Bears to use 'hot hand' approach to RB committee


The Chicago Bears let Matt Forte walk in free agency, showing no desire to re-sign the 30-year-old running back. What's left behind is a committee composed of a bevy of question marks.

Jeremy Langford showed promised as a rookie, but there are major concerns he can be a workhorse after compiling just 3.6 yards per carry on 148 attempts. Langford also owned a 1.13 yards after contact average last season, worst in the NFL among backs with at least 100 carries. Ka'Deem Carey was used as a power back in 2015. Jacquizz Rodgers is a scat back with middling pro results. Fifth-round pick Jordan Howard brings power and could steal some early-down snaps with a good preseason showing.

The Bears are not trying to trick themselves into thinking one back will make up for Forte's consistent production.

"Maybe not one can do all that Matt brought to the table," running backs coach Stan Drayton said, via the Chicago Tribune. "But they all bring a strength that can probably add up to what he brought. To say you're going to replace Matt Forte -- it's going to take years, right?"


Coach John Fox famously loves to run committees out of his backfields and with the compilation the Bears will employ in 2016, he'll have no choice.

"Who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are," Fox said. "Then situationally, it can be...whoever has a hot hand."

Aside from Forte's keen ability to always slither through holes and pick up positive yardage, the biggest question for the Bears will be pass-catching out of the backfield, where Forte was one of the NFL's top receiving backs during the duration of his career in Chicago.

Langford showed flashes as a receiver, but struggled with drops. Rodgers will likely be used as a pass-catching back, but offers little deception for defenses when on the field. Howard showed ability in the screen game at Indiana and could prove valuable in that area.

The Bears' receiving corps could be tops in the NFL if all stay healthy. The question entering the summer is whether Chicago will have the running game to match.