Pressure Point: Can Forte turn it up?
- Kyle Terada/US PresswireCan Matt Forte carry the Bears' running game in the midst of Mike Martz's pass-happy attack?
Everyone is assuming that the pressure will be firmly on Jay Cutler in Chicago's offense. While that is true, Matt Forte deserves to be under the microscope as well. Yes, this figures to be a prominent passing offense, but Forte is at a critical crossroads of his young career, and no matter how much Mike Martz wants to throw, the facts are that playing in the elements of Chicago lends itself to having the need for some sort of ground attack.
Blame it on the line
Bears fans are making a huge mistake when they target RB Matt Forte as underperforming. A close analysis of Forte's performance shows the blame should fall on a poor performance from the offensive line. KC Joyner
Forte played much of last year with hamstring and knee injuries. But even at his best over his two-year career, this isn't a running back who overwhelms you with his physical ability. He does everything well but isn't exceptional in any area. He lacks a wow factor to his running style and is not creative. He needs to be a volume runner and needs his surroundings to be strong for him to succeed.
As a receiver, Forte should endear himself to Martz quickly, but it still could be argued as to who is the better back in this capacity between Forte and Chester Taylor. Both are effective receivers, but neither is a Marshall Faulk or Reggie Bush type of weapon, either. Not to take anything away from his receiving ability, but Forte isn't going to run a full complement of wide receiver-type routes. He isn't going to simply run past a cover man on a go route. Can Forte detach from the formation and consistently beat linebacker coverage over the top? Probably not, but he is sure-handed and certainly can be effective as a dump-off option and on designed routes out of the backfield. As a pass-catcher, I see someone who is effective, but not dynamic.
Scouts Inc. Pressure Point
• Forte must turn up volume
• Chargers counting on Floyd
• Cassel must improve
• Peterson must get a grip
• Is Flacco Super Bowl ready?
• Garrard facing crucial season
• Abraham vital to Falcons
• Rams' Jackson worth preserving
• Can Packers' Harris return to form?
• Orton in no-win situation
• AFC West underachievers
• Time is now for Smith
• Jacobs slowing down
• Moss must raise level of play
• Onus still on Cutler in Chicago
Does that really separate what Forte offers from what Taylor can do on the field? To me, that difference is minimal. Plus, Taylor is the player who was handpicked by Martz.
Forte has only two 100-yard games in his past 21, and both were against the Lions. He has yet to even average four yards per carry for a season. While the offensive line deserves blame too, Forte was a terrible short-yardage ball carrier last season. He also had a real fumbling problem in 2009.
The offensive line looks to be improved this year, and it will be more difficult to dedicate defenders near the line of scrimmage against this heavy passing attack. And surely Forte will begin the season with better health than last year. But in the end, I just really have my doubts about Forte being a real difference-maker.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Reports: Saints to release Sproles if no trade
- Judge says Sharper can't be held indefinitely
- Saints release veteran receiver Moore
- Report: Suh picks Sexton as his new agent
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
2010 NFL TRAINING CAMPS
Follow ESPN's NFL coverage on Twitter
NFL BLOG NETWORK
CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: NFC
CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: AFC
ESPN LOCAL COVERAGE
- Photo File Chicago Bears Matt Forte Framed Photo
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- Free-Agent Tracker