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Where does Forte rank among Bears' backs?

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Larry discusses where Matt Forte ranks among the best running backs in Bears history, if it will be tougher to replace Jay Cutler or Lance Briggs, and the chances of the Bears playing in London next year.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

It's my personal opinion that Matt Forte is the best Bears running back since Walter Payton. Where would you rank him among players at his position in team history?

Steve D.
Deerfield, Illinois

If we're talking all-time Bears running backs, you have to put Hall of Famers Walter Payton and Gale Sayers at the top of the list. I put Sweetness ahead of Sayers, but I may be biased because I grew up watching and cheering for Walter. (Not having seen Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski, I don't feel qualified to rank them, though they're obviously both in the Hall of Fame for a reason.) I would have to say that Matt Forte is in a dead heat for third on the list with Neal Anderson, who I feel is the most underrated player in Bears history. He was an excellent running back for a fairly long period of time, but wasn't truly appreciated because he immediately followed Payton. Forte is bigger, but he reminds me a lot of Anderson in terms of his explosiveness, quickness, elusiveness and ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Interestingly, Forte is 307 yards from passing Anderson for second on the Bears' all-time rushing list behind Walter.

Who will the Bears miss more: Jay Cutler or Lance Briggs?

Dave F.
Owings, Maryland

You can make a case that Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs are the Bears' best players on their respective sides of the ball, so they're obviously going to miss both a great deal. But if you look at the backups who will be replacing them and how the offense and defense have fared so far this season, I think it's pretty clear that the Bears will have a more difficult time overcoming the loss of Briggs. And that's no reflection on Cutler. It has more to do with the fact that Josh McCown played very well against the Redskins and is capable of stepping in and operating the offense efficiently. But there are no experienced linebackers on the roster to fill in for Briggs.

I read recently that the Bears may play in London next year. Do you think that will happen?

John L.
Midlothian, Illinois

No, the Bears will not play in London next season. The NFL announced this week that three games will take place at Wembley Stadium in 2014 between the Cowboys and Jaguars, Lions and Falcons, and Dolphins and Raiders.

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