LeGere: Forte too important to ignore

  • The Bears' Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown with Matt Slauson in the second half of Sunday's 27-14 loss to the Dolphins at Soldier Field. Forte scored twice.

    The Bears' Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown with Matt Slauson in the second half of Sunday's 27-14 loss to the Dolphins at Soldier Field. Forte scored twice. Associated Press

Updated 10/20/2014 11:56 PM

Aside from the overblown media reaction to Brandon Marshall's locker-room blowup after Sunday's loss to Miami, there are some real problems facing a 3-4 Bears team staring 3-6 straight in the face because of upcoming games at New England and Green Bay. Both the Patriots and the Packers are 5-2.

Offensive play-calling:


Matt Forte had just 2 carries Sunday during the first first half in which the Bears were blanked under coach Marc Trestman.

An even better indication of the two-time Pro Bowl running back's importance to the offense: Forte had 10 carries and a total of 12 touches on the Bears' only two scoring drives. He scored both touchdowns, on a pass and on a run. On the Bears' seven other possessions, which produced just 71 yards, Forte had 2 carries and a total of 6 touches.

"We only ran 18 plays (in the first half)," Trestman said. "We didn't convert on third down (2 of 6) to roll anything over (for a new set of downs)."

Trestman said there were four other runs called in the first half that gave quarterback Jay Cutler the option to throw, and all four resulted in passes.

"We threw it a little bit more early, but that wasn't the plan," Trestman said. "The plan was to do it the way we did it in the third quarter."

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That was a 12-play, 80-yard drive that featured 7 Forte runs and ended with Forte's 10-yard TD catch.

"That's what we went back to doing," Trestman said. "We took some of the options off, and we handed the football off, and we got more of what we would expect of our offense -- a good, solid drive."

The lesson learned? If Cutler doesn't make better decisions, don't give him an option.

Kyle Fuller's health:

The rookie cornerback is one of the few players who have exceeded expectations.

He stepped in for two-time Pro Bowler Charles Tillman, and there hasn't been a noticeable drop-off in the Bears' pass defense. But Fuller suffered a hip pointer and a broken hand against the Dolphins. He returned briefly but did not finish the game.

The Bears and Fuller contend it was the hip injury, not the hand, that prevented him from finishing, which could be a good sign that he won't miss much time.


"He said he felt good (Monday), but it'll be day to day," Trestman said. "I don't know that the hand will deter him. That's what I understand at this time.

"It sounded to me that the hand wasn't the reason that he came back out. It was the hip."

The Bears will feel it if Fuller is unavailable for either of the next two games.

Lineup changes:

With three backups starting at linebacker, the Bears allowed a season-low 287 yards at Atlanta. With Shea McClellin and D.J. Williams back in the lineup -- along with Khaseem Greene, who started both games -- the defense yielded 393 yards to the Dolphins.

"Overall I thought the guys played hard, and they always do," Trestman said of the linebacker play in general. "I think that's really all I can say at this point."

That's hardly an endorsement, and it's obviously not just about the linebackers, but the group that started Sunday is not the "A" team.

"Our players are being evaluated each and every week," Trestman said. "If we see any reason to make changes we'll do that."

The Dolphins game was full of reasons.

In the Falcons game, Darryl Sharpton was clearly a physical presence. He played against the Dolphins only in nickel but still had more tackles than any other linebacker. He has earned more playing time.

Lance Briggs (ribs) and Jon Bostic (back) could return Sunday at New England, which should improve the situation.

On the other side of the ball, Michael Ola has impressed coaches with his fill-in work at left guard and left tackle. It might be time to give him a shot at right tackle, where Jordan Mills is struggling.

• Follow Bob's Bears and NFL reports on Twitter@BobLeGere.

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