Bears Forte expected to carry a heavy load

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Matt Forte loosens up as he prepares for an important 2015 season.

Matt Forte loosens up as he prepares for an important 2015 season.

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a series examining the Chicago Bears roster as they prepare for training camp in late July.

By Connor Curts, Associate Editor

The 2015 season will be an important one concerning the future of the Bears’ running back position.

Matt Forte is entering a contract year, in which he will be paid a base salary of $7,050,000, and working for a new contract. Back in April, Forte was absent from the team’s first voluntary offseason workouts, fueling media speculation that he was holding out to gain contract negotiation leverage. On April 28 Forte took to social media to set things straight, and made it known that he was finishing his third week of “rigorous speed training” which he says the Bears “do not do at Halas Hall.”

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A full participant since in the Bears OTA’s and mini-camp,  Forte is an underappreciated back who matter of factly understands that this may be his last season in Chicago. Few backs demonstrate the versatility Forte displays or are as consistent as the former Tulane Green Wave star has shown. Thus far, Forte’s held up to a rigorous workload that figures to increase with new head coach John Fox’s preferred reliance on the ground attack.

While it’s known that Forte will be wearing the navy and orange for at least one more season, the player who will be #22’s backup is up for grabs.  Ka’Deem Carey saw minimal playing time last season as a rookie after being drafted out of Arizona by the Bears in the 4th round with the 117th pick, and he has his work cut out for him if he plans to retain his role as the 2nd string RB in 2015. Carey failed to impress in spot action and never displayed the acceleration or cutback skills that made him a star in college at Arizona.

The team drafted Jeremy Langford from Michigan State in the 4th round in the 2015 NFL Draft, and will be a top challenger to Carey as a rookie. Langford possesses no standout trait, but combines strength, vision, instincts and enough “giddyup” to be a combination threat running the ball or as a receiver. He’s adept at picking up tough yardage, a skill that makes h

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im invaluable to a Bears team that has struggled in short-distance situations over the past decade.

Jacquizz Rodgers was signed by the team in free agency, and will look to make his case for the backup position as well. Rodgers spent his first 4 years with Atlanta and missed just one game during that time. Rodgers is smallish, but has some “shake and bake” to his game once he gets moving and is surprisingly strong running between the tackles.

Senorise Perry made the roster after a decent camp and played sparingly, mostly as a kickoff returner and special teams.

 

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