Chicago Sun-Times

Agent says its "absurd" to question Matt Forte's durability

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Agent Adisa Bakari took an exception to a report that the Bears are concerned about how Matt Forte's knees will hold up, as they try to sign the Pro Bowl running back to a long-term deal.

"Matt Forte is among the most, if not the most, durable, all-purpose running back in the NFL,"Bakari said. "The 2011 season was the first season of his career that he missed any games. Had the Bears been play-off contenders, he could have returned for the balance of the season. To question his durability at this stage in his career is absurd."

In addition, Forte posted a video of himself running up a hill with 100 pounds strapped to him.

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I The Bears have every right to question Forte's durability, it is a fact in the NFL that running back durability is an issue and particularly at this point in his career. Forte went public in social media and in the press with negative comments and that comment about being offended by the signing of Bush was not a smart move by Forte.

In evaluating the McCoy deal it is clear that McCoy is worth the $20 million guarantee due to his performance on the field, his age being 2 years younger, his durability and his not being as critical in the press or on social media with the Eagles as Forte has been with the Bears. McCoy might just be a better running back as his touchdown numbers suggest and his ability to get a yard or two in critical 3rd and 4th down situations, where it is plain and simple Forte is average at best in these situations or on the goal line.

Forte deserves a guaranteed contract to keep him happy and keep the locker room morale high but more than a 4 year deal is not likely and guarantee money of less than $20 million is likely in his situation. How would Payton have acted in this situation, but Payton got the touchdowns and the 1 to 2 yards when needed most of the time.

Question his lack of breakaway speed: that was what really held him out of the first round in '08. Productive, reliable, a good blocker, good hands out of the backfield. Perfect character? Well, ask some of the women in his life, who seem to intersect at interesting moments. The real problem here is that for whatever reason the previous GM did not offer him a contract commensurate with the most productive, reliable, mutli-tool backs in the NFL. Remember that this was also the GM who handed Cedric Benson a check for $17 million and look how that turned out. Pay the man his money, put this controversy in the rear-view. The previous GM wasted a dump truck full of money on bad contracts both for players he drafted and players he had to sign on the free agent market to fill holes made by the duds he drafted. Sometimes the smart play is to take the risk. Nothing in Forte's past suggests a decline in productivity just because he has money in the bank.

With the amount of touches Matt Forte has gotten since he's entered the league, yes, theres gonna be some wear and tear. And that hit Forte took vs the Chiefs last season would have sidelined any back. I still think Forte has a lot of good football left in him and should get a deal. It isn't like he tore an ACL or something, it was a minor knee injury and had the Bears been in the play-offs, Forte would have been back. Had Forte not gone down last season he would have been among the league leaders in rushing yards, and I think he will be again this season, especially with a receiver like Brandon Marshall taking safeties out of the box. I say pay Forte, he deserves it and is a Pro-Bowl back, a runner like Forte doesn't grow on trees. This offense has a chance to be great with Cutler, Marshall, Bennett, rookie Alshon Jeffery, and Forte. Pay Forte GO BEARS!!

I don't know running backs seem to grow on trees in the nfl. Forte does not have a top gear, which is why you don;t see much in the way of TD's on this big runs he has, he usually gets dragged down from behind, he does not score much, his blocking declined last year, he seems to be a me first player, his best asset is catching the ball out of the backfield and he will be doing less of that this year. The Bears want more of a power running attack this year which Forte sucks at, he's basically an off end back.

He does have a lot of miles on him but he has not taken to many hits, he generally runs out of bounds when he sees contact coming, he loves the sideline. His yards after contact are average. But really trying to compare him to a back like McCoy is a joke, McCoy put up 20 TD's last year, Forte had 4 and that was in an offense that was ideal for Forte. It's not the same offense anymore, two GM's now have questioned Forte's value. 21 Backs near the 1000 yard mark last year, 45 backs with an average of 4 yards or better per attempt, 32 backs had more TD's than Forte.

The only thing Matt Forte has to say he is elite is total yards from scrimage. Everything else is pretty average. His best asset is catching the ball and I always thought that is what third down backs do.

Maybe Forte would have finished strong this year, who knows but I know I won't forget that 2 yard rushing performance against GB. Or the fact that in his last 3 games he only averaged 60 yards a game, 180 yards in 3 games 77 of which came on two runs. 3 Rushing TD's in 11 1/2 games, 2 TD's in his last 8 games, and he thinks he is elite? If you want intresting take a look at how many TD's Forte has scored against GB, I believe he scored once in 2008 against them and that's it, and I think he has scored twice againt the Vikings in 4 years. Wow what beast, Division games are the most important games and he doesn't do much against them.

I don't know I think you would have to be a major chump to think this guy is elite and deserves big money.

Yeah, I don't know where this durability thing comes from either. I think the Bears are just making an excuse for screwing this up. They should have paid him last season, now it's this big mess. Emery didn't cause this problem, but he'd better fix it.

Ahh heck...I'll bite.

Creighton, you say Pro-Bowl running back Matt Forte doesn't have a top gear? Really? You do realize Matt Forte was 2nd in the NFL with carries of 20 yards or more right? Forte had 12 carries of 20 yards or more, the league leader was LeSean McCoy with 14. Heres the thing, Matt Forte had 12 carries of 20 yards or more with only 203 rushing attempts, McCoy had 273 attempts, thats 70 more carries and only 2 more carries of 20 yards or more than Forte? My question is, in all your genius, HOW DO YOU FIGURE FORTE DOESN'T HAVE A TOP GEAR EVEN THOUGH HE WAS ONE OF THE LEAGUES TOP BACK IN CARRIES OF 20 YARDS OR MORE?????!!!!! Oh well GO BEARS!!

No top gear. Why? Cause he gets caught from behind a lot. Plus no TD to go with those big runs. See you think long run = speed. You would be wrong in this case. The reason he does not have more TD's is because he gets caught. Matt didn't have long runs because of his speed, he made people miss in the open field, which he did good job of. I don't know if you know this but, if you make people miss you can get moer yards, which equals longer runs. I know it sounds crazy if you don't watch the game but yeah that's another way to get long runs. You can also run them over, thats what Payton did. Chris Johnson is a Burner, Mike Turner runs people over and makes them miss, although you could debate they get out of his way.

Forte's big runs came off making people miss, not his speed and that's not to say he is slow, but he is not a Burner, he has average RB speed. RB's are faster than normal humans, but compared to average running backs he is average.

You see if you actually watch the games, you will see what I am talking about, his big runs came from making people miss, he didn't score more because he got caught. See how that works? Forte does a lot of things well but is great at nothing. You compare him to McCoy? 17 Td's to 3, that's not a comparison. McCoy is not a exactly a Burner although he has better pad speed than Forte, he also has better instincts, vision, and balance which is the real key to his game. Forte's instincts? Well we have all seen him dance way to often behind the line, he nice quickness which you confuse for speed, probably because you don't watch the games, good but not great speed, and his vision is average. Forte's problem is he has very good quickness for a back his size, but lacks the instincts to compliment that skill.

Now just to be clear when I say his vision is average, I do not mean he has 20/20 or anything like that. I am talking about how he sees the field. That's what they play on if you didn't know. If you watch Matt Forte he tends to get a little biit of tunnel vision. You will have to look up what that is because I don't feel like explaining it to you. It's not related to television by the way.


I agree that forte does a lot well but isn't a gr8 back...that's just the way it is...his sub par short yardage issues and lack of tds is clear and he does get caught from behind a lot...I think he has pretty gr8 lateral quickness with his jump cuts and can catch the ball real well...but he does have other pretty sizable short comings.. As far as his salary demands...his agent is juicin him up if he thinks he deserves McCoy or even Foster type dough... Bears may be putting out that injury smoke screen if they have become frustrated that fortes agent is insisting on top 5 money...I think he deserves just below that...say 18-19 m guaranteed ... Bears probably should have signed him last year..and could have gotten him for less...but forte is dreaming if he thinks he is getting McCoy's numbers...bears aren't fallin for that...they will just franchise him for two years..and he gets 17 m...but forte assumes all the risk..bears can also do what the pats did to welker and lower the tender... I think the bears are getting ready to do that..they dont want forte holding out and becomng a training camp distraction...especially this year.. Bears got the power on this one...

It is plain and simple to me when you look at how the Bears are viewing this entire situation compared to how Forte and his agent are viewing this. When it's 3rd and inches, or 4th and inches, the Bears keep bringing in other backs to take the place of Forte. Chester Taylor, Marion Barber, and now Michael Bush. They have needed to supplement Matt's finesse style with a guy who will stick his nose in there and get the tough yard when we need it. Bush is probably the least physical of the 3 they have brought in as the second back, but is probably the best suited physically to be more punishing in short yardage. Forte is great between the 10s, but doesn't get it done inside the 10s.

Forte should have been racking up the yards in the Martz offense, and he did. But Marshall Faulk was racking up TDs at a ridiculous rate in the same offense, and Forte did not get into the end zone with any regularity.

Don't get me wrong, Forte is a very good back. But he is not a great back. I would argue Arian Foster, DeAngelo Williams, Marshawn Lynch, and LeSean McCoy are not great backs either, but all of them received bigger money deals than what the Bears have supposedly offered Forte. That's really the problem in all of this. We don't know what has been offered, and what hasn't. If they offered him in the McCoy/Lynch range, and he turned it down, that's all on Matt and his agent. But if they offered him $13M guaranteed, and an average of $6.5 Mil per year, that's on the Bears.

I don't see this ending well, but the Bears have all the leverage here. Forte can't go anywhere else, because no team will talk to him and risk having to give up 2 1st rounders if they sign him to a deal. And the Bears aren't going to trade him, unless some team gets stupid, or thinks he is the missing piece of their puzzle to make a title run. I am ok with Bush and Bell as the tandem in the backfield for this year if it comes down to that. It won't be great, but now with the tight end actually being used in the offense, and Marshall and Jeffery on the outside, we might actually be able to convert first downs by letting Cutler drop back. Bush is good enough to keep defenses honest on play action. Forte can be indignant all he wants, but he has no choice if he wants to play. Either play for the Bears, or quit football.

All you guys who are comparing TDs: line blocking is the biggest factor in whether a running play works. The main reason that the Bears did not do well in short yardage situations is that opponents could sit on the run because Bear receivers and pass blocking was so bad. I agree that Forte is not a great short-yardage runner, but he's not as bad as some of you make him out to be.

What Joe said. Been happening for years with Forte and from time to time they give him a shot and then he loses a yard or two and they go with someone else.

Forte is not the Only back in theleague with a bad line Pitt In 2010 had a worse run blocking line then the Bears. Seattle had one of the worst run blocking lines in football and no QB to speak of yet Lynch still managed to get 12 rushing TD's, Atlanta had one of the worst run blocking lines, NY had a worse run blocking line than Chicago, Oakland was bad at run blocking, in fact only about 5 teams had solid to good run blocking lines last year. Barber had twice as many rushing TD's as Forte. So did Ryan Mathews behind that disaster that was the chargers line.

Forte dances in short yardage. You want to blame the line and say they are bad? No problem, they are bad, it does not change the fact that Barber had twice as many TD's.

The Bears know he is bad at it, and whenever they give him a shot at it he blows it. If the Bears have known this for years and have shown you they know this by pulling him in short yardage and inside the red, then how come some fans can't figure this out? It's not like I am feeding anyone great insight here, all you have to do is look at what the Bears do with him. I can understand them not wanting to give him an elite level contract, I don't see the problem with a team playing it smart. This is two GM's that have not wanted to give him a big contract, not one but two.

Is he a horrible back? No, he is a very good back, he is just not an elite back. He does some stuff really well and is bad at some stuff. An elite back afford to be bad at blocking or average in recieving, what he can't do is afford to be bad at is scoring and rushing between the tackles. He is an elite third down back playing as a starter, he runs off end and catches the ball. That's what a third down back does that's what teams look for in a third down back. Elite backs can get you the short yard, the tough yard, run between the tackles and score.

It seems like there are a lot of good backs in the league these days that people are confusing for great backs. It's a passing league and defenses are designed to stop the pass, they are stretched out and not playing the run the way they used to. This is providing a great opportunity for average backs, or good backs to look a lot better than they are. Deep safeties, LB's dropping into coverage, wide 9 ends, undersized 3 techs, man corners, defenses designed to do nothing but attack the QB. All of that helps make RB's look better than they are these days.

Creighton, good analysis, completely agree with you about great and good backs. Forte is a good back, he certainly is not a great back like Payton was in his day, when he was behind some of the worst offensive lines in the late 70's and early 80's before Covert and his bunch. But even behind bad lines Payton more than often found a way to get the TD from the 1, 2, or 3 yard line.

Forte should have been racking up the yards in the Martz offense, and he did. But Marshall Faulk was racking up TDs at a ridiculous rate in the same offense, and Forte did not get into the end zone with any regularity.

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