Not all of the improvement and change in the 2013 Bears offense trace to coach Marc Trestman, assistants Aaron Kromer and Matt Cavanaugh, and their upgrade over Mike Tice and Jeremy Bates.
It wasn’t strictly Tice’s offensive plan that was sending nearly 45 percent of Jay Cutler’s passes in the direction of Brandon Marshall.
Matt Forte said this offseason that the offense last year was “one-dimensional. The reasons that is no longer the case lie not only in the mind of Trestman, but in Cutler’s as well.
“I would say a mix of both,” said Forte, currently tied with Marshall with 15 receptions through two games. “Jay’s confident in this offense and there’s a lot of calls in the past where he wouldn’t be as confident, seven-step drops and things like that.
[RELATED: Peppers, Tillman both expected to play]
“With upgrades on the offensive line and big tight ends who can block, we can do seven-step drops and allow Brandon to get down the field and stretch the field on the defense. Now I think [Cutler] is confident in that.”
Forte having a lead role in the offense is anything but new. He ranked first or second in receptions every year under the three different offensive coordinators that Lovie Smith employed since Forte’s arrival via the 2008 draft.
Last year, under Tice and with Marshall, Forte’s receptions fell to a career-low (44). His rushes per game (16.5) were third-highest of his five NFL seasons.
[MORE: Hester back to earning awards]
Now Trestman is handing him the ball: 19 carries per game, second only to the 19.8 per game his rookie season.
And throwing it to him, with Cutler buy-in. Cutler, with options provided by Trestman, has targeted Forte 17 through two games (vs. 20 to Marshall).
For perspective’s sake, this is not the busiest Forte has been kept by a Bears play-caller.
Through two games in 2011, under Mike Martz, Forte also caught 15 passes and was targeted 20 times. Martz ran Forte 26 times for the two games (Kahlil Bell had 11) compared to the 38 Forte carries these past two weeks.
[POWER RANKINGS: Dolphins make big leap]
But it is not the quantity of action that has made an impression on the franchise tailback so much as the quality.
“We have a lot of different plays that isolate a lot of different people in this offense, but it depends on what the defense is running, when to call them,” Forte said. “[Trestman] is doing a great job of calling them in the right situations so that we can make a play.”
And when situations break down or defense’s show things that force Cutler to audible or choose another play option from the several given to him by Trestman, the option is no longer only Marshall.
“There’s called plays where I might be the main read on a pass play, but last week they had a lot of Cover-2 where they dropped everybody out and I’m open on the check-down. We’re not going to bypass an eight-yard pickup to throw the ball into double coverage.”