Monday, August 3, 2015, 9:26am
It’s refreshing to hear that Chicago Bears veteran tailback Matt Forte took time over the summer to train with rookie fourth-round pick Jeremy Langford; the player many believe could eventually replace Forte in Chicago’s starting lineup if the two-time Pro Bowler is unable to come to terms on a new contract after the season.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Langford said. “I had heard a lot of different things about veteran running backs. But Forte is a good guy and I think he never really thought about that aspect because he’s a hard worker so you’re not going to just push me off to the side because we’re all here to win. I feel like that’s the mindset we have right now, is we want to win and we need the whole team to do that.”
“We trained together and I showed him my routine and how I kind of do it, which is really smart of him to get behind and older, veteran guy and try to learn the routine of what he does in the offseason,” Forte said. “We worked out for a couple of weeks and he’s a down-to-earth, humble type of kid. All the running backs pretty much have that same kind of mentality too.”
Forte, 29, said he wanted to impart some wisdom on the rookie out of Michigan State. Forte is a good role model for Langford. In seven NFL seasons, Forte has missed only five games due to injury, despite carrying the football 1,817 times and catching 443 passes. Forte drops a bit this year with the loss of Marc Trestman, even in PPR leagues. Langford could have more of a role now that John Fox is running the show. Still, Forte is eighth on our list in both formats.
Coach John Fox has made it clear he wants the Bears’ offense to become a more run-centric attack and will guide new offensive coordinator Adam Gase accordingly. So that means Matt Forte should see a spike in his 16.3-carries per game average from last season. Forte also takes only so much pride in the 102 catches he had last season, a single-season NFL record for a running back, but also a milestone he understands he achieved because of how constipated the Bears offense was.
“Catching 100 balls,” Forte said, “is not my goal as a running back.”
Said Forte: “If you’re running the ball and you can run it effectively you get to control the clock and keep other offenses off the field. Which is what we want to do. If we can control the game, control the pace of the game, and grind out tough yards and score, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
We currently project Forte for 16.2 carries per game, or 260 for the season. We're not so sure that the Bears will have the luxury of running the ball as much as they'd like. We do expect Forte's receptions to drop -- we currently project him for around 56-57 catches, which is much closer to his career average of 53.4 (in offenses run by someone other than Marc Trestman). New OC Adam Gase utilized C.J. Anderson at a 60-catch pace over the final eight games of last season.
Bears RB Matt Forte, 29, played 90 percent of Chicago’s offensive snaps last year, when he broke the NFL single-season mark for receptions by a running back with 102.
Forte’s workload may decrease under head coach John Fox, who historically uses multiple backs on game day. But even if he’s given a slightly reduced role; Forte remains a dangerous all-purpose tailback, topping the NFL in yards from scrimmage since 2008. Forte will use his impending free agency as motivation. The veteran tailback wants a new contract, and the only way to achieve that goal is to have a productive and injury-free season.
The Bears raved about Jeremy Langford’s breakaway speed after drafting him in the fourth round. Langford is the future. He is expected to be active on game days and be part of Fox’s running back-by-committee approach.
Fox's history of using multiple RBs doesn't necessarily bode well for Forte owners, but we still rank him seventh in standard leagues and project him to be among the leaders in RBs with receptions, which will help owners in PPR leagues. As long as he stays healthy, Forte should at least get a majority of the work given his talent and experience. The way the author talked about Langford, though, it's possible he's going to have some kind of role that will utilize his speed.
Matt Forte averaged only 7.9 yards per reception last season because he was needed far too often as a check-down safety valve for quarterback Jay Cutler. New Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase likely will expand Forte's receiving responsibilities, using the running back's ability to spread out wide while also featuring his crisp route running and reliable hands.
On the ground, Forte will need more help from his offensive line to better the 3.9 yards-per-carry average he had in 2014. And while his desire for a contract extension has gone ungranted, Forte has handled that personal disappointment with perspective, not letting it diminish his focus or dedication. His professionalism and work ethic should remain terrific examples for the younger backs on the roster.
This won't lead to more receptions than the 102 balls he caught last season under departed OC Marc Trestman, but it should be noted that Gase isn't afraid to use his running backs in the passing game. Bronco running backs accounted for 160 receptions over the past two seasons, so a 60-catch season for Forte is certainly within reach.
ESPN's Mike Sando:
Eddie Royal's resurgence over the past two seasons and his early grasp of the Bears' new offense has him in great position to play a prominent role right away. The staff seemed excited about him when I visited Bears camp earlier in the offseason. Royal has 10 red zone touchdowns over the past two seasons, tied for ninth in the league among wide receivers.
Royal could continue to be a headache for fantasy owners. He's production tends to be spotty and comes in bunches, which makes it difficult to know when to use him. There's also the possibility that he draws targets away from Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Martellus Bennett and/or Matt Forte.
There's a chance that Justin Forsett's reception total of 44 last season could possibly double this season. At last week's organized team activity, Forsett was catching a handful of screen passes. On Wednesday, he was pulling in passes over the middle and in the flats.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said there has never been any talk of whether running backs will get increased chances as receivers and indicated that they've always been involved in the passing game whether it's checkdowns or play-action passes. "That will be a part of what we're doing," Harbaugh said. "It'll be a big part of it."
One of the mainstays of Marc Trestman's offense is getting the ball to his running backs in space. There have been seven instances where a running back has caught at least 69 passes in a season under Trestman: San Francisco's Derek Loville, Arizona's Larry Centers and Michael Pittman, Oakland's Charlie Garner (twice) and Chicago's Matt Forte (twice). In Trestman's two seasons in Chicago, Forte caught a total of 176 passes, which were 48 more than any other running back in the NFL.
"I'm excited about that -- being used more, going out wide or catching passes out of the backfield," Forsett said. "With Coach Trestman coming in, a lot of backs have had a lot of passes. Even in OTAs, I've been catching a lot of balls, so I make sure I am sharp on my routes and ready to be used that way as well."
This goes along with what we've been saying since the team hired Trestman -- Forsett is going to be very, very productive in PPR formats.
Forsett should see his PPR upside increase due to new OC Marc Trestman's tendency to use his running backs in the passing game. Under Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. However, the loss of OC Gary Kubiak is likely to hurt the Ravens’ running game. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he’ll likely hold more value in PPR formats than in standard formats in 2015.
A two-time Pro Bowl pick, he says he will report to training camp on time despite the team's refusal to extend his deal. Forte is entering the final season of a four-year contract he signed in 2012.
Forte has finished in the top 4 in both PPR and standard formats in the last two years, but his usage (especially in the passing game) was up under former OC Marc Trestman. He’s likely to see a drop in targets, but should still be good for 50-60 catches under new OC Adam Gase. Provided that the holdout doesn’t continue into the summer, Forte should deliver on his mid- to late-1st round ADP.
David Johnson, a third-round pick out of Northern Iowa, ranked 15th in FCS in 2014, posting 1,553 rushing yards while finding the end zone 17 times. He is expected to make a big contribution to the Cardinals offense this season, according to his position coach, Stump Mitchell.
"He's a guy who has a lot of confidence in his ability to play," Mitchell told Doug and Wolf Thursday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's coachable. He's a smart young man, he's physical. He's going to make Andre (Ellington) pick up his game when given the opportunity.
"He has excellent hands and he's a bigger target to throw the ball to. He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle before this season is said and done."
Mitchell gushed about Johnson's physicality, citing his ability to run over people as well as run around them. He also conjured a comparison to one of the NFL's most productive backs over the last five years.
"He reminds me a lot of (Chicago RB) Matt Forte," Mitchell said. "You can put him outside and use him as a receiver and he's a good runner."
The Cardinals have been trying to add a bigger back to complement Andre Ellington, and Johnson fits the bill. He does a lot of the same things as Ellington, so for now we're expecting that he'll serve in a backup capacity, but Mitchell sounds as if Johnson will play a larger role than a typical backup. We currently project him for around 147 touches.
Coach John Fox said during the ceremony that Forte, who is looking for a contract extension, was not at Halas Hall. The Bears’ first minicamp practice is Tuesday afternoon. Forte also has missed the Bears’ voluntary workouts this month.
Forte has finished in the top 4 in both PPR and standard formats in the last two years, but his usage (especially in the passing game) was up under former OC Marc Trestman. He’s likely to see a drop in targets, but should still be good for 50-60 catches under new OC Adam Gase. Provided that his holdout doesn’t continue into the summer, Forte should deliver on his mid- to late-1st round ADP.
Forsett should see his PPR upside increase due to new OC Marc Trestman's tendency to use his running backs in the passing game. Under Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. However, the loss of OC Gary Kubiak is likely to hurt the Ravens’ running game. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he continues as the lead back in Baltimore.
If they can bring back Justin Forsett, the Ravens are expected to pair him with a young running back. They met with Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), David Johnson (Northern Iowa) and Duke Johnson (Miami) at the NFL scouting combine.
"He doesn’t have the wear and tear, and Justin did a very good job of coming in, competing and then being our bell cow," GM Ozzie Newsome said. "We would like to retain Justin, but I’ve learned something since the end of the season about Justin that I didn’t really know. He has mentored some very good, young backs, starting with Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew when he was in Jacksonville.
"Having Justin here, and with the opportunity also bringing in hopefully another young running back, to have Justin be around that guy would be an asset also. So, we will work to try to retain Justin.”
Under OC Marc Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore. If the Ravens draft a running back early, it would certainly damper Forsett's outlook in 2015.
The first order of business will be to re-sign Forsett, who should see his PPR upside increase due to Trestman's tendency to use his running backs in the passing game. Under Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore.
Just minutes after news first broke that the Bears have fired General Manager Phil Emery, news also broke that head coach Marc Trestman was fired. Jay Glazer of FOX Sports first broke the Trestman news.
Now the Bears will attempt to pick up the pieces, with a new coach and a new general manager inheriting the mess that Emery and Trestman have left behind.
Trestman was a surprising, outside-the-box choice as the Bears’ head coach, coming as he did from the Canadian Football League. But in his first season as the head coach of the Bears, he showed a lot of promise as an offensive innovator. Unfortunately, Trestman’s second season was a disaster, as the Bears appeared to quit on the season, the story pointed out. One positive out of Trestman's time was re-establishing RB Matt Forte in the passing game, something previous HC Lovie Smith got away from. Forte broke the record for RB receptions in a season with 102 this year, one better than Larry Centers' mark of 101 set back in 1995.
Enough is finally enough for the Chicago Bears.
After weeks of offensive futility, the team has benched starting quarterback Jay Cutler in favor of backup Jimmy Clausen prior to Sunday's contest against the Detroit Lions, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to two sources informed of the situation.
Cutler owners who are still alive are going to have to find another option this week, and Clausen isn't an attractive start. He has a career 5.2 YPA and it's a difficult matchup against the Lions. It's a downgrade for the entire offense, including Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. On the flip side, the Lions defense is still a very strong play in Week 16.
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