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Forte Learning New Positions In Bears Offense

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Can Matt Forte regain his rookie form? Or will that pay day be a fluke? Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.
Can Matt Forte regain his rookie form? Or will that pay day be a fluke? Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

After being selected in the second round by the Bears in 2008, Matt Forte had 1,238 rushing yards, 12 combined touchdowns, and 63 receptions in his rookie campaign. Since that time, he hasn’t measured up to those numbers.

The 27-year-old held out until he got a long-term deal last year — signing for four years, $32-million — believing that his worth as a running back would once again reach where it did in ’08.

Forte wants to utilize his offense in a different way this year, especially with lots of outside zone runs. He’s great in space, and has powerful speed. But let’s face it ... he can be great in pretty much any scheme.

"Trap schemes, gap schemes, zone schemes, man schemes — all that," Forte told the Chicago Tribune. "We were kind of one-dimensional last year. It's going to be an emphasis for us this year, I guess, to spread the ball around so the defense can't just focus on one guy or one position."

I think with Brandon Marshall’s arrival last season, Forte wasn't used as frequently as a receiver out of the backfield, thanks to former coordinator Mike Tice. Forte posted a career-low 44 catches for 340 yards and 1 TD in 2012. That bodes well for Jay Cutler in his stats, but things will have to change if Forte wants to be an integral part in this new-look Chicago offense.

"Matt has the ability to run in a number of different schemes," said Bears head coach Marc Trestman. "We're in the process of trying to filter through and put this offensive line together. As we get into the training camp and figure out more who we are, it will take more form.”

Forte is also studying to play half-back, and F, aka the “move tight end." Be prepared for him to split out as a receiver. It should be an entirely new look, and it'll be the first step for Forte to try and get his rookie form back on track.

This will be the first true test to see if that pay day was a fluke.