A couple of years ago, the NY Giants had a trio of rushers who were affectionately referred to as Earth, Wind & Fire. The Panthers duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams bickered with the Titans (former) tandem of Chris Johnson and LenDale White over the name Smash & Dash.
In 2010, Chicago could have a pair of running backs worthy of a catchy nickname too.
The Bears are in a select group in that they feature two runners who’ve eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in a season. More importantly, in Matt Forte and Chester Taylor, Mike Martz has two backs with multiple skill sets who are interchangeable.
Unlike most teams who have multiple backs who each bring a different talent to the offense, Forte and Taylor can each run, block and receive as well as the other. This means Martz won’t be tipping off defenses when he subs one player for the other.
Remember the Super Bowl year of 2006? When Cedric Benson subbed for Thomas Jones, everyone in the stadium knew Ced was in to pound the rock. His blocking and receiving skills were suspect (I know, I’m being kind), so defenses could attack him (via the blitz) or ignore him (in pass defense) accordingly. This is a dilemma the Bears won’t face with their versatile 2010 tandem.
Media and fans (including myself) assumed Forte’s reaction to the Bears bringing Taylor on board was something akin to a slap across the facial region. But I’m guessing it’ll take all of one 90-degree practice for Matt to realize he should be sending a fruit basket Jerry Angelo’s way.
Taylor will be good for Forte because it will save him some wear and tear. If Forte was a car, his Blue Book value would have depreciated 200% over his first two years on the road. Since coming into the league, he’s carried the rock extensively (574 times) over his 32-game career. Combine that with his nearly 800 carries during his 4 years at Tulane (where he was the school’s all-time leading rusher), and it’s obvious the guy could stand to miss a series or two.
For Taylor, Forte’s presence helps prolong his career too. Taylor is considered a ‘young 30’ since he’s played behind AP in Minny the last 3 years. Spelling Forte could help Taylor land another decent payday when his time with the Bears is up. (Note: Taylor’s contract length was 4 years, but I’ll be surprised if he’s around more than two.)
Reports say Forte is the healthiest and strongest he’s been in a year, which should mean a statistically similar season to his rookie year…of course, without all the carries. Assuming our unproven O-line can hold a block for two seconds, the Bears should boast one of the top rushing attacks in the league.
One that’s worthy of nickname. Your ideas welcome…