Chicago Sun-Times

Forte confident Peterson, Wolfe and can fill void at running back

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Either I missed the story online that is in Saturday's print edition, or somewhere it got lost in the shuffle on the World Wide Web. So here is the unedited version of the story that is or was to be printed in Saturday's paper:

The Bears are going to have to evaluate one of the first goals of their offseason after discovering Friday running back Kevin Jones will miss the season with a torn ligament in his left ankle.

Jones, who they were featuring Thursday against Cleveland at Soldier Field to get a little extra work in before the regular season begins, jumped into the air along the sideline and when he landed on his left foot it buckled. An MRI revealed the damage and he will undergo surgery next week. Rehabilitation is expected to take 10 months, but Jones proved he was a quick healer when he came back from a torn ACL in his right knee last summer.

While he was a luxury addition last year, Jones was headed for an expanded role as Matt Forte's primary backup when he returned with a $3.5 million, two-year contract. Adrian Peterson might have been on the bubble to make the club and now he's a lock for the 53-man roster when it's officially announced later today along with Garrett Wolfe. The Bears could seek a free agent but word around the league was they are content to roll with three backs for now.

``We were anxious to give him a lot of carries and see where he was,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. ``I feel bad for him. He's had a good training camp and I know he was looking forward to getting a chance to make some plays and was excited about playing. You hate to see it.''

The question is whether or not Forte will get off the field. He rarely did last season, participating in 84 percent of the club's offensive snaps, the highest figure for a back in the league. Forte was third in the NFL with 316 rushes, and when you add in 63 receptions, he had 379 touches, most for the Bears since Walter Payton had 434 in 1984. Turner talked on multiple occasions last season about working in others, and the danger now is it will be all talk again. Forte was dogged by a toe injury late last season and the workload wore on him a little bit on his way to setting a rookie franchise record with 1,238 yards.

``It's tough,'' Forte said. ``A.P. has been playing, this is his eighth year, he knows what he's doing too. We've got Garrett too. We don't have any issues with that. We're real confident with both of them getting in the game.''

With Jones heading to injured reserve, the Bears must cut 21 players to reach the limit, and the team is expected to remove cornerback Charles Tillman from the physically unable to perform list. The Bears informed at least the majority of players that will be let go of their fate on Friday. Linebacker Marcus Freeman, the fifth-round pick from Ohio State, was the only casualty from the '09 draft class with guard Lance Louis, a seventh rounder, expected to stick after veteran Dan Buenning is cut. Wide receiver Brandon Rideau was informed he will be cut for the third straight year and is out of practice squad eligibility as Devin Armoashodu and Rashied Davis made the team.

Three days after signing veteran cornerback Rod Hood, the Bears told him he will be leaving but they are loading up at defensive back with durability concerns at corner and an eye toward stocking special teams. Cornerbacks Trumaine McBride and D.J. Moore are expected to make the team. Let go will be Rudy Burgess, Dahna Deleston, Marcus Hamilton and Woodny Turenne. The Bears are expected to keep 10 defensive linemen with tackle Matt Toeaina sticking around following consecutive strong preseason games. Ends Ervin Baldwin and Joe Clermond are expected to be released. Veterans Hunter Hillenmeyer, Jamar Williams and Nick Roach will be reserves at linebacker as Darrell McClover, Kevin Malast and Mike Rivera were informed they're leaving.

Back on offense, fullbacks Jason Davis and Will Ta'ufo'ou will be released with Ta'ufo'ou a good bet for the practice squad. Offensive linemen Cody Balogh, Johan Asiata and Donovan Raiola will also be purged. All three are practice squad candidates. Wide receiver Eric Peterman will be let go and quarterback Brett Basanez is also expected to be waived. With demand high for blocking tight ends, a source close to Michael Gaines said the team could be trying to trade him. We'll know soon.

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You forgot Kinder as an '09 draft class casualty....

So we decided to not keep a third QB so we can have 11 defensive backs, huh? I probably agree with that as a general philosophy, but at the same time the 11 guys we have at DB are nothing to write home about.

So 11 DBs, 10 DL, 6 WRs, 6 LBs, 3 TEs, 4 RBs (counting McKie), 3 specialists, 2 QBs, and 8 OL. Works for me, but we need to be scouring the waiver wire to improve some of those spots. RB, DL, and DB could all be improved with additions from other teams.

Time for DePaul and Angelo to earn their keep again....

not too sold on wolfe and AP as replacements on rotations which means i hope they dont work forte to death cause then they will be in trouble if he goes down.. cutting basanez a good idea.. so why not go out and get a power back im sure there will be lots available!!

The Bears better scan the waiver wires. If a good back RB gets dumped, we should strongly consider it. AP is decent, but I would prefer to get a RB with a little more explosion to back up #22. Wolfe is not near big enough to run inside and does not have the true speed to be a threat on the edge. I dont get why JA and Lovie are so in love with him. Also this whole team will come apart if Tommie goes down again and the front 4 cant push the pocket. A whole bunch of what ifs here... Plus this plan to keep so many DB's??? Are there more injury problems that are unreported? Lets hope it works out...

What does Brandon Rideau have to do to make this team? Seriously.

Agreed achilles, Forte is doing the company line by saying that, they didn't work Forte to death last year for any stupid reason. Now we are in exactly the same boat with exactly the same rowmen. Too bad about Jones I really liked his effort! But what now? Work Forte to death again?

Let's take a FAIR (and quick) analysis of the NFC North this upcoming season, shall we?

BEARS: Pros- Elite LB corps/Excellent 3rd Phase production/Versatile Top 10 RB & Top 10 franchise QB; Cons- "Soft" secondary (banged up too)/Unproven WRs/Inconsistent pass rush; Breakout Player- Greg Olsen(TE)

PACKERS: Pros- Deep receiving corps/Potent, top 10 QB/intense QB pressure & good corners; Cons- unreliable QBs after Rodgers (Brohm?)/alot of key injuries on D/Kampmann's grasp of the 3-4 (slow transition); Breakout Player- B.J. Raji(NT)

VIKINGS: Pros- HOF QB, enviable depth at the positon/Top 10 2nd Phase ranking/the #1 rated RB ("All Day"); Cons- same HOF QB's durability/Poor special teams play/Williams Wall legal issue (affects W-L total); Breakout Player- Percy Harvin(WR)

Lions: Pros- Solid QB backup (whether it's Culpepper or Stafford/Decent WR & TE (Johnson & Pettigrew)/Addition of veteran LB (Sims); Cons- Terrible OL/Anemic DL & Unknown 1st Phase overall/NOT respected at all (0-16 in '08) in anyone's schedule; Breakout Player- Matthew Stafford(QB)

NOTE: I acknowledge that there are strengths & weaknesses I "may" have missed (like the fact that each team have promising rookies & reliable veterans/journeymen). However, what I have written is what most pundits agree with. For whatever that's worth (lol). Let's just remember that ANYBODY'S predictions are hardly ever right in the NFL. Okay?

Just saw that the Bills cut Dominic Rhodes. Wouldn't mind seeing him on the Bears.
Also, for what it's worth, if the Vikes end up getting rid of Tavarius Jackson, I'd love to see the Bears sign him - not only is he a backup with starting experience, the Bears could pick his brain during Vikings weeks.

When are the Bears going to stop specializing in picking players with troubled injury histories? On top of that Freeman, Hood boy Jerrys kids sure have an eye for talent.

If they get rid of Basanez & Gaines, that leaves room on the roster for another player. They could keep both Steltz and Bullocks, but I think it's more likely for them to cut one of them and pick up someone else - maybe a RB, QB, or S. Or I guess they could cut both and pick up a new S and another player.

Watching the Vikings/Cowboys game, the commentators were pointing out stand out players the Vikings will need to cut from their DB's Perhaps Jerry can "steal" a quality DB the Vikings will try to hide on the practice squad? Both Vasher and Mcbride scare the hell out of me if the Bears have to rely on either of them .

I don't know about the rest of you guys but i can really see wolfe becoming our very own version of Sproles in SD. it will be a nice change-up that Turner can throw into the mix (much more of a change-up than KJ, all though i'm definitely upset about the injury and would much rather have had him for this season). AP will be our trusty #3 as he has always been, and i for one am glad he will make the team. he's a force on special teams as we all know. I'm psyched to see what Wolfe can do for this offense and I think the coaches are pretty excited too.
definitely disappointed about Rideau. I was really hoping he would beat out aromashadu. it is what it is. Cutler likes him and obviously so does jerry, turner, and co. so let's just hope they made the right call! i'm ready for some football, go BEARS!

I'd give Wolfe four games.

If he can't handle the job, then it's time to cut the lifeline on "project little boy" and bring in someone like Alexander.

I hope he proves me wrong.

I am disappointed with Rideau not making the team over Davis. I think Wolfe can add a spark to the offense, but not with Turner at the controls. Can we imagine getting Mike Shanahan as offensive coordinator? I like Lovie, but he NEVER should have let Ron Rivera go as defensive coordinator. I'm glad we're keeping a bunch of DBs, but wish we could could've gotten someone in the offseason besides just Bullocks. Hope Peanut gets back to health quickly and Bowman can turn his career around and stay healthy. I'm just stoked going to the Bears vs Seahawks game out here!

Angelo's problem in the draft & free agency, is his philosophy: which is high-risk, high-reward (mostly risk so far). He favors speedy, undersized D-linemen & Veterans who have a decent to good track records, BUT may have lost a step to injury or age (Jones, Pace, Buenning, Hood, etc). He overpays some players who flashed brief success & forces them to be undumpable (i.e. Vasher & Anderson), which results in the release of better players like Berrian. Sticks with draft picks taken in the 5th round or higher 4 too long (after it is plain that they aren't producers, like Bradley, McBride, or Benson). Also, he is indecisive or optimistic about player's best roles (Hester, Manning, Idonije, & Graham). AND has a habit of picking up playmakers with health issues (Brown, Tillman, or Bowman).

But to his credit, he can trade fairly well sometimes & keeps a united, clean house (got rid of problem players like Tank or Benson & got Cutler, Knox in the trade) - not that I've forgotten about Thomas Jones however. Of note lately, he has broken form his usual good-intentioned failures by releasing Hood & Freeman.

Look, the point is when the guy's method works, it works (Hester, Harris, Forte,.Briggs, etc), BUT the wait between successes is too great or short-lived. So, either he tweaks it more or changes it all together, is all that I'm saying.

superfan, I agree with some of your assessments but I can not agree on losing Berrian. He was overpaid by Minnesota. He can not be paid better than everyone on offense if he isn't the best on offense. Eventually the Vike will see that too. He got all those millions to do less than he did in Chicago. That's why the Vikes will ask him to take a pay cut like they did Bobby Wade. He can't throw to himself. Look at all the millions that Favre signed for. What's left for the disgruntled who actually is a better than a one-dimensional player like Berrian? He can't block in the running game. He still is a wreck catching in traffic. How many times have you seen a DB wrestle the ball away from him? And when Peterson's contract is up something will have to give.

I think they will do okay as replacements but have to be used more than they were last year. Perhaps with a better offenseine line and an offense that gets a good lead occasionally, Forte won't be needed so badly and can get a little rest. A.P. should see that the writing is on the wall and that he has to play with the determination he showed in the preseason games. Wolfe will be okay if the offensive coordinater uses him correctly. He needs special plays designed specifically for his abilities. As an all-purpose back, he's not good enough.

The main reason that Forte got so much work last year is that Kyle didn't have skills to go down field. He was and will be a great safety valve but won't get the same work. He also won't be facing the same 8 man fronts as last year and both Wolfe and AP will also benefit. They really could use a back that can bring the thunder though.

Go sign Ian Johnson right now! He is a better runner than Wolfe, Peterson and Kevin Jones!!!!! Go Bears!

I agree Plank46!!!

I'd "sequester" Ian Johnson in a Lake Forrest Condo somewhere, give him a PLAYBOOK, (ask him about The Vikes Playbook LOL), and tell him to stay loose because A.P. And Wolfe will probably not be sufficient RB's(They BOTH are primarily special teams players now. Plus Wolfe's small stature and the reminder of AP dropping(EASY) passes out of the backfield last year, coupled with the slowness in which he hits the hole at times, will become quite evident after a few games.

It's a "No-brainer" that the Bears will be looking for a "Factor back" by week 3...

I don't think they will be looking for a back by week three.

They are probably look for one right now.

I don't think for a moment this team really intends on keeping 11 DBs throughout the season. The only reason they have so many right now -- I think -- is in case Tillman is not ready.

If all systems are go, I would expect the team to add another RB by the end of the first week, if not this week.

I don't htink for a moment they trust Wolfe as a primary backup, and AP has proven he is best when limited to under five touches per game.

I thought they had looked into Rhodes in the past, so he might be a serious option. As far as Johnson, he may be the guy they are holding the last PS spot for. He would be wise to go to a place where he could end up on the active roster pretty quickly.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 5, 2009 9:23 AM.

Bears release fifth-round pick Marcus Freeman was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears make final cuts; move 3 players to injured reserve is the next entry in this blog.

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