Ill. -- coach Lovie Smith likes his team’s “commitment” to running the
football, but he’s not as pleased about is the team’s inability to do so through
the first three games.
Although the Bears average 101 yards per game on the ground
(16th in the NFL), they seem to be unanimous in their belief that getting the
rushing attack untracked is paramount to the offense moving forward in its
“There’s a commitment to the run and that’s good,” Smith
said. “But we still need to get more production from our running game.”
Running back Matt Forte
averaged 5 yards per carry in the opener against the Indianapolis
Colts, and finished with 80 yards, which ranks as the club’s best individual
rushing performance through the first four games. So although the team has
posted a 6-4 record over the past four years when they generate between 75 and
99 yards on the ground collectively, the Bears are 8-3 in that span with a
Since Smith arrived in 2004, the
Bears have posted a record of 23-9 when one of their rushers puts together a
100-yard performance. Looking back at the team’s 34-18 win over the Cowboys,
Smith wants to see more production from the offensive line.
blocking wasn’t as good as we’d like it to be (against the Cowboys),” Smith
said. “But we’ll keep working on some of those things.”
Added center Roberto Garza:
“It’s time for us to make that next step and get our running game going.”
By stating the desire to do it, the Bears won’t automatically make the
running game improve. Garza said the Bears boosted their performance in the
pass-blocking department against the Cowboys by practicing with more intensity
throughout the week which “showed in our game.” So they’ll have to do something
similar to shore up the run blocking headed into Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.
Garza says it’s “up to us” to make that happen.
“We have to
create movement,” he said. “We have to create those holes for those guys to hit.
We were just a little off this weekend, and we’ve got another week to get ready
Through 16 quarters of action, the Bears produced 11 runs of 10
yards or more with quarterback Jay Cutler being
responsible for two of those. Forte, Michael Bush
Bell accounted for the rest. But of that trio, only Forte averages more than
3 yards per attempt (4.5).
Timing plays a role in some of the struggles,
as well as the health of Forte and Bush. Forte missed time with an ankle injury,
and took a hit early in the game at Dallas that caused him to leave for a few
plays. Forte still might not be 100 percent while Bush has battled through a
Just 29.3 percent of the club’s 75 first downs have
come by way of the rushing attack, and the Bears have averaged 3.5 yards per
attempt or better in just two of the first four games.
“We’re still in
my opinion, not running the ball well,” said offensive coordinator Mike Tice.
“We’re going to continue to run it. We’re going to continue to try and find the
personality that we’re going to have as a run team. I think that it shouldn’t
take that long, but it is. Football wise, that’s the most important thing right
now that we can focus on in this short week: making sure we run the ball
efficiently on first down.”
Just normal soreness in Forte's ankle By Jeff Dickerson |
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears
running back Matt
Forte's sprained right ankle checked out okay after the team returned home
from their 34-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys
on Monday night, according to head coach Lovie Smith.
The Bears next
travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars on Sunday on a short week.
"It was good to see Matt Forte back out there," Smith said. "He didn't
come away with anything other than just normal soreness from a game in his
ankle, even though he went out after that first play."
left the game after he carried the ball eight yards on the Bears first offensive
play from scrimmage to get the ankle re-taped, but re-entered the contest at the
start of the next series. The running back finished the game with 13 rushing
attempts for 52 yards and one reception that went for a three-yard loss.
Forte was on the field for 30 of the club's 55 snaps on offense, while Michael Bush
saw action during 22 plays.
Smith said fullback Evan
Rodriguez (knee) would have sat out practice on Wednesday if the team had
held an official workout instead of a voluntary walk-through. Rodriguez was
inactive last Monday versus the Cowboys after he hurt his knee on the opening
kickoff of the Bears Week 3 win against the St. Louis
Rams.St. Louis Rams