The Monsters of the Midway have been looking for a secondary ball carrier in the backfield behind overused starter Matt Forte for quite a while now, and they may have found one in an unlikely place.
It was supposed to be Kevin Jones, the one-time first-round draft pick of the rival Lions, but he wasn't ready to go last year coming off knee surgery and then got hurt again this year in the preseason finale. Veteran Adrian Peterson has been a quality contributor on special teams for some time but doesn't offer much offensively, while Garrett Wolfe hasn't proven to be the Darren Sproles clone general manager Jerry Angelo thought he was getting in Round 3 back in the 2007 NFL Draft. Suddenly Forte, who was subjected to way too much punishment a season ago, was the only dependable option lining up behind quarterback Jay Cutler.
But along came rookie Kahlil Bell, an undrafted free agent out of UCLA singed off the practice squad after Wolfe was moved to IR with an injured kidney, and he responded with a 72-yard scamper on his first career carry Sunday against the Eagles.
For an insider's perspective on Bell and what he brings to the backfield for the Bears, Bear Report consulted with Tracy Pierson, the publisher of BruinReportOnline.com on the Scout.com network. ...
Pierson Says: Bell is a power back that runs downhill. He doesn't have great moves or superior speed, but he runs well tackle to tackle and will get yards after the initial contact. He does have a lack of game-breaking speed, and he has also has been prone to injury. What Bell has going for him most is the chip on his shoulder. He wasn't highly recruited out of high school and came to UCLA as somewhat of an after-thought – and as a fullback. He worked hard, worked his way to the tailback position and then to the starting spot by running hard and trying to overcome the doubters. He probably doesn't have All-Pro talent. However, his talent has been questioned at every level.
Best-case scenario, he could turn out to be another: Marion Barber.
JC's Take: The 6-0, 219-pound Bell may very well be a one-hit wonder, as he only got nine yards on his other three carries in Week 11 and dropped the only pass thrown to him via the aerial attack.
That being said, the Midway Monsters need a shot in the arm for their running game since they are only 28th in the league at 89.3 yards per game on the ground. Forte is still the primary option, and nothing Bell does down the stretch will change that, but the former Tulane Green Wave is averaging just 51.6 yards rushing per game and struggling badly at a 3.3 yards-per-carry clip. While the offensive line deserves the lion's share of the blame for not opening holes consistently, Forte mananged to run for 1,238 yards and a 3.9-yard average in 2008 behind a bunch of blockers that wasn't any better than this one has turned out to be.
Look for Bell to continue to get a series here and there to keep Forte fresh for the long haul, and if the youngster rips off any more field-position flippers, both Peterson and Wolfe might want to freshen up their resume.
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Scout Analysis: RB Kahlil Bell
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