Camp Q&A: RB Kahlil Bell

While the Chicago Bears are pleased with Matt Forte and Chester Taylor at running back, Kahlil Bell does not see himself as a lowly No. 3. Bell chatted with JC before practice Tuesday in Bourbonnais.

John Crist: The four running backs, you included, only ran for 32 yards on 17 carries in Saturday's preseason opener at San Diego. Having looked at the tape now, were there just no holes to run through, or did you guys simply not take advantage of the holes that were there?

Kahlil Bell: I think we did pretty good as an offense. As a backfield, there is definitely room for improvement. But we're real close. We watched the film. We're just a guy away from breaking some long runs down the field. It's the first preseason game. We're not going to cry about it. We're not going to dwell about it. It's a learning experience, for the most part. We have guys who have never even played in the NFL. This is only my second year, and that was really my first preseason game because I didn't even get much action last year [with the Vikings]. But we're working on it and we're going to be alright, so it's not an issue of concern as of the moment.

JC: Usually, the first preseason matchup is pretty vanilla from a game-planning perspective. However, the Chargers threw a lot of different looks at you guys, including some corner blitzes. Did they happen to catch you off guard, or did you just not execute properly?

KB: I don't think we were caught off guard. We went over it. Like I said, we've got a lot of new guys who just picked up the offense in OTAs. It's fairly new to a lot of us, and in games things happen a lot faster than in practice. So it's just guys got to get their feet wet, myself included. And us as an offense, we've just got to keep grinding through the little kinks and the knots here and there, and we're going to be fine.

JC: The Bears went from deep to thin at quarterback and safety seemingly overnight, which is the way things work in the NFL. Is that why you can't really worry about being a No. 3 running back, as you're always just an injury or two away from getting 20 carries in the next game?

RB Kahlil Bell
Gregory Bull/AP

KB: I'm not really worried about being a No. 3 or whatever number I am. That has no relevance in my thought process. I'm training every day like I'm the starter, and I'm going to continue to do that. And whenever I'm called upon and I get an opportunity, I'm going to play as such.

JC: I've been very impressed with the improvements you've made catching the football. I think even you'll admit that wasn't your strong suit last year, plus you weren't asked to catch the ball much in college. Aside from just catching a ton of passes in practice, how do you go about improving upon that skill?

KB: I really disagree with you on that one. Honestly, I did drop that first pass coming out in the Eagles game [in Week 11]. I'll give you that one. I was nervous. It was my very first NFL play. I'll give you that one. But I played receiver as a kid growing up, and my mom really worked with me countless hours. I couldn't tell you how many times I got hit in the nose and had a bloody nose from my mom drilling me in the face with a football. But I've always had really good hands, I thought. I've always thought I could catch the ball extremely well out of the backfield. I just never got a chance to show people that and showcase my ability. So now that I get a chance with [offensive coordinator Mike] Martz to run in open space and use my hands, I think if I get that opportunity, I'm going to be able to capitalize on it.

JC: When you first got to Chicago last season, you were pretty quiet in the locker room and just went about your business. But this season, you're really letting your personality show. Every time I see you, you're rapping aloud or quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger's lines from Predator. Is that a product of you being more comfortable in your surroundings now?

KB: Last year when I got here, I didn't know anybody. I was nervous, to say the least. They told me I was on a week-to-week basis, so I was just really trying to be about my business and try to make sure that I stuck around. But now that I'm here and I'm comfortable, I know the guys and I'm just going to be myself. I don't try to be anybody I'm not. This is who I am. I love singing, I love quoting movies, I love laughing, so there's definitely a difference from last year. But at the same time, when it's time to work, I put my hard hat on and go to work.

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John Crist is the Publisher of, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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