Forte right to be angry but Bears had to protect themselves with Bush signing
Following the signing of Michael Bush on Thursday, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte expressed frustration with his team by tweeting, “There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected!” Forte went on to say, “Guess the good guys do finish last,” while his agent added, “To sign yet another running back, prior to completing a contract with Matt suggests disregard for Matt and his contribution to the Bears.”
Forte has every right to be angry with the Bears. He’s a perfect fit for that team and by signing Bush to a four-year, $14 million contract, the Bears have completely taken away Forte’s leverage in long-term contract talks.
You’d probably be upset with the Bears too if it were you. But Forte also needs to exercise a little patience here.
The Bears had to protect themselves for a couple of reasons. For starters, Forte suffered a season-ending injury last year and if he were to get hurt again in 2012, Chicago would be in major trouble if it had signed him to a long-term deal this offseason. Plus, this isn’t the first time that Forte has been upset with the front office so if he decides that he’s had enough of Chicago and moves on next year, at least the Bears have a pretty good back in Bush already on the roster.
For obvious reasons, no player wants to sign a franchise contract. Nothing is guaranteed beyond that one season so if the player were to get hurt he could lose out on a big pay day after already proving that he deserved a long-term deal. But at least next season is guaranteed for Forte, who will make much more than $14 million over four years if he can stay healthy in 2012.
Personally, I felt the Bears should have paid Forte last year. He’s one of the most versatile backs in the league and seeing as how there have been no signs of progress between him and the Bears on a long-term deal, it’s no wonder why he would be upset with the Bush signing.
But one way or another Forte will get paid. He just needs to stay healthy and be patient.
Sunday Quick-Hitters: Reactions from Week 11 in the NFL
Every Sunday throughout the 2011 NFL season I’ll compile quick-hit reactions from the day that was in football. I vow to always overreact, side with sensationalism over rationalism, and draw conclusions based on small sample sizes instead of cold, hard facts. It’s the only way I know how to write…
- December 25th – mark it down. That’s the day the Bears get their rematch with the Packers and it’s going to be a spectacle to watch. There might not be a team playing with more confidence right now than Chicago, which hasn’t lost since its ugly effort in Detroit on Monday Night Football back in early October. Jay Cutler didn’t light the stat sheet on fire today but he made big plays all day. And his lone mistake (an interception to Antoine Cason), wasn’t a mistake at all because Johnny Knox slipped on the play. Besides, the Bear defense picked off Philip Rivers in the end zone on the next possession, basically nullifying Cason’s interception. With guys like Cutler, Matt Forte and Devin Hester, as well as a physical, unrelenting defense, the Bears look playoff ready…
…whoops! Talk about timing. About a millisecond after writing that paragraph I saw a report that Jay Cutler’s season might be over due to a fractured right throwing thumb. If that’s the case, then the Bears could be finished. Caleb Hanie has had his moments, such as leading Chicago to a touchdown on his first series against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game last year. But as B.J. Raji’s interception in that same game can attest to, Hanie is also very inexperienced. If Cutler is indeed out (he’ll undergo more tests on Monday), then his injury dramatically changes the Bears’ offense (and season, for that matter).
- The Falcons would be foolish not to keep Matt Ryan in the no-huddle from here on out. Atlanta ran its no-huddle almost exclusively today in its 23-17 victory over the Titans and Ryan had is second-highest QB rating of the season (110.9), threw for over 300 yards for only the fourth time all year, and didn’t throw an interception for only the third time in 10 games. While they did have issues inside the red zone (they settled for three field goals and Michael Turner coughed the ball up once to allow Tennessee to get back into the game), the Falcons only punted twice in the victory. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has been hesitant to run the no-huddle on a full-time basis but it’s the offense that Ryan is clearly most comfortable running.
- Jake Locker showed why he was once considered a slam-dunk No. 1 overall draft pick. Matt Hasselbeck has done a fantastic job managing games for Tennessee this year but Locker sparked a punchless offense and nearly brought the Titans back from 20 points down in the second half. He only completed 9-of-19 passes but those nine completions went for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He also picked up a first down with an 11-yard rush on a third-and-long and showed good zip on most of his passes. Mike Munchak already backed Hasselbeck as the starter in his post-game press conference but with Matt Schaub now out for the year in Houston, it might be time for Tennessee to roll the dice with the kid. Locker was fun to watch today.
- I watched Chris Johnson very closely today and from my point of view, there’s nothing wrong with him. He just doesn’t have anywhere to run as Tennessee’s run blocking is abysmal. Atlanta’s run defense is very sound but Johnson was bottled up almost immediately after receiving the hand off.
- Blaine Gabbert threw for 210 yards and didn’t turn the ball over in the Jaguars’ 14-10 loss to the Browns. He also threw a perfectly placed ball that Jason Hill couldn’t haul in with three seconds remaining in the game that could have won it for Jacksonville. But Gabbert’s overthrow to a wide-open (and I mean WIDE-OPEN) Hill in the end zone with just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter really cost Jacksonville a huge opportunity to tie the game at 14-14. Those are the types of plays that Gabbert hasn’t been making all season. Now, he’s only a rookie and deserves time to develop. But I firmly believe that Jacksonville screwed up by releasing David Garrard and forcing Gabbert onto the field before he was ready. The kid should be holding a clipboard right now.
- I’m sorry, I know a win is a win and they very well could wind up being tied for first in the NFC East before the night is over (the Giants are currently losing to the Eagles as I type). But that was not a very impressive win by the Cowboys today. The Redskins’ offense has been putrid for over a month and the Cowboys were one 52-yard field goal by Graham Gano away from losing. Jason Witten and Tony Romo made some great plays today and hey, divisional games are usually close. But count me among the people who keep waiting for the ‘Boys to put together that signature win and yet, it still hasn’t come. I picked the Cowboys to win the NFC East this year so I’m not surprised that they’re 6-4. It’s just not a very impressive 6-4 to me.
- Andy Dalton made some big mistakes today, which included throwing three interceptions and being flagged for intentional grounding on the Bengals’ final possession. But it’s clear that he and Cincinnati have a very bright future. This was a team that was without its best offensive playmaker (A.J. Green) and its top cornerback (Leon Hall) and still hung with the Ravens on their home field. On paper, Baltimore should have cruised to victory and it almost did. But thanks to Dalton and the Bengals’ perseverance, they had a chance to at least tie the game in the closing minutes. Assuming Dalton doesn’t go backwards from here, I see no reason why the Bengals won’t continue to challenge the Ravens and the Steelers in the AFC North.
- It was good to see Cam Cameron let it rip today. Sometimes the Ravens’ offense looks like a Ferrari but drives like a Pinto. Joe Flacco took a couple of deep shots, Ray Rice was heavily involved and Torrey Smith (6 receptions, 165 yards, 1 TD) had a breakout performance. Speaking of Smith, if he maintains his confidence week in and week out, he’s going to be a star in this league. That 49-yard catch that he hauled in today was a thing of beauty.
- If I’m a Lions fan I’m ecstatic that my team scored 49 points as Matthew Stafford threw for five touchdowns and Kevin Smith rushed for 140 yards and two scores. But I would be extremely concerned about the number of times they’ve had to stage a big comeback because they’ve dug themselves a huge hole in the first half. Three of the Lions’ seven wins this year (Dallas, Minnesota and Carolina) have come after they’ve fallen behind by 20 points or more and while it’s impressive that they’ve been able to persevere, it would be more impressive if they figured out a way to play four quarters more consistently. Because this is obviously a very dangerous team when they’re firing on all cylinders.
- Cam Newton is extremely fun to watch and he’s making a lot of pundits look very stupid for doubting him (and the Panthers for that matter) back in April. That said, he certainly helped his team lose today. Carolina’s defense turned in a brutal second-half effort against Detroit but Newton’s inaccuracy was a major issue as well. He often missed high to his receivers and wound up throwing four interceptions in the loss. Recklessness simply can’t be a part of his game.
- Kellen Winslow (9 receptions, 132 yards, 1 TD) had a monster game but he cost the Bucs’ twice in their 35-26 loss to the Packers. First he was flagged for an obvious pass interference call in the end zone on a third-and-3 from the Packers’ 4-yard-line, which led to a Tampa Bay field goal instead of a potential touchdown early in the third quarter. Then he dropped a pass on a two-point conversation attempt that would have tied the game at 21-21 early in the fourth. Granted, the Bucs’ defense couldn’t come up with that one big stop in the fourth but they were also trailing by nine points virtually that entire quarter because of Winslow’s mistakes. Still, Tampa certainly gave Green Bay all it could handle. There are no moral victories but the Bucs finally showed some punch on offense (including LeGarrette Blount’s unbelievable touchdown run).
- All of those weapons on offense and the Packers’ first two touchdowns today came on a 1-yard B.J. Raji run and a Tom Crabtree five-yard reception, respectively. As if opposing defenses don’t have enough to worry about when it comes to Green Bay, now they have to try and tackle 337 pounds of B.J. Raji and defend some guy named Tom Crabtree.
- Want to know the biggest reason why the previously 0-7 Dolphins have won three games in a row? Try the fact that they haven’t allowed a touchdown in 12 quarters now. Miami’s defense absolutely stifled the Bills today, allowing just 41 rushing yards in a 35-8 rout. They also stuffed Buffalo at the goal line early in the fourth quarter and intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick twice. And who needs Andrew Luck? Matt Moore has thrown six touchdowns in his last three games.
- Somebody stick a fork in the Bills because they’re done. They made believers out of a lot of people earlier in the year but they’ve looked absolutely horrendous the last three weeks. Do you think the front office is regretting signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to that extension? He signed his new deal on October 28, beat the Redskins two days later and hasn’t won since.
- His play is indicative of a rookie quarterback but Christian Ponder is absolutely maddening to watch sometimes. One minute he’s using his athleticism to make a big throw downfield and the next he’s literally throwing the ball directly to a defender (see his interception to Stanford Routt in the fourth quarter today). He did extremely well to lead the Vikings from 20 points down against the Raiders without Adrian Peterson (who left the game early with an injury), but Ponder made some really bad decisions. Again, this is what you expect out of a rookie but he’s liable to make Leslie Frazier and Bill Musgrave insane.
- Some teams don’t have one capable starter at running back and Oakland has two. It must be nice when Darren McFadden goes down with an injury to have Michael Bush step in and take his place. Bush has lifted the Raiders into sole possession of first place in the AFC West the past two weeks. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that the Chargers are absolutely imploding.
- Perhaps the most impressive thing about Jim Harbaugh is not the fact that he has gotten Alex Smith to play well or that the Niners’ defense is one of the best in the league. Albeit, those things are impressive but not nearly as impressive as the focus and discipline that he’s instilled in this San Francisco team. The Niners were a talented squad under Mike Singletary but the problem was that he was completely overmatched as a football tactician. And because he was so overmatched both on and off the field, his team began falling apart at the seams. But under Harbaugh, the Niners have played sound football, don’t beat themselves and not once have they been caught looking ahead. With a Thanksgiving Day matchup with his brother’s Ravens coming up in just four days, Harbaugh and the Niners could have easily overlooked Arizona today. Instead, they nearly shut the Cardinals out. Again, under Harbaugh they’ve been highly impressive.
- Considering how brutal their schedule was in the first half and the amount of injuries they’ve had to suffer through (particularly in the defensive backfield), it’s not surprising to see the Rams sitting with only two wins. That said, that’s a pitiful football team they have in St. Louis and if Billy Devaney doesn’t have a better offseason than the one he did this past year, the Rams will continue to lose. Devaney better find some gems in next year’s draft; I’m talking about finding a couple of guys that can make an impact right away or else both he and Steve Spagnuolo will be out of jobs very soon.
- I just can’t wrap my head around the play of Philip Rivers this year. This can’t be the same guy who almost single-handedly kept the Chargers in the playoff hunt last year without his top two playmakers. It just can’t. The interception he threw at the end of the game to Corey Graham was one of the worst throwaway attempts I’ve ever seen. And this came after Major Wright picked him off earlier in the quarter when San Diego’s defense put the Chargers in great field position with an interception of their own. Brutal. Philip Rivers has been brutal this year.
Posted in: NFL
Tags: Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Atlanta Falcons, B.J. Raji, Billy Devaney, Blaine Gabbert, Buffalo Bills, Caleb Hanie, Cam Newton, Chicago Bears, Chris Johnson, chrsitian ponder, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Devin Hester, Green Bay Packers, Jake Locker, Jason Witten, Jay Cutler, Jim Harbaugh, Kellen Winslow, Kevin Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Matt Moore, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Miami Dolphins, Michael Bush, NFL scores, NFL Week 11, NFL Week 11 recap, nfl week 11 scores, Oakland Raiders, Philip Rivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, tom crabtree, Tony Romo, Torrey Smith
Fantasy Points Per Touch: RBs
After each fantasy football season, I like to do something of a post-mortem by looking at certain stats that might give me a clearer picture of what in the hell just happened. One such stat is fantasy points per touch, which takes the total (non-PPR) fantasy points divided by the sum of the player’s carries and catches.
Here’s a look at the top 20 RBs (with at least 150 total touches) ranked by fantasy points per touch.
When trying to predict a player’s outlook, I always go back to the old fantasy addage, “Talent + Opportunity = Success.” This stat gives us an idea of a player’s talent by answering the question — how productive was this player with the touches he received? If a back is listed here, it indicates that he may very well have the talent to be a top 20 fantasy RB in the NFL if he were to receive the appropriate amount of touches.
A few takeaways:
- Brandon Jacobs can run the ball. His numbers here are a little skewed due to the nine TDs he scored in 147 carries, but he averaged 5.6 yards per carry and should be the feature back somewhere even if Ahmad Bradshaw is the better all around back. 2010 marks the third season in the last four that Jacobs averaged 5.0-plus yards per carry, so his poor 2009 numbers (3.6 ypc) look to be more of an aberration than a trend.
- Jamaal Charles is really, really good. If not for the presence of Thomas Jones, he would be a top 2 or 3 RB heading into the 2011 season. As it stands, I suspect he’ll be a mid-first round pick.
- Ryan Mathews has what it takes to be a very good RB2, but he needs to stay healthy and he needs RB2 touches. His teammate, Mike Tolbert, vultured his touchdowns and will do so again if he’s still a Charger next season.
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis figures to be a sleeper heading into the 2011 season. He’s a touchdown machine and a good runner (4.4 ypc), but Belichick’s fickleness at the RB position will likely depress the Law Firm’s value a bit. He should be a very solid RB2 next season.
- Peyton Hillis outperformed Chris Johnson, Frank Gore and Michael Turner on a per touch basis. Hillis should be the Browns’ feature back heading into 2011, and should continue to be productive even if Cleveland moves to a West Coast offense since he has the pass-catching skills to be effective out of the backfield.
- Michael Bush could be a star with a new team. He’s a free agent this summer, so if the Raiders don’t resign him (though they should), he could turn into a fantasy RB2 if he lands with the right team.
- Maybe Tim Hightower should be the Cardinals’ feature back. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and has good hands out of the backfield. People complain about his breakaway speed, but he had an 80-yard run this season. In 292 career carries, Beanie Wells has a career long run of 33 yards.
Projected carries in KC, Houston, Indy, Buffalo and Oakland
Chris Wesseling of Rotoworld has released updated carry projections for the entire AFC, but let’s focus on five teams: the Chiefs, Texans, Colts, Bills and Raiders.
We’ll go one by one:
Jamaal Charles: 220
Thomas Jones: 140
Kestahn Moore: 30
Charles emerged as the Chiefs’ MVP last year, averaging 20 carries and 121 rushing yards once hit he the starting lineup at mid-season. The projection above accounts for Jones in slightly more than a Willis McGahee-type short-yardage/inside role, giving Charles just under 14 carries per contest. Throw in three receptions per week and it’s enough to leave Charles as a borderline RB1.
Obviously, these numbers disregard the fact that TJ is still atop the depth chart and the head coach is telling the press that Charles’s role is ‘undefined.’ While it would seem incomprehensible to fantasy owners that Haley would limit Charles’s touches given how well he played last season, the news out of KC should not be ignored. TJ has been overlooked everywhere he’s went and while I’m hoping for a 60/40 split like we see here, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more 50/50.
Arian Foster: 215
Steve Slaton: 125
Jeremiah Johnson: 20
Chris Henry: 10
The line for now trendy Foster love starts behind Rotoworld. We were hyping the former Tennessee star as a Dynasty deep sleeper once the Texans snatched him up after last year’s draft while promoting him as the potential answer in Houston by mid-November. Although Ben Tate’s season-ending broken fibula has killed Foster’s sleeper potential for this year, it certainly offers more clarity in this backfield: Foster is Batman; Slaton is Robin. Draft accordingly.
I didn’t jump on the Foster bandwagon until earlier this summer, but with Tate’s injury, he looks like he should vastly outplay his current draft position (9.02 over the last week). Look for his ADP to continue to rise. I’d start thinking about picking him in the 7th or the 8th. He played very well at the end of last season, has drawn rave reviews from the coaching staff this summer, and it’s clear that the team doesn’t view Slaton as a feature back any longer.
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Posted in: Fantasy Football, News, NFL, Rumors & Gossip
Tags: 2010 fantasy football preview, Arian Foster, C.J. Spiller, Darren McFadden, Donald Brown, Fantasy football draft strategy, fantasy football strategy, Fred Jackson, Jamaal Charles, Joseph Addai, Michael Bush
2010 Fantasy Football Preview: Sleeper RBs
All 2010 Fantasy Football Articles | 2010 Position Rankings
There are twenty running backs currently going in the first four rounds and 19 of them — Matt Forte excluded — are playing in what I refer to as ‘settled’ running back situations. We can move forward feeling pretty certain that these 19 RBs, barring injury, will get enough touches to be productive starting-caliber fantasy running backs.
But this piece isn’t about those guys. It’s about the rest of this year’s RB crop, or specifically RBs going in the 7th round or later: The Sleepers.
Below is a list of a few guys that I’m targeting later in drafts. They enter the 2010 season unproven, or unsettled in their respective situations, or even over the hill. I’ll list them in order of their current ADP at Antsports:
Brandon Jacobs (7.01)
In his worst season in three years, Jacobs finished as 2009′s RB31 on balky knees. He had them scoped in the offseason and says he feels better than ever. He’s just 28 years old and only has 779 career carries, so his mileage is pretty low given his age. Moreover, the Giants have a great offensive line and a solid passing attack to keep defenders out of the box. I’m expecting a bounce-back year from Jacobs, making him a nice RB2 for owners loading up on WRs early or a great RB3 on any roster.
Justin Forsett (7.05)
Pete Carroll has a history of using RBBC, so if he’s in a major timeshare I’m not sure Forsett is even worth his current draft position. But looking solely at his resume, there’s a lot to be excited about. He averaged 5.4 ypc last season, and had a couple of impressive performances against Arizona (22 touches, 149 yards, TD) and St. Louis (22 carries, 130 yards, 2 TD). He was also #6 in Yards After Contact Per Attempt (YCo/Att) which put him in some good company. Forsett’s prospects for 2010 depend less on his ability to beat out Julius Jones or Leon Washington and more on Carroll’s willingness to let him loose.
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Posted in: Fantasy Football, News, NFL, Rumors & Gossip
Tags: 2010 fantasy football preview, Arian Foster, Brandon Jacobs, Clinton Portis, Darren Sproles, Fantasy football draft strategy, fantasy football RBs, fantasy football running backs, fantasy football sleeper RBs, fantasy football strategy, Justin Forsett, Michael Bush