Forte return: Looking like playoffs

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Forte return: Looking like playoffs

Dont look for Matt Forte under the Bears Christmas tree. The franchise running back told ESPNChicago.com that realistically, playoffs would be the only thing I would have my mind set on."

Forte suffered a left knee sprain against the Kansas City Chiefs, an injury that typically as a 2-6 week range for recovery. He is receiving therapy but the reality is that the return is more likely toward the long side.
Duly noted
Seattle quarterbacks have been sacked 41 times this season, 33 of them suffered by Tavaris Jackson. Only Arizona, Miami, Minnesota and St. Louis, all with losing records, have given up as many or more. The Bears have allowed 38 and nearly one-fifth (7) of those came in the Kansas City debacle

Few teams have been consistently as good as the bears against the run. But cracks are beginning to show. The defense allowed 100 rushing yards in just one of the five wins that pushed them to 7-3 but has given up 73, 113 and 124 in the last three games, and the three losses were to teams (Oakland, Kansas City, Denver) that were willing to stick to the run even without dramatic success. Oakland ran 27 times, Kansas City 37 and Denver 34.

The Bears controlled Willis McGahee in Denver (17 carries, 34 yards), held off Dexter McCluster of Kansas City (9 carries, 61 yards) and shut down Michael Bush in Oakland (24 carries, 69 yards).

But no back in the NFL has been more effective over the last six games than Seattles Marshawn Lynch, who has 706 rushing yards and has scored seven touchdowns (six rushing) over those six games.

Tim Tebow, bumblebee
When you switch over from the Bears game to Denver-at-New England, consider what youre watching.

The trashing of Tim Tebow is trending down pretty much just sour-grape grumping that the Denver Broncos leader isnt really an NFL quarterback. Never mind the six straight wins and seven in his last eight starts.

Tebow is just your basic bumblebee. A bumblebee by all laws of biology and physics cannot fly. Cannot. But it does give a very convincing imitation of it, wouldnt you say?

You know Tebow. Poor technique, not a particularly accurate passer, limited in so many areas not really an NFL quarterback. Pretty good imitation, though, wouldnt you say?

And so

There was going to be no way the 7-3 Bears could lose all three remaining games to AFC West teams. But they did, even to a Kansas City Chiefs team that fired its coach after the following game. The Bears cant pass very well, havent run the ball anything consistently close to what they did with Matt Forte, and in a disturbing pattern that typically defines losers, have found ways to lose.

The Seattle Seahawks have been the opposite, winning four of their last five. But while the Bears were playing Oakland and Denver with a virtual rookie quarterback, the Seahawks were playing the woeful Rams twice plus Redskins and Eagles opponents with a combined 13-37 record, counting the Rams twice.

The Bears are not the Rams. This will be the third time the Seahawks are playing in Chicago in the last 14 months and they arrived Friday to mitigate the effects of travel across time zones. It wont be enough.

Bears 16 Seahawks 13

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

The adage “play the man, not the board” seems somehow appropriate for what the Bears are doing to prepare for the Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The man” is Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Bears have been scouting him as well as his defenses, beyond just Bears games, beyond this season and last, taking in his 2014 Detroit season when Austin prepared defenses for Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.

How did Austin scheme for rookie Carson Wentz when the Lions played (and beat) the Philadelphia Eagles? How did he structure is defense to stop a rookie Teddy Bridgewater when Detroit played Minnesota? (Not very well, apparently, since the Vikings won both games and scored 54 points combined in the two games).

While the John Fox Bears staff went against Austin’s Lions defense twice last year, Cutler was the Bears quarterback. When the Bears beat Austin and the Lions two months ago, it was with Brian Hoyer.

Now the Bears quarterback is Matt Barkley, who has fewer NFL games played (seven) than Cutler has NFL seasons (11), Hoyer (eight), too, for that matter.

“Different defensive coordinators attack young quarterbacks differently,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Some guys blitz, some guys play a bunch of zone. This group on defense there, they have a really good defensive coordinator, they're really smart, they do a bunch of stuff. On the back end, they run all the coverages.

“As a game, we'll have to make adjustments as the game goes and see what their plan to come out is early.”

Coaches and players may talk about how they prepare for a scheme irrespective of which opposing quarterback, running back, linebacker or whatever they will be facing. But in fact, preparations start with who is orchestrating the opponent’s offense or defense – play the man, not the board.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

A risk can be out-thinking yourself trying to anticipate what a coordinator will do. The first point, Loggains said, is to start with your own strengths.

“We definitely look at that,” Loggains said. “As you go in the league long and longer, you face these guys, you see them in crossover games. We always know how a guy attacks a rookie quarterback or attacks a young quarterback, a veteran, or, in Matt's case, a guy who hasn't played as much.”

Evaluations of Barkley’s performance will broaden, particularly now that he is on tape for defensive coordinators to scheme for and scout. And while they are watching Barkley, the Bears are watching them.

Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

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Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

In the latest Bears Talk Podcast, Jim Miller joins Pat Boyle to discuss the friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio. And are there changes in store for the Bears coordinators?

Plus, Brian Urlacher and Mark Schanowski break down the play of rookie Leonard Floyd and find out which one of Urlacher’s former teammates Floyd reminds him of.

And don't miss a preview of Sunday’s NFC North clash with the Lions, who will be out for revenge.

Check out the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast here: