Bears Camping Out ’14: Search continues for Forte backup

Bears Camping Out ’14: Search continues for Forte backup
July 15, 2014, 9:30 am
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Bears Insider John ‘Moon’ Mullin’ is getting you ready for Bears Training Camp, with previews of each position leading up to the day the Bears report to Bourbonnais.

Matt Forte has arguably out-performed his new contract of 2012, posting consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the first time in his career and becoming just the third player in NFL history to reach 1,400 yards from scrimmage in each of his first six seasons (Curtis Martin, LaDanian Tomlinson).

While focus was on Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Josh McCown and a record-setting pass offense, Forte delivered a season befitting Walter Payton: 1,339 rushing yards and 74 pass receptions for an additional 594 yards.

His backups have under-performed, however, and the organization has paid dearly for it. The hope this year is that youth can accomplish what waves of capital could not.

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Forte is 28 and said he wants to play another six years on top of the six he already has averaging 20 touches per game, which is one more per game than Adrian Peterson has averaged over his seven seasons. Peterson has shown signs of wear over the past couple of seasons, and the best way to ensure that Forte does not is to provide him with high-level relief.

That is in fact one of the mission statements of Camp ’14.

Offseason adjustments

Under the radar, the organization secured fullback Tony Fiammetta with a two-year extension just before game 16 vs. Green Bay.

The Michael Bush Experience ended the same way those of Kevin Jones, Chester Taylor and Marion Barber did — with the Bears in need of a quality alternative to Forte. They will try a decidedly different — i.e. “younger” — tack this year, investing a fourth-round pick in Ka’Deem Carey out of Arizona and giving another chance to 2013 undrafted free agent Michael Ford.

“I don’t feel any pressure,” Carey said. “I like to have fun, and when I have fun, I play my best. If I get worked up about trying to compete and trying ot show what I got, then I will just show out bad. I want to perform how I know how to perform. I walk around with a smile, and I have fun, and I perform.”

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The Bears also signed former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch and converted him to running back. Signings also included Shaun Draughn and Senorise Perry.

None of the players after Forte is older than 26 (Draughn) and only Draughn has ever carried the football in an NFL game.

Training camp will answer…

…one major question: as with the quarterback position, exactly who is the No. 2 to a franchise talent (Forte), and who among Draughn, Lynch and Perry can do enough on special teams to warrant a roster spot?

“The issue we have is we have a logjam from [No.] 2 to 5, and Jordan is in that logjam, and a lot of that going to be balanced out with special teams and other aspects of it,” coach Marc Trestman said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him in pads and seeing these younger guys play in the games and competing both at the running back position and at the special teams side of it.”