Saturday, August 27, 2011
Taylor unsure why he didn't face Titans
By Michael C. Wright
Lovie Smith said the reason Chester Taylor didn't play was the team wanted to take a better look at Kahlil Bell.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chester Taylor benefitted from the NFL's business side in 2010, pulling in $7 million, but on Saturday the running back received what he considers a sobering dose of it.
"That's how the business is, I guess," Taylor said. "I don't know what's going on."
Just minutes after the club returned to the locker room after its pregame warmup for Saturday's matchup with the Titans, Bears running backs coach Tim Spencer informed Taylor he'd be standing on the sidelines for the club's 14-13 loss at LP Field, instead of playing.
Bears coach Lovie Smith explained after the game that Taylor's lack of repetitions came as a result of the team's desire to take a more extensive look at third-year running back Kahlil Bell.
"We wanted to take a look at someone else tonight, in particular, Kahlil Bell," Smith said. "Kahlil hadn't gotten an opportunity to play much. We wanted to take a good look at him, [and] we were able to. I think he did a good job of taking advantage of the carries he got."
Truthfully, Bell has received plenty of opportunities to run the ball throughout the preseason; 28 to be exact. New acquisition Marion Barber, who strained his left calf after running once for 2 yards against the Titans, has run the ball 21 times this preseason.
Taylor, meanwhile, has carried the ball just six times.
"Coach came to me before the game and just said I wasn't playing," Taylor said. "He didn't give me any reason or nothing. So I don't know if it's because of my play or not. It can't be from the competition because it's hard to get three carries in a game while somebody else is getting 14, and you're trying to compare that [to evaluate the running back competition]. So I don't know what it's from."
Taylor signed a four-year, $12 million contract last offseason that included $7 million guaranteed to serve as a complementary back to starter Matt Forte. Although Taylor averaged 2.4 yards per attempt in 2010, the team spoke highly in the offseason of the running back's contributions that didn't necessarily show up on the stat sheets.
Taylor played just six snaps against the New York Giants on Monday night, but offensive coordinator Mike Martz said recently that "Chester is having a heck of a camp."
It's worth pondering whether the team plans to pay Taylor $1.25 million in base salary as a backup with players such as Barber and Bell waiting in the wings. Bell represents a younger and cheaper option, considering he's set to make $525,000 in base salary in 2011. After receiving a $500,000 signing bonus to join the team on Aug. 1, Barber will receive an additional $2 million in base salary for 2011.
"I'm disappointed that I didn't play. I expected to play today," Taylor said. "I practice all week, and they didn't give me a heads up or anything. If it comes to them [making a decision to cut me], so be it. I know this is a business. It is what it is."