Enough is finally enough for the Chicago Bears.
After weeks of offensive futility, the team has benched starting quarterback Jay Cutler in favor of backup Jimmy Clausen prior to Sunday's contest against the Detroit Lions, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to two sources informed of the situation.
Cutler owners who are still alive are going to have to find another option this week, and Clausen isn't an attractive start. He has a career 5.2 YPA and it's a difficult matchup against the Lions. It's a downgrade for the entire offense, including Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. On the flip side, the Lions defense is still a very strong play in Week 16.
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The only thing that would be better for him would be if he was talking about his own team instead of this week's opponent. The Bears will see a squad committed to the run when they host DeMarco Murray and the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night.
"It's impressive to see," said Forte, who made it clear Monday he wants more carries.
Last week, he had just five for six yards, and the Bears (5-7) ran only eight times in a loss at Detroit that all but guaranteed they will miss the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.
The Bears have been struggling all season in just about every phase, something they did not envision.
A team that ranked second in the NFL in scoring last season has taken a big step back in Year 2 under coach Marc Trestman, with the Bears failing to produce more than 28 points in a game.
Only three times this season has Forte attempted more than 19 rushes. In four games, he has finished with 13 or fewer. And the five carries against the Lions matched a career low he set against Arizona in 2009 and Kansas City in 2011, the story said. Fortunately, Forte is a big factor in the passing game. He has 78 catches and three TDs receiving this year and continues to be one of the better PPR running backs.
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Foster has caught 24 passes on those routes for 166 yards, which ranks 13th in the league among running backs. Foster also has two receiving touchdowns, more than all running backs except Ahmad Bradshaw, Forte and Marshawn Lynch.
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Bears RB Matt Forte (not injury related) was removed from the injury report Friday. There was no mention of the minor hand injury that Forte suffered in Week 5, so he’s good to go for a great matchup with a leaky Falcons rush defense.
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Bears RB Matt Forte (not injury related) did not practice Wednesday. Forte is just getting a day of rest, though he did bang his hand in Week 5. We’ll monitor his practice activity throughout the week.
Trestman said Carey “got up to speed very quickly” this preseason.
“We don’t really know how it will transition to the real deal on Sunday and the weeks to come,” Trestman said. “But he’s learned the right at this point to have the first shot.”
Shaun Draughn is no longer the correct handcuff for Forte. Owners should pick up Carey instead.
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The team is searching for two players to back up Matt Forte and waiting for runners to separate themselves.
‘‘We haven’t been productive,’’ coach Marc Trestman said. ‘‘We’re playing against a very good front during practice, but we haven’t shown that productivity. We hope that’s not an indication.’’
Ka’Deem Carey has 23 carries but just 59 with one TD in the preseason. Shaun Draughn, the veteran, does have NFL experience but isn't a guy the team spent a draft pick on so he may not have that extra edge Carey likely does.
Shaun Draughn was the first back to get action behind Matt Forte for the second straight game. He’s been listed as the No. 2 on the depth chart that is worth about as much as the paper it is printed on. But Draughn has bounced around enough to know he hasn’t nailed down anything just yet.
“I don’t have the No. 2 job so I don’t have it to lose,” he said. “I’m gunning to make the team. No. 2 or No. 3 it doesn’t matter. When I make the team, I will help wherever they want me.”
Draughn carried the ball three times for 33 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards. A 14-yard reception was wiped out by a holding penalty against left tackle Jermon Bushrod. He’s clearly ahead of fourth-round pick Ka’Deem Carey right now even though the 26-year-old Draughn doesn’t have a whole lot of NFL experience to draw from.
Draughn doesn't have much standalone value, but Matt Forte owners (or those that want to mess with the Forte owner in their league) may want to consider Draughn in the final rounds as a handcuff.
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