Chicago Sun-Times

Bears bringing Matt Forte along slowly after hamstring pull in OTAs

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--The Bears don't have any major concerns when it comes to the hamstring muscle that Matt Forte pulled back in June during the third week of OTA's, but they're also being cautious.

That is why the running back was held out of inside run drills during practice Saturday night. He's been getting a lighter load as they work to bring him along slowly and smartly, and that's given the slimmed down Kevin Jones and Garrett Wolfe some more opportunities, as well as Adrian Peterson. Jones busted off a great move in the open field Saturday.

"He had that injury late in the OTAs, so we're just kind of trying to watch that and limit his reps a little bit,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said.

The next practice starts in an hour. We'll have some Twitter updates (BradBiggs) from the field after it gets going.

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I wouldn't push Forte. The guy knows the offense, he came in as a rookie and didn't miss a beat. I would definitely keep his workload to a minimal during the pre-season. Maybe in the third pre-season game [which is basically a tune-up for the starters] I'd give him a couple drives, but guy's like Kevin Jones, and especially Garrett Wolfe, need the reps. Jones and Wolfe should get the bulk of the carries throughout the pre-season.

I see tight end Greg Olsen is building a heck of a rapport with Cutler, Olsen may be headed for a break out season. I look for him to have around 70-80 catches and make the pro-bowl, and this isn't Kevin Bumstead talking either, this is Kevin Armstead, and you can quote me on that one. "Greg Olsen will make the pro-bowl this season" GO BEARS!!

I'm predicting a great season for Kevin Jones this year. He's healthy and motivated.

Greg Olsen will not be worthy of making the Pro Bowl if he doesn't block a lot better than he has been, I don't care how many passes he catches. Blocking is the fundamental job of a tight end; catching passes comes second. Otherwise, what's the point of having a tight end, he might just as well be another receiver? The idea is that he's supposed to do both.

You know which other TE who doesn't block well?

Tony Gonzalez.....

Greg Olson will make the the Pro Bowl.

dalllas clark doesnt block all that well either.

Well Kevin he has a heck of a shot with Cutler throwing to him. I would still like to see him hit the gym harder. The guy could be faster and stronger than he is now if he wanted to be. It's been the big knock on him, he is a natural athlete that does not like to give the extra effort. Like blocking.

Here is something for you to think about Kevin sense I know you like stuff like this. The big question is how will the Bears recievers do under Cutler. If he had a guy like Steve Smith(CAR), Smith would probably have a career year but his performance would probably not increase a ton because it is already way up there to begin with. Not a lot of room to grow so to speak. Will Olsen, who is the best reciever on the team, but has been under used as a TE do to his poor blocking and is not on the field as much as he should be because of this and looses out on being a checkdown in short yardage be the man this year? I don't think so.

Now a guy like Bennett will easily see the biggest gains percentage wise, but it's not hard to improve on zero. He is not a Split End and is being asked to play a position he is not good at as a reciever, so not the man either.

Now Hester is the most intresting as usual, but is also the biggest boom or bust factor. He is not a number one reciever, he has speed and can run a rout now. His timing has even improved, but he has a few big problems. He can be easily jammed, he hates contact, he will not win a lot of jump balls and he will not battle for the ball. He also has bad hands and as Bowman and Vasher have proved in camp, he does not like to tuck the ball. He is a threat deep and should be much better after the catch this year seeing as he will be getting hit in stride rather than coming back to the ball. Will improve but not the man.

I don't think Olsen will be the man this year in terms of receptions. If the Bears offense under Turner does what it usually does I excpect we will see them throw the ball between 520 and 540 times this year(2008 528). Olsen had 54 receptions last year, he did disapoint me with his 10.6 yard average, but I excpect that to go up, again being hit in stride. Forte had 63 rec last year, and I excpect that may stay the same or a little less around 50 receptions while smith gets some playing time. Cutler will go through his progressions and look down field a lot more than Orton did who checked down to Forte way to often. But 80 receptions to a TE seems pretty high to me. He is not Sharpe after all.

Cutler tends to spread the ball around, and even though Olsen is his best target he still likes to look down field. I am gonna say 60-65 receptions with about a 12-13 yard average for around 750 yards. People are also over looking Clark who will have a solid year. Hester should have around 60-70 catches for around 950 yards which I think the Bears would love. Bennett will probably only see about 40 receptions for about 500 to 600 yards but that is a huge improvment for him. Cutler needs one legit reciever like a Smith or Ward and he does not have it on this team.

I do not think you will see a huge jump in receptions as some think, I think you will see a modest to solid jump in receptions but a bigger jump in YPC and TD's. My surprise player is Knox who will replace Davis at some point in the slot and give the team more speed and about 35-40 receptions for about 12 yards a catch and 400 yards.

However as for who will be the man on offense this year. I think it's plain as day. It will be Cutler not a reciever or a TE or even Forte who will get used more and more like Craig, who he plays very much like.

Creighton, I agree with most of your assessment, and I totally agree with the Forte to Craig comparison.

As far as Olsen, I think after a few 20 yard plus receptions, his yardage will start to add up, I look for him to be somewhere in the 850-900 range, yardage wise. That alone should earn him a pro-bowl spot.

And Creighton, Im impressed with the shout out you gave to one of the Bears younger players like Knox. But Davis could surprise being back in his more natural position and having a quarterback like Cutler gunning him the ball, I wouldn't write him off just yet. I heven't really heard how any of the younger receivers are doing, but I still like 7th rounder Derek Kinder, we'll see how it all folds out the next couple of weeks here GO BEARS!!

I hate news like an injury to Forte. He is such an integral part of the offense that he's almost as important as Cutler. I'm glad that Jones is finally healthy, and he certainly can fill in pretty well, but let's face it; he is no Matt forte. Wolfe is also in the wings,but a Forte absence is bound to hurt. The defenses can play a lot more recklessly if he is not a threat to run or catch a flat pass.Extreme caution regarding him should be the watchword of the preseason.

Forte should sit if he is the least bit sore. The last thing they need is a gimpy Forte coming out of camp.

As much as I miss them, the Lombardi days are over. With the current length of the NFL season, if you beat your players up during training camp and the preseason, you will finish the season 1-6. The successful teams are the ones who have the most left in Novemeber and December. Using all the tread on the tire in August may win September, but probably earns a long off-season and the 16th pick.

I think the Bears coaching and training staff has really improved over Lovie's tenure in the way they handle the offseason and preseason. They get the players in shape in the offseason (Harrison missed the memo and see what happened?). Then they teach during the preseason. When a starting or veteran player has enough reps, they ease off and work down the depth chart instead of using players up when it is meaningless.

Remember a couple years ago when it seemed like everybody started the season with a hamstring injury? They are doing better.

Why did they not bring in another RB or 2 to handle the load in camp? Kevin Jones is gonna get beat up if he is taking the bulk of the carries in the run drills. Im just surprised there is not another back there to help out besides Peterson and Wolf.

In order for Olsen to make the Pro Bowl, he'll have to learn how to break a few tackles and gain some yardage after the catch. Seemed like last year he was way too easy to bring down for a big tight end.

I really want Olsen to do well this year. I can't remember him breaking a tackle at all last year and he has a lot of DBs covering him. I watched a game last night on WOW! On Demand( New Orleans) and a DB brought him down every time without help. He doesn't seem to keep his legs driving on contact. Things like that and his blocking breaks the spirit of confidence more than anything. The other TEs you guys mention that don't block at least are real beasts when it comes to receptions and breaking tackles. The guy is huge. He is bigger in person than most of our D line was at an event I attended in the off season.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 2, 2009 2:08 PM.

Passing fancy II: From one ex-Bears quarterback to another was the previous entry in this blog.

Wildcat crazy: Notes from Saturday's afternoon practice is the next entry in this blog.

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