LAKE FOREST — Running back Chester Taylor is one of the quietest Bears. Through the first eight games this season, he has been that way on and off the field.
LAKE FOREST — Running back Chester Taylor is one of the quietest Bears.
Through the first eight games this season, he has been that way on and off the field.
“I can do more,” he answered, quietly. “I’m just trying to help this team win.”
Taylor came to the Bears from Minnesota during the offseason. After starting tailback Matt Forte struggled at times last year, the plan seemed to be to use Taylor as a change-of-pace back, but to give him a chance to earn more carries with his play.
He got the ball 25 times for 89 yards in a two-week stretch against the Panthers and Seahawks, but has carried it just 32 times for 99 yards in the other six games. He has 33 yards on 13 carries in the two games that sandwiched the bye week, though he did score his first TD as a Bear in last week’s 22-19 win over the Bills. It happened to be the first time Chicago has scored from the 1-yard-line in its first 11 tries.
You would think he would be ready for that one breakout game this weekend when his former team, the Vikings, come to town for a key NFC North matchup Sunday.
If he is, he is keeping it quiet.
“They are my ex-brothers. When you’re around guys for four years, you kind of get some type of connection with them,” Taylor said. “And it’s always a special game playing against a team you knew for four years.”
Last year, while giving Adrian Peterson breathers, he had 389 yards and a touchdown reception as well as 338 yards and a score on the ground. The Vikings started 10-1 and went to the NFC Championship game, where they lost 31-28 in overtime to eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans.
Taylor had six carries and three receptions for a combined 46 yards in his last game with Minnesota. Not a bad workload, but some now say not enough.
“I still say Chester was very underused here last year,” Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre said in Wednesday’s teleconference. “It was my first year, but his ability to play really a wideout position, run screens from a halfback position and just his overall feel for the game and blocking responsibilities were as good as any of the guys I’ve ever played with at that position.”
There is one main reason Taylor was underused, and expendable, while in Minnesota: Peterson.
“He’s the best player on that team as far as I’m concerned. First of all, you have to stop him,” Bears nickel back D.J. Moore said. “If you don’t stop Adrian Peterson then you’re going to have a lot of trouble with Favre and all the rest of it.”
Forte has gained 3.9 yards a carry (401 yards on 104 rushes) and has 29 receptions for 315 yards with six total touchdowns. But some may say Taylor is still being underused.
“Some might; I wouldn’t,” the still-quiet Taylor said. “I’ll take what I can get.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz would not go as far as to say he’ll give Taylor more carries just because he’s playing against his old team this weekend. But he did admit that the team may try to help him get hot because Taylor should be extra pumped up for this game.
“It’s a special game for him, and we want to make that special for him as well,” Martz said of Taylor. “There is nothing he can’t do. He’s a physical back when he needs to be, he’s such a load, and he hits those little creases and he blows them up.
“We’ll be ready to use him.”
And he’ll be ready to go if they do.
“It’ll feel good,” Taylor added quietly, “to hit some big plays against them.”
Jay Taft covers the Chicago Bears for the Rockford Register Star. He can be reached at 815-987-1384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.