Chicago Bears star running back Matt Forte has consistently been one of the league’s top ten RBs over the last several years, and his consistency has been incredibly admirable. One of the most durable backs in the league, Forte has never played in less than 12 games in his career, and he’s played in all 16 contests in four out of six seasons. Forte had a career-high 1,339 rushing yards on 289 carries for an average of 4.6 yards per carry last season, and he also had career-highs with nine rushing touchdowns and 74 receptions for 594 yards.
At 28 years old, Forte is in the prime of his career, and he’s a good bet to be even more efficient next season after averaging the second-most yards per carry of his career. Not only will he benefit from an incredibly explosive passing attack, but his efficiency will increase as his workload decreases. Forte has never ran less than 200 times in a year, and he should move down from 363 touches last season to around 300, which is closer to his career average.
Arizona rookie Ka’Deem Carey isn’t a sure thing, but he looks like a promising rookie and should do a solid job of spelling Forte. While it’s difficult to bench a star back in his prime, especially one with Forte’s three-down ability, prolonging his career should be of importance to the Bears. Plus, they drafted Carey for a reason, and it will be exciting to see what he can bring to this offense.
As Forte gets older, he’s aiming to be one of the exceptions to the rule when it comes to running backs who hit the wall and can’t do it anymore as they age. He’s taken a lot of punishment throughout his career, but he’s been durable to this point. He said, via the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, “I want to break the stereotype of old running backs going downhill. This offseason I feel better than I have the past five or six offseasons. I got my rest and I know how to take care of my body now.
“Yeah, it is going to be harder and harder every year, but as long as you continue to have your set routine and stick to it, and a lot of prayer too, that helps a lot. Health is the main deal.”
It sounds like the quotes Fred Jackson, who is actually old, made earlier this offseason, and I bet Forte has around three years of Pro Bowl-caliber play left in his legs. From then on, it’s all about luck, taking care of himself, and the Bears taking care of him by managing his carries. But as Frank Gore has shown us (and Jackson, to a lesser extent), you can still be a top back in this league after the age of 30; it’s just, admittedly, rare.