Road to Bourbonnais: More Forte in 2013

July, 16, 2013
7/16/13
1:51
PM ET
Matt Forte Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireMatt Forte hopes to be a bigger factor in the Bears offense this season.
The Chicago Bears brought in another weapon on offense for quarterback Jay Cutler in tight end Martellus Bennett, and there’s got to be at least some desire on the team’s part to see a repeat performance of Brandon Marshall's 2012 record-breaking season.

That’s why it would seem difficult for the Bears to find a way to incorporate more Matt Forte into the offense in 2013, but that’s the plan under Marc Trestman. More than likely, the team will be able to pull it off.

"I would expect (to be used more in 2013). Coach Trestman, I think he said he watched a lot of film on me and has seen me run different routes," Forte said back in May. "So we'll get back to catching the ball out of the backfield like we did the prior years."

The addition of Marshall prior to the 2012 season certainly caused a dip in production for Forte. Forte gained 1,434 yards from scrimmage in 2012 (1,094 rushing and 340 receiving), and while those numbers indicate a productive season, the running back rushed for 100 yards or more in just three games.

Forte finished second in receptions (44), but caught 74 fewer passes than Marshall (119). Forte's 44 catches in 2012 represented a career low. In the four previous years, he averaged nearly 56 catches.

"I think last year was basically the only time that happened. Before that, I actually was running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield, had multiple catches," Forte said. "Last year was the only (a reduction) in catches. Brandon had a lot of catches, and everybody else really didn't have a whole lot. We were kind of one-dimensional last year I would say. (There’s) gonna be an emphasis for us this year to spread the ball around so that it works, it's balanced.”

To achieve that balance, the offense needs to run through Forte. Once opposing defenses gear up to stop him, that’s when Cutler can work the magic with Marshall, Bennett and the rest of the receiving corps.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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