Running amok

What's wrong with Forte? Don't ask

September 23, 2009, 2:28 PM

By: Jeff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- "I just like how you guys all ask the same question fifteen times. Anybody want to ask about how we won last week or how it was good to come back and win that game, or no? It's just about the run game?"

Yep.

Much to the dismay of Olin Kreutz, Wednesday's pre-practice focus centered on Matt Forte's surprisingly low 2.2 yards-per-carry average. There is no reason to panic over Forte's slow start -- please remember he ran for 1,238 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie. His talent didn't suddenly disappear, but there are several logical reasons that explain a stagnant run game.

All have been well documented this week: (1) caliber of opponent, (2) lack of late game leads that would require the Bears to chew up yards on the ground, (3) a Pro Bowl quarterback who likes to throw (4) an offensive line still coming together and (5) Forte just hasn't run that well in the early going.

All make perfect sense -- especially pointing out the offensive line has three new starters. Has it taken longer than expected for Forte to adjust to the new personnel and styles up front?

"I don't think my adjustment is taking longer," the running back said. "I think maybe they're just trying to get acclimated to the game speed together, and how they jell together. Because that takes a little time, a lot of game reps before they know how each other plays."

Perhaps Seattle is a perfect time for the line to jell together. The Seahawks did after all get torched by Frank Gore last week, although the Bears have been quick not to assume Gore's success will automatically equal a big day for Forte.

"We'll see," said Jay Cutler. "They put a lot of guys in the box, they roll safeties down and get a lot of guys down there. They were a little beaten up against San Francisco, missing their middle linebacker, one of their defensive linemen, so we'll see how the game goes."

If Seattle is still banged up this weekend, I have a feeling it will go very well for Forte. Just a hunch.

Note: Nobody ever will question Matt Hasselbeck's toughness, but even Cutler finds it hard to believe a quarterback can play with a cracked rib.

"I can't imagine," said Cutler, "I've never had one [a cracked rib]. I've had bruised ribs and been sore, but as much torque as you put on your body throwing the ball, and your hips and stuff, it would be tough. It would be really tough."

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