Stop Saying Matt Forte is the Next Rashaan Salaam!
An article has been circulating around the Internet implying that Matt Forte will be the next Rashaan Salaam, or worse yet, Curtis Enis. You know how the story goes: Rookie running back has great year, sophomore slump, out of the league within 2 years. Take a listen:
I’m sure that those first two names [Enis and Salaam] are names that Bears fans wish to never see next to the name of Matt Forte(notes). With Forte’s dead-legged performance through the first three weeks of this season, though, with apologies to Bears fans, it’s a comparison worth looking into.
…Through the first three games of this year, Forte’s been a complete brick. He might as well be wearing a “Salaam” jersey. He’s averaging 2.5 yards per carry and has no touchdowns. It’s not like he’s played a collection of fierce defenses, either. Sure, Pittsburgh’s good, but Green Bay gave up 100+ yard games to Cedric Benson(notes) and Steven Jackson, and Seattle gave up 200+ to Frank Gore(notes). Forte, while getting a good amount of carries, hasn’t been able to run against any of them.
Although the author doesn’t claim outright that Forte is a bust, the fact that he would even hint at that ignores a ton of variables in the equation. The Bears have gone away from the run this season, where they were still heavily dependent on it during Salaam’s entire tenure. Also Salaam had injury problems and a severe case of fumblitis. He fumbled 9 times his rookie year alone.
So let’s chill out on Forte. I know everyone says he needs to “get it going” and “what’s happened to Forte?” but what about the offensive line and the playcalling? Also, Forte still protects the ball, catches passes out of the backfield, and pretty much runs without any blocking (sorry, the o-line has not impressed me at all). Obviously he is good enough to force opposing defenses to respect the run, assisting Cutler with his aerial assault as well.