Coming into training camp, it was assumed that the battle for the Chicago Bears' No. 2 running back duties was between second-year back Michael Ford, and rookie back Ka'Deem Carey.
Ford was very impressive in the 2013 training camp and preseason as a kick returner and ball-carrier out of the backfield, while Carey had a decorated college career before being selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2014 draft (and keep in mind that the fourth round is an early pick for a running back these days).
But, Ford was released in the first wave of cuts this year, and never really got a chance to show what he could do in the preseason games. Clearly he had not impressed this time around in camp, most likely in the pass-blocking department which Marc Trestman and Phil Emery have made clear is a primary quality that the Bears want out of Matt Forte's primary backup.
And Carey didn't exactly light it up either. The Arizona Wildcats product averaged just 2.7 yards per carry over 27 rushing attempts, and received just a -2.2 grade from Pro Football Focus (110th out of 128 running backs). Some of the concerns over Carey's measurables (such as just a 4.70 40-yard dash at the Combine) looked like they could indeed be issues for him going forward.
Really, the most impressive all-around back in the preseason for the Bears was veteran back Shaun Draughn, who was an under-the-radar signing over the offseason. The 26-year-old seemed like a longshot to make the roster coming into camp, but appeared to actually be the favorite for the No. 2 running back job going into the final preseason game.
But, it's obvious that the Bears wanted Carey to win the job all along. I mean, when you use a fourth-round pick on a running back, you're expecting that player to at least be your main backup at the position. And Draughn is a veteran that has run for just a 3.7-yard average in his career, so it's not like he's a very dependable option either.
So, Bears head coach Marc Trestman announced on Wednesday that Carey will indeed be the No. 2 running back entering the season:
Bears HC MarcTrestman: 4th-round rookie RB Ka'Deem Carey is the backup to Matt Forte.
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) September 3, 2014
Trestman added that Draughn will be a four-phase contributor on special teams:
Shaun Draughn will play on four special teams unit, per Trestman.The bottom line is that if Forte gets hurt, the Bears appear to have a very bleak running back situation. It would probably turn into a running back by committee approach rather than Carey getting around the same amount of touches that Forte would get.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) September 3, 2014
The good news, of course, is that the Bears' passing game is terrific, and the offense could likely get by with a second-tier running game.
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