Chicago Sun-Times

Running backs to have increased role

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(This was actually written by Sean Jensen)

On the first day of free agency, the Bears quickly signed running back Chester Taylor to a four-year contract that included $7 million in guarantees.
The Bears talked about a one-two punch at running back, featuring Taylor and Matt Forte.

But the run has largely been an afterthought, and Taylor's opportunities have been limited through seven games.

Bears coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday that his offense needs to run the ball more ("No doubt about that," he said) but also get the two players more involved, in general.
"Just getting the ball into our playmaker's hands, and of course, those are two of them," Smith said.

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz took it one step further, noting he'd like to get them on the field together. Thus far, though, the Bears have only fielded two running backs (not necessarily Forte and Taylor) on a play nine times, according to ESPN Chicago.

"We've got to get them in the game more together," Martz said. "I think that's a neat opportunity for us. We've explored a little bit of that. Those are all things that we look at over the bye week."

Taylor, though, isn't going to get too excited just yet.

"All we can do is wait and see and take their word for it," Taylor said. "We've got to just wait until the game time to see if that's going to really happen."

Taylor's reservations are valid; the Bears run-pass balance has been slanted heavily toward the pass (58 percent to 42 for the run) this season. The numbers are even worse if you subtract quarterback Jay Cutler's 16 run attempts.

Taylor, though, did recognize the value in him and Forte being on the field at the same time.

"We want our best players on the field," he said, "and I believe we could get the defense off guard with that."

During his press conference Wednesday, Cutler said he was all for giving the ball more to his two backs.

"We've got to get those guys the ball," he said. "They're playmakers out there and good things happen when we get the ball to Chester and Matt in open space so it's something we have to do."

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I'm all for this move. More Screen passes and running plays would give Cutler a little breathing room. On the other hand, if all they accomplish is third and out,then back to the drawing bopard.

Let's stop the talk about Martz being an offensive guru. Come to think of it, let's stop Martz from all of his "happy" talk.

If it has taken him half the season to conclude that Chester Taylor has some offensive skills, maybe Martz is just plain stupid or so pigheaded that he can't see the forest for the trees.

So if both of them are on the field, who sits? Hester? That would be good. Olsen? That would be bad. One of our o-linemen (eg a tackle)? That might be very, very good!

Either way, if we overwhelm Buffalo with Martz' newest ploys, where exactly does it get us? Everyone else has overwhelmed Buffalo. I think the big issue is if Martz does make changes and the Bears barely beat the Bills in another ugly game in which the defense or special teams scores as much as our juggernaut of an offense (you know, the one with the "Guru" calling the plays).

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on October 28, 2010 8:10 AM.

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