Coach John Fox has made it clear he wants the Bears’ offense to become a more run-centric attack and will guide new offensive coordinator Adam Gase accordingly. So that means Matt Forte should see a spike in his 16.3-carries per game average from last season. Forte also takes only so much pride in the 102 catches he had last season, a single-season NFL record for a running back, but also a milestone he understands he achieved because of how constipated the Bears offense was.
“Catching 100 balls,” Forte said, “is not my goal as a running back.”
Said Forte: “If you’re running the ball and you can run it effectively you get to control the clock and keep other offenses off the field. Which is what we want to do. If we can control the game, control the pace of the game, and grind out tough yards and score, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
We currently project Forte for 16.2 carries per game, or 260 for the season. We're not so sure that the Bears will have the luxury of running the ball as much as they'd like. We do expect Forte's receptions to drop -- we currently project him for around 56-57 catches, which is much closer to his career average of 53.4 (in offenses run by someone other than Marc Trestman). New OC Adam Gase utilized C.J. Anderson at a 60-catch pace over the final eight games of last season.
Matt Forte averaged only 7.9 yards per reception last season because he was needed far too often as a check-down safety valve for quarterback Jay Cutler. New Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase likely will expand Forte's receiving responsibilities, using the running back's ability to spread out wide while also featuring his crisp route running and reliable hands.
On the ground, Forte will need more help from his offensive line to better the 3.9 yards-per-carry average he had in 2014. And while his desire for a contract extension has gone ungranted, Forte has handled that personal disappointment with perspective, not letting it diminish his focus or dedication. His professionalism and work ethic should remain terrific examples for the younger backs on the roster.
This won't lead to more receptions than the 102 balls he caught last season under departed OC Marc Trestman, but it should be noted that Gase isn't afraid to use his running backs in the passing game. Bronco running backs accounted for 160 receptions over the past two seasons, so a 60-catch season for Forte is certainly within reach.
Via Blair Sheade of the Chicago Sun-Times, Jay Cutler gathered several teammates at his alma mater of Vanderbilt this week for extra pre-training camp workouts.
Bennett’s presence is significant because he stayed away from all non-mandatory offseason activities in search of a new contract. Most significant is the fact that Cutler managed to get his teammates to join him in Tennessee for non-mandatory workouts that fall beyond the boundaries of the offseason program.
It's a good sign that Cutler is working with his receivers, especially White, who missed some time during OTAs with an undisclosed injury. Cutler’s #15 finish was his highest in the last four seasons. Marc Trestman is gone, and now new OC Adam Gase is running the offense. He had success in Denver in the past two seasons, but Cutler is no Peyton Manning. As long as the season is going relatively well, Cutler should post solid numbers, but if the wheels start to come off, watch out.
Royal got off to a fast start in his first year, catching 91 passes for 980 yards and five touchdowns while Jay Cutler was throwing for a career-high 4,526 yards en route to the only Pro Bowl appearance of his career.
It was the only year that the two men worked together, but both remember it fondly and Royal says they’re putting in the same work now that they did then to build the same chemistry.
Rookie receiver Kevin White was held out of the entire minicamp this week with what John Fox indicated was an undisclosed medical issue. The Bears coach, however, said he fully expects White on the field for the first training camp practice July 30.
"Kevin is doing a good job for us, picking up the offense," Cutler said. "He has a bright future."
An undisclosed injury kept White out of the Bears' minicamp practice Tuesday, coach John Fox indicated.
This raises a few eyebrows at 4for4 headquarters, but we still expect White to start opposite Alshon Jeffery. It's a reminder that rookies carry extra risk since their roles are not defined, especially early in the summer.
“He’s a great player,” Jeffery said, rare praise for a rookie. “He’s an explosive player. We can’t wait for the season. What he’s going to do on the field is going to be great.”
White should start immediately and is a threat to post WR3 (or even WR2) numbers as a rookie. The team is installing a new offense under OC Adam Gase, and QB Jay Cutler hasn't been the model of stability, but there are plenty of targets available for White in Gase's offense.
Saturday, May 9, 2015, 10:13am
“Did a lot of movement today,” Bears WR Kevin White said. “Left side and in the slot on the right side. Slot in the left. So a lot different than college. Just trying to get adjusted. First day. So it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. But I’m learning the system and trying to get better each and every day.
“There’s a lot of information to take for day one. Everything gets thrown at you at one time. So you’ve got to kind of relax and try to take it all in and just learn.”
One of White’s biggest supporters is Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who endorsed White after the wide receiver’s April pre-draft visit to Halas Hall.
“He was outstanding,” Gase said. “He could tell you exactly what the checks were, what him and the quarterback, what page they were on. It was pretty impressive when he came in the building. We really like what he brought to the table, and we look for specific routes, and when we see one or two things, we know they can do the entire tree, so his speed, his body control, the way that he bursts off the ball, all those things we really liked.”
White replaces Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Jets. He has a capable quarterback in Jay Cutler, though he comes in as the clear #2 option to the already established Alshon Jeffery. Marshall averaged 8.2 targets per game last season, but that was with Marc Trestman calling the plays. Gase figures to call a more balanced offense. White is a great talent and should be a fantasy factor as a rookie — just don’t expect WR1-type targets with Jeffery in the mix.
Injuries made it a frustrating year for Marshall owners. His biggest game (5-48-3) came on Sunday night in Week 2 when it looked like he wasn't going to play against the 49ers. Then, when everyone had him back in the lineup for Week 3, he posted one catch for six yards against the Jets. He finished as the #34 PPR receiver, but had the #21 PPG. If fully healthy, he'll be a solid starter, though it's a quarterback downgrade from Jay Cutler to Geno Smith (or whomever ends up starting for the Jets). New OC Chan Gailey did throw the ball 56.6% of the time in his three seasons running the Bills, so the Jets figure to pass it much more than they have in the last few seasons. Marshall's arrival could have a negative impact on Eric Decker's targets, but given the team's relative lack of playmakers and Gailey's positive impact on the pass offense, Decker's value should hold steady.
The Bears are hiring Adam Gase as their offensive coordinator, source said.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Bears QB Jimmy Clausen (concussion, out) has been ruled out for Week 17. Jay Cutler will get the start in what should be an awkward (and likely final) game with HC Marc Trestman.
Bears beat writer Michael C. Wright:
I think the relationship between Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman is broken. So Cutler will be invested, but he’ll also probably be out there doing his own thing as opposed to playing within the confines of Trestman’s system. My expectation is Cutler will play a backyard brand of ball in this last outing.
Oh, this should be good. Trestman is likely on his way out, and Cutler was understandably miffed by being benched, and now the two are in the awkward situation of preparing for a meaningless Week 17 game against a division rival. We like the Minnesota defense as a streaming defense play with Cutler in full "I don't give a s&*t" mode.
In yet another surprise twist in a season full of unpredictability, the Bears announced Monday afternoon that Cutler would start their regular-season finale Sunday against the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The move came in concert with the team’s announcement that Jimmy Clausen has been ruled out for the finale after being diagnosed with a concussion.
Clausen took a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot from Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah on the Bears’ final drive of Sunday’s 20-14 loss at Soldier Field. And while Clausen remained on the field for four more plays – three incompletions and a loss-sealing interception – the Bears said in a news release Monday that the 27-year-old experienced delayed symptoms as a result of the collision.
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.
The offense learned that Monday in a meeting room at Halas Hall when offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer made an emotional and tearful apology for criticizing the quarterback in a private conversation at Soldier Field with an NFL Network reporter last week.
Four sources told the Tribune that Kromer adamantly denied he said anything about the franchise having buyer's remorse for Cutler's blockbuster contract and assured players that portion of Sunday's report on NFL Network did not come from him. With Cutler in the room, Kromer did admit however to being frustrated with the quarterback's play management and expressing that to Ian Rapoport as he left Soldier Field on Dec. 4 after the fifth loss in seven games.
Cutler shook his head during Kromer's apology, one source said.
"I'm still kind of trying to sort my way through this to be honest," one player said. "It's one of the most (messed) up things I have ever seen."
"It's a (messed) up situation," another player said.
The Bears are a mess right now and it's not clear how the team -- specifically Jay Cutler and the offense -- will respond against the Saints this Sunday. It's a great matchup, and garbage time production is always a possibility, but Cutler will be without Brandon Marshall in the lineup, and he's always a risky fantasy start, even in the best of times.
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