Chicago Sun-Times

Forte (quietly) underrated

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Sorry for the delay in posting new material folks, but never before in all my years covering the league have things been so quiet. Usually, late June and early July are the quietest. That's when rosters are set and everybody heads off on vacation before training camp. This entire offseason has been eerily quiet because of the lockout.

Players you would normally talk to are keeping quiet because they may not be as up on all the labor issues as they should be and they don't want to expose themselves. Then there's the fact that with no free agency, there have been fewer things to ask them about.

"The media is getting desperate to write about anything," Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said last week at a free health screening for students and their parents in downtown Chicago.

That's because people like you are still hungry for news, prompting all sorts of charts and lists being produced by football writers. senior analyst Pat Kirwan (via offers the latest example when he breaks down the most underrated players in the league and ranks Bears' running back Matt Forte, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora and Redskins receiver Santana Moss among them.

Here's what Kirwan wrote about Forte:

"Forte is an all-around back who lives in the shadows of greats like Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Michael Turner. To appreciate Forte, you really have to look at the total yardage picture and not just the rushing totals. Over the past three years, Forte has gained 4,731 total yards with 25 touchdowns. Steven Jackson has 4,783 yards and 18 touchdowns over the same period of time. Turner has 4,102 yards and 39 scores. Jamaal Charles has 3,981 yards and 17 TDs. Darren McFadden only has 3,050 yards and 15 touchdowns.

"Point being, Forte is every bit the weapon other backs are around the league. However, for some reason, he isn't on the tip of anyone's tongue when the great runners are discussed."

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Neil dont worry I was in charge wile you were gone.

Forte is ok but Angelo drafted him as a rb not a wr and he still cant block for s###. Give me AP or Chris Johnson over Fort e any day.

But fellas if we can step away from football fro a moment. I want to give my thankss to governor Quinn and the state of Illionis for finally making civil unions legal. It was should never have taekn so long but in the end they did what was right. I was so happy I actually did cry a bit yesterday no shame in admiting that. I just think its about time people like us could enjoy our God given rights.

I think Matt Forte lives in the shadows of players like Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and Michael Turner because he doesn't put up the rushing stats like they do, and at the end of the day, how many yards you rush for is the stat running back's are judged by. But, with that being said, Matt Forte came into his own running the ball from weeks 11-17 last season. In 5 of the final 7 contest of 2010, Matt Forte put up 90 or more yards rushing, week 11- 97 yds, week 12- 117 yds, week 15- 92 yds, week 16- 113 yds, and week 17- 91 yds. If Forte can carry these kind of rushing totals into 2011, he'll become one of the leagues elite.

Football insiders like Pat Kirwan realize total yards from scrimmage may be the stat to look at when it comes to talking about who are the leagues more effective backs. Forte's ability to put up receiving yards along with solid rushing totals make him a great weapon for the Bears, like I said above, if the guy can put up rushing totals like he did during the second half of last season, he'll be among the leagues elite.

When it comes to arguing about who was the greatest running back in league history, I always say Walter Payton hands down. And how do I win a lot of arguments about who is really the leagues all-time best yards from scrimmage. Walter Payton put up 2000 plus total yards from scrimmage 4 times in his career, 1977-2121 total yds, 1983-2028 total yds, 1984-2052 total yds, and 1985-2034 total yds. Payton came close to putting up 2000 a 5th time in 1979, he had 1923 total yds. Of all the great backs in league history, only Marshall Faulk came close, he went over 2000 plus from 1998-2001, but Faulk didn't put up the rushing totals of Payton. And think of the numbers Payton could of put up playing with the players Faulk did? And if you take Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, and Emmitt Smith, runners who a lot of people say were as good or better than Payton running the ball wise, all 3 of these guys only went over 2000 plus total yds from scrimmage once or twice, Barry Sanders did in 1994 and 1997, Emmitt did in 1992 and 1995, and Jim Brown only did once in 1963. Payton was simply the best running back the league has ever seen because no other back was the complete package quite like Sweetness GO BEARS!!

Neil you can't post new material when there isn't any. I think an angle that has been discussed, but could be explored is the stakes in this labor battle. The money they are arguing over is essentially our money. That money is not in a bank somewhere, it's money that is anticipated by all that we tha fans will be spend to follow NFL football in some way.

Both sides assume that the fan base will have some short term anger over this nonsense, but will return fairly quickly and continue to spend even more money on professional football. Both sides are giving the issue lip service comments, but is there real fear there? I wonder?

I think there should be fear. In this day and age people's attention span is pretty short. Football junkies like the ones on this blog will probably always be around, but I still remember the last big baseball strike. It has taken years for baseball to recover their fan base. You can make the case that they had to resort to steroids to find new young fans to replace the old ones. I personnally know several people who were fans that never really came back.

If pro football is not around, Americans will find something else to do with their time. What percentage will enjoy that new activity enough that they prefer it?

I also appreciate that sports journalists are not just bystanders in this issue. It seems like this is a story line with some of Jerry Angelo's low hanging fruit.

Well Creighton lets be honest a couple backs that got drafted after Forte look better than him. Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice, hell Rice is a better runner and reciever. Both are Pro Bowlers and All Pro's. Both are duel threat backs.

The Bears made a good pick but not a great pick, oh and Chris Johnson is a much better back than Forte.

Enjoy your life Partner Creighton, is his name Lefty or Righty Bran... I mean Creighton.

Well Creighton lets be honest a couple backs that got drafted after Forte look better than him. Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice, hell Rice is a better runner and reciever. Both are Pro Bowlers and All Pro's. Both are duel threat backs.

The Bears made a good pick but not a great pick, oh and Chris Johnson is a much better back than Forte.

Enjoy your life Partner Creighton, is his name Lefty or Righty Bran... I mean Creighton.

I stand by my word that obviously Matt Forte is the best drafted Chicago Bears running back since Neil Anderson.
Kevin, in the time, went into a warped zone that was filled with Bears history...Dont forget about Sayers.
Matt Forte has yet to miss a game and it looked as if Forte was getting Quicker, faster and aggressive to the hole in the past couple of years.
At the ripe age of 25 Forte has a solid 3-5 years left in him.Do I see him as a Hall of Famer, NO. WHo knows maybe Forte ends up being the most solid and proven running back in 2008. Forte has alot to complte with from that 2008 draft class but if he just keeps up the numbers and hitting the field 16 games a years, he could be the best back drafted in 2008.


I have been saying the same thing for years. On the radio, to people i debate with, and on here. But for Walter you have to go deeper than the stats. Some of the things with regard to Payton are just staggering. If the average "life span" of an NFL player is roughly 4 years, then Walter played 2 whole "life spans" before having a pro bowl offensive lineman {Covert in 83}. He played 7 years before having anything close to a viable NFL QB {McMahon in 82} and for most of his career, his WR's couldn't command any type of deep double coverage so therefore he played against 8 and 9 man fronts more than any other RB in history. He also "missed" 12 games due to work stoppage {82 & 87}. Take his averages and multiply them by another 12 games. And you look at how many games throughout his early and mid career the Bears were trying to come from behind where the running game is put on the back burner. Only 2X in his first 8 years were the Bears over .500. And 2 other years they were at .500. Whereas Emmitt Smith was closing out many games by pounding the ball behind that huge, very talented OL by his 3rd year. So many things Walter had no control over. Was he as fast as Dorsett? No...but you know what? Think about how many times he got pulled down from behind?...not many. Was he as shifty as Sayers or Sanders? No, but who is? But Walter wasn't as stiff as an oak tree either. He could Juke you out of your shoes {or his own, which he did on}.

I wasn't born when JFK got shot. My "JFK" moment was on 80/94 at the 394 exchange {before the massive construction project} when George Offman came on and announced that WP had died. As great as he was, it is truly a shame that the Bears wallowed in mediocrity for so many years while he was a Bear. He could have put up numbers that might never been reached.

Thanks for the memories. It's about all we have right now. What a boring A## time.

Gearheadboy, couldn't have put it better myself.

Brando, I love Gale Sayers as much as the next Bear fan, but Payton was better.

As far as the 2008 draft, the bottom line here is its gonna go down as the running back draft, much like 1983 was the Quarterback draft and 1996 was the receiver draft. Look at the backs that came out of that draft, you got Darren McFadden who was selected at #4 overall, Jonathan Stewart #13, Rashard Mendenhall #23, Chris Johnson #24, Matt Forte #44, Ray Rice #55, and Jamaal Charles at #73 overall. All these guys are gonna make their mark in the league. I think the real sleeper of the 2008 draft as far as running backs was Jamaal Charles, the guy has already put up back to back 1000 yard seasons, but what really sticks out is the fact he put up 1,467 yards last season, oh yeah, with a 6.4 yard average! Thats simply elite, the guy is a game breaker and one to keep an eye on the next couple seasons GO BEARS!!

Yeah your word, hahaha that may be the funniest thing you have ever said. Your word on this board holds about as much water as a box of rocks.

You are right he is best back since Anderson, way better than all those other great running backs they drafted. By the way, last I checked, you were a huge Cedric Benson guy. You couldn't shut up about that guy for years, until someone shut you up, gosh who was that guy?

Great comment though, hey I got one, Earl Bennett is the best Bear reciever since Marty Booker, wow what achievment.

UPDATED: Benson makes statement
By Brad Biggs on September 26, 2008 10:01 AM| 5 Comments| No TrackBacks

Brando | September 26, 2008 12:11 PM | Reply
Who cares

Quick thoughts following Day 2
By Brad Biggs on April 28, 2008 12:28 AM| 21 Comments| No TrackBacks

Brando | April 29, 2008 8:05 PM | Reply
What I can rate is the possition need and where they drafted that possition. The most pressing need was LT and they addresed that possition. We all know that Ced Benson isnt going to be the player he was projected to be, AP is good for 15 snaps and Wolfe seems to be a situational back. I would say a running back in the second round was a smart pick.

I hate it when people(Creighton) lies to make other people look bad or give a different impression on a person.
Those are the only two comments that I could find that I said anything about Benson.

I agree that Matt Forte is underrated. However, props to Chester Taylor for absorbing all of the crushing hits in the backfield. His willingness to repeatedly attack stacked defenses with an underwhelming offensive line...I'm amazed he average 2.4 ypg. Chester Taylor was Martz's sacrifice to the Gods of Chicago Running Football.

I don't think that Carimi is going to solve the problem alone. Give Chris Williams one more chance to win the LT position. Start Carimi at RG? Garza to Center? Death Match for LG? Omiiyale to "swing" tackle, you know there will be an injury...

A bigger sacrificial back would be nice too (Unga?)

A team-by-team look at the most underrated players in the division.

Chicago Bears

Matt Forte has quietly compiled almost 5,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in his three NFL seasons.Matt Forte, tailback: You have to wonder how many people outside the NFC North realize that in his first three NFL seasons, Forte has accumulated nearly 5,000 combined rushing and receiving yards. Forte's quiet personality and smooth style tend to deflect attention rather than attract it, but the fact remains he has been one of the NFL's most productive running backs over the past three seasons. In fact, he is one of six NFL players to record at least 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards since 2008. The other names on that list -- Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice -- tell you what kind of company Forte should be considered in.

The Bears should give Forte a big payday. Not only the most underrated running back in the NFL but also the most under paid.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on June 2, 2011 3:39 PM.

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