rival Detroit Lions. With David Montgomery off to Motown, the Bears signed 26-year-old D'onta Foreman coming off a career-best 940 yards from scrimmage.
The big difference between Montgomery's and Forman's play is D-Mo had 34 receptions for 316 yards, while D'Onta caught five for 26.
Foreman, while a good pass blocker, hasn't been asked to be an integral part of the passing game in any of his previous three stops, but it's an opportunity he relishes in Chicago.
"And also, what people don't give me credit for because I haven't been able to show it a lot with the teams I've been on is how well I can catch the ball and what I can do in the backfield as far as being a receiver," Foreman said in a recent interview with CHGO. "That's something that I really want to showcase. I'm looking forward to it, man. Being here, if I get that opportunity, it'll take my game to a different level."
The USA Today’s Doug Farrar ran some numbers for Foreman last year that paint an interesting picture of his effectiveness.
Comparing D’Onta Foreman and Nick Chubb, Weeks 7-18.
Foreman: 191 carries for 876 yards, five touchdowns, 32 missed tackles forced, 12 carries of 15 or more yards.
Chubb: 192 carries for 876 yards, five touchdowns, 41 missed tackles forced, 12 carries of 15 or more yards.
His 2022 season proved he could run at the same level as the best backs in the NFL, so if Chicago can unlock his receiving skills, the Bears may have a steal at just $3 million for 2023.
#Bears fans are going to like new RB D'Onta Foreman -- he's a one-cut RB w/ speed to stretch defenses outside the tackles and size to batter ILBs on inside-hitters.— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) March 21, 2023
He reads his blocks well and has the burst to get away from tacklers in the backfield. Awesome value signing pic.twitter.com/7yTqZZIAwp
Contributing in the passing game is something the returning Khalil Herbert hasn't done much of either. In 2022 he had nine catches for 57 yards, and his struggles as a pass blocker could be a reason he wasn't on the field as much on passing downs. It's also likely why he didn't simply slide into the RB1 role with Montgomery's departure.
Foreman (6', 235 pounds) and Herbert (5'9", 212) should be in line for the bulk of the carries with the Bears, and that's a good thing because this tandem was among the league leaders in rushing yards over expected.
D'Onta Foreman gained more rushing yards than expected on 49.0% of his carries last season, the 2nd-highest rate among running backs (min. 100 carries).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 17, 2023
Foreman joins a backfield with Khalil Herbert, who gained more yards than expected on 46.9% of his carries (4th among RB). pic.twitter.com/5MVFHqSwVT
Herbert may never be a plus pass blocker, but even minimal improvement in this aspect could increase his playing time, and with his big play potential, that's a good thing.
But there's a third tailback that could be looking for playing time, and while his signing could be looked at as a way to bolster the special teams, he's also ready to step in and show there's more to his game. Travis Homer (5'10", 202) didn't get a lot of offensive playing time with the Seahawks, but head coach Pete Carroll trusted him in one respect.
Homer is an accomplished pass blocker and an underrated receiver with 32 receptions and 318 yards in the last two seasons while playing just 346 snaps on offense. Much of his playing time came in the two-minute drill and in obvious passing situations.
The 24-year-old may carve out a role as Chicago's third-down back, and in case you didn't know, he was compared to Austin Ekeler when he was coming out of Miami in 2019. That may seem like an unrealistic comparison now, but in 2018 Ekeler wasn't considered one of the most prolific pass-catching backs in the league yet.
Chicago also has second-year pro Trestan Ebner and fullback Khari Blasingame on the roster, but that won't stop them from adding another running back if there's one high on their board in the draft or if there's one they like as an undrafted free agent.
What are you expecting from Chicago's stable of running backs in 2023?