Some Bears fans may have been fooled into thinking Matt Forte is a special running back based on the terrific rookie season he put together in 2008, but 2009 played out much differently.
Suffering a hush-hush sprained knee in Week 3 at Seattle and struggling through the rest of the schedule at less than 100 percent, Forte didn't even crack the 1,000-yard plateau despite still finding a way to start all 16 games. Blame the offensive line for not opening up enough holes, not to mention the defense for letting a few games get out of hand early, but the fact of the matter remains that Forte isn't the kind of ball carrier capable of single-handedly making a run game productive. With Kevin Jones injured again, Adrian Peterson not expected back as a free agent, Garrett Wolfe just a special teamer and Kahlil Bell perhaps a flash in the pan, the Monsters of the Midway were in desperate need of a reliable No. 2 behind Forte.
For an insider's perspective on Taylor and what he may bring to the Midway Monster offense, BearReport.com consulted with Tim Yotter, publisher of VikingUpdate.com on the Scout.com network. ...
Strengths: Taylor is adept at all phases of the game. He reads blocks and finds the creases well and generally takes care of the ball pretty well. He is also one of the best backs picking up blitzes and squirting out of the backfield for receptions on third down. He led all running backs in third-down catches each of the last two seasons. He isn't a vocal guy, but he's a business-like presence in the locker room and a player that others respect.
Weaknesses: While he still has some burst into the hole, he doesn't have tremendous deep speed at this point. He doesn't have a ton of flash to his game, but he doesn't have any glaring weaknesses either.
Yotter Says: No question Taylor was a good signing for the Bears. He can help a less experienced Forte just like he helped Adrian Peterson – the Vikings' version, that is – especially in the passing and blitz-pickup game. Taylor came to the Vikings as a starter for one year in 2006 and was a workhorse, but when they drafted Peterson, he didn't sulk, pout or complain, which is why I think he's a great fit for any team that may use him more extensively than the Vikings or may end up relying on him to be a backup. He's seems willing to accept his role, but he's also ready for an increased role if needed. The only downfall is you wonder at what point age will catch up with him, but he doesn't have the same kind of wear and tear of a 30-year-old running back that has been featured his whole career. He has never missed more than two games in a season and should have at least a few strong seasons left in him.
JC's Take: If you're a believer in signing players away from division opponents, with the thought being your team gets better and your rival simultaneously gets worse, then you have to like the Bears stealing Taylor from the Vikings.
On the surface, there is nothing not to like about the deal, as Taylor looks to be a good fit for Mike Martz's offense, has always been a team-first player and is going to be a positive influence in the locker room. For a team that wants to run the football but was 29th in the NFL doing so in 2009, coach Lovie Smith can only dream that Forte-Taylor is nearly as productive as Thomas Jones-Cedric Benson was in the Super Bowl campaign of 2006. The one hang-up worth considering is Forte's reaction to Taylor's arrival, simply because the former Tulane Green Wave has always been the bellcow and might not be crazy about seeing his touches drop.
But Forte is far from a prima donna, plus Taylor knows he was brought to Chicago to be a No. 2 and not challenge for No. 1.
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Scout's Analysis: RB Chester Taylor
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