"This business is all about what have you done for me lately," said Bell. "I think I did some positive things last year. I also did some negative things."
The negative things were three fumbles, one of which was lost and resulted in a Vikings TD being scored. Bell showed the tendency to keep fumbling early in camp. Running backs coach Tim Spencer has been getting on him to hold the ball.
"I'm staying on him because I'm being real conscious of the way he carries the ball because to me, that's the issue," Spencer said. "He gives great effort and has had an excellent camp otherwise."
Bell is third on the depth chart ahead of former Notre Dame player Armando Allen and former Viking Lorenzo Booker but behind Michael Bush. None of the backup running backs -- or starters for that matter -- will get the chance to show much if the blocking remains like it was in the preseason opener (36 yards). Bell ran for 11 yards and Booker 12.
Allen fits well into the passing game, as he did at Notre Dame.
"I think my skill set is that I'm very versatile," Allen said. "Being that I am the smallest back that we have (5-foot-10, 190 pounds), I think maybe I can get into the open field and do a couple things."
Each of the backups fighting for third back brings something different that could be useful to the team. Besides Allen's receiving, Booker is a kick returner. Harvey Unga, a fullback-running back, has flashed abilities in short-yardage situations. But Bell is more of an all-around type back like starter Forte and backup Bush.
The decision the Bears will need to make around cutdown time is whether to keep three all-around type backs, or possibly three and a specialty back like Allen, Booker, or Unga -- or two and a specialty type. If it's two and a specialty back, then Bell could find his roster spot in trouble.
Another factor working against Bell is that the combined salaries of the other three backs is only slightly higher than Bell's.
"When I'm put on the football field, I make plays," Bell said. "Whether they have plans for me or not is completely up to the coaches.
"I'm just going to do what I always do and they'll decide."