Black and Blue all over: The Bears' backfield

July, 8, 2009
7/08/09
7:17
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Discussion of Chicago's backfield is in full swing. In this interview on the team's Web site, running backs coach Tim Spencer suggests he wants tailback Matt Forte to increase his productivity in terms of yards per carry and yards per catch this season.

At the same time, Spencer said, it will be up to coaches to "watch him." I took that to mean the Bears plan to follow through on their plans to curb his playing time a bit after accounting for being on the field for a large majority of the Bears' snaps in 2008.

That number, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times, is 84 percent: Forte was on the field for 84 percent of the Bears' plays in 2009. Biggs suggests that number could go down and predicts a solid training camp battle for depth in the backfield.

Kevin Jones seems assured of the No. 2 spot behind Forte, but it's possible that Garrett Wolfe and Adrian Peterson will be fighting for one roster spot. The Bears' first training camp practice is 23 days away. Yee-haw.

Continuing around the NFC North on a quiet midweek morning:

  • Jo-Ann Barnas of the Detroit Free Press covered the funeral of Lions director of security Ricky Sandoval, who died last week of pancreatic cancer. Former Lions coach Steve Mariucci gave the eulogy.
  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com questions whether the Lions really plan to keep veteran Anthony Henry at cornerback or if he will move to safety.
  • In a chat on the Web site of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Mike Vandermause casts doubt on the Packers' situation at backup quarterback. Vandermause: "If [Aaron] Rodgers goes down early in the season, I think the Packers would be hard-pressed to have a winning season with either [Matt] Flynn or [Brian] Brohm at QB."
  • Yes, it's a slow period. But I still thought this was interesting. In a Presswire release from the Minnesota Chiropractic Association, Vikings linebacker Ben Leber discusses his lifelong visits to chiropractors. His mother was a chiropractor and he often received adjustments as a child.

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