Bears RB Matt Forte ready, willing and hopefully able
Good news for Bears fans: they should see running back Matt Forte take quite a few handoffs from quarterback Jay Cutler on Sunday against the Seahawks at Soldier Field. Forte's ankle injury has improved and he expects to play.
After practicing on a limited basis for a second straight day on a sprained right ankle, running back Matt Forte said he expects to play Sunday.
That's welcome news for an offense that is expected to emphasize the run behind an in-flux offensive line, whose ability to pass protect remains in question.
Only two offensive linemen -- left tackle J'Marcus Webb and center Roberto Garza -- will be in the same positions Sunday as they were just two weeks ago. That's OK with Forte.
"It doesn't change my approach at all," he said. "You've just got to trust those guys up front. They're getting a lot of reps in practice, so they know what to do in the game and, if we make mistakes in the game, then go to the sideline and make adjustments so that we don't continue to make them."
Forte is averaging just 14.3 carries per game this season, partly because he's missed one full game and parts of two others with two separate injuries to the same ankle. But he welcomes a heavier workload and believes a stronger commitment to the run will help the O-line.
"They can come off the ball instead of pass blocking, where you lose ground and take a step back," he said. "You can come off the ball, and you don't have to worry about people blitzing and where they're coming from."
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice was impressed with the professionalism shown by Gabe Carimi last week after the right tackle lost his starting job.
"He came to me and acted with great maturity," Tice said. "Of course he was not happy that he got sat down for a little bit. But I told him, 'You've got to keep yourself in the game.' Originally, he was disappointed and upset. "But he bounced back and he understands this is a business and when performance is not up to expectation or performance is not up to a winning level then changes have to be made, and that's the way it goes. But I was glad that it kept in a good mind frame and went in there and did a nice job."
When injuries sidelined starting guards Lance Louis and Chris Spencer on Sunday, Carimi, the 2011 first-round pick, wound up being thrust in at right guard, a position he had never played. He's expected to start there this week.
To each his own:
Quarterback Jay Cutler has had some good-natured fun at the expense of Brandon Marshall because of his go-to receiver's fixation on his stats. So Cutler was asked what stats he pays attention to.
"Eight-and-three; that's the only thing," he said, noting the Bears' won-loss record. "I couldn't tell you one stat. 'B' obviously is well-schooled on his stats; not only his stats, but every other receiver in the league, so he's got it down pat. That's receivers for you. The good ones are all like that. They want the ball, and they want the ball a lot."
Wide receiver Devin Hester (concussion) and guard Chris Spencer (knee) have both been ruled out for Sunday and did not practice Thursday.
As part of his normal routine, linebacker Brian Urlacher (coach's decision) did not practice, nor did wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (knee). Cornerback Charles Tillman, linebacker Lance Briggs, running back Matt Forte and tight end Kellen Davis were all limited with ankle injuries. Defensive tackle Stephen Paea and guard Edwin Williams, who both have shoulder injuries, were full participants.
Two Seahawks starters, defensive end Red Bryant (foot) and linebacker LeRoy Hill (ankle), did not practice Thursday.
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