Forte (quietly) underrated

Sorry for the delay in posting new material folks, but never before in all my years covering the league have things been so quiet. Usually, late June and early July are the quietest. That’s when rosters are set and everybody heads off on vacation before training camp. This entire offseason has been eerily quiet because of the lockout.

Players you would normally talk to are keeping quiet because they may not be as up on all the labor issues as they should be and they don’t want to expose themselves. Then there’s the fact that with no free agency, there have been fewer things to ask them about.

“The media is getting desperate to write about anything,” Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said last week at a free health screening for students and their parents in downtown Chicago.

That’s because people like you are still hungry for news, prompting all sorts of charts and lists being produced by football writers. NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan (via ChicagoBears.com) offers the latest example when he breaks down the most underrated players in the league and ranks Bears’ running back Matt Forte, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora and Redskins receiver Santana Moss among them.

Here’s what Kirwan wrote about Forte:

“Forte is an all-around back who lives in the shadows of greats like Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Michael Turner. To appreciate Forte, you really have to look at the total yardage picture and not just the rushing totals. Over the past three years, Forte has gained 4,731 total yards with 25 touchdowns. Steven Jackson has 4,783 yards and 18 touchdowns over the same period of time. Turner has 4,102 yards and 39 scores. Jamaal Charles has 3,981 yards and 17 TDs. Darren McFadden only has 3,050 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“Point being, Forte is every bit the weapon other backs are around the league. However, for some reason, he isn’t on the tip of anyone’s tongue when the great runners are discussed.”

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