Mullin: What were you thinking, Matt Forte?

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Mullin: What were you thinking, Matt Forte?

Monday, Dec. 27, 2010
6:59 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears running back is a Tulane guy, good school, bright guy.

So why would he say the kind of thing he did Monday? And in front of cameras, recorders and reporters??

Matt Forte is 22 yards short of 1,000 for the season, which would push him past that standard for the second time in his three NFL seasons. And he currently is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, which arguably places him in even more rarified air among NFL running backs.

For someone who had 929 last season with injuries hampering him all year, that is truly special.

And Forte knows what how special it will be for his Big Brothers: the offensive line.

It would mean a lot, probably just as much as it means for me to get 1,000 yards, Forte said. Just to hit that benchmark for those guys, because everybody wants to either run for 1,000 or block for a 1,000-plus yard rusher and things like that. Its very important for me to get that, especially for those guys.

Devin Hester is buying his return boys exquisite watches in appreciation of what theyve done to help him achieve his NFL return record. So I asked Forte if hes buying his Big Brothers cars, watches, things like that.

Yeah, Forte said, smiling, all that stuff.

Well, alrighty then for Roberto Garza, Olin Kreutz, Frank Omiyale, JMarcus Webb and Chris Williams, your second Christmas is exactly 22 yards away. You heard him say it.

But for a group that was maligned more than any other all season, the vindication is in the record as well as the records.

They werent ready to declare Sunday as their best game of the season for the simple reason that for a professional athlete, your best game is your next one.

But it felt that way, Omiyale said. We still had some mistakes here and there but I love how we stick together through thick and thin and keep fighting until the clock runs out.

The development and improvement shouldnt be all that surprising. One of the reasons I felt that the 2010 offensive line wouldnt be the disaster it was being portrayed as was the near-exponential improvement that happened when the line finally got together in 2009.

Omiyale and Williams have reversed positions since then. But that five-game stretch produced the best rushing stretch of the season, with more than 100 rushing yards in four of the five games and an average of 111 yards per game. The only real difference from the close of 2009 and now is Webb at right tackle instead of Kevin Shaffer, now the swing tackle and short-yardage heavy.

Starting with the Buffalo game, when Garza came back at right guard from knee surgery, the results have been virtually on par with the closing kick of 2009: eight games, 886 yards - just under 111 yards per game.

The offensive line was blamed for so much that was going wrong early this season. For so much of what's gone right since then, seems only fair that they get credit for that as well.

Credit, and those cars and watches from Forte...

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bears will not use franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bears will not use franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Nick Friedell (ESPNChicago.com) and Danny Parkins (670 The Score) join David Kaplan on the panel.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Bears will not use the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery for the second straight year. Is that the right move? And what will Ryan Pace do with all of his team’s cap space?

The Bulls are winning but their new, young point guard doesn’t know his role. Will anything ever change with the Bulls?

That plus Scott Paddock drops by to recapping a thrilling Daytona 500 finish.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Draft pick at No. 3 demands guiding 'concept' of what Bears ultimately want to be

Draft pick at No. 3 demands guiding 'concept' of what Bears ultimately want to be

With the Bears holding the No. 3 pick of the upcoming draft, the obvious and automatic focus settles on Player A, B, D etc. "Best available" is an operating philosophy that routinely rules the moment.
 
But for the Bears and the 2017 draft, another overarching philosophical principle is in play. Specifically, what is the concept (for want of a better word) guiding what GM Ryan Pace is attempting to do?
 
Coach John Fox, as well as Pace, want a team founded on defense, running the football and ball security. They know the franchise need for a quarterback, but a team building on defense could reasonably be expected to weight their draft decisions toward that side of the football.
 
Meaning: A quarterback like Clemson's Deshaun Watson could alter the entire persona of the Bears and the Halas Hall building, but if the far-and-away best option at No. 3 is defense…?
 
What makes this draft and the Bears' operating concept intriguing is that the chances will be there potentially to build a true elite defense. Beginning at No. 3:
 
"I think [Alabama defensive lineman] Jonathan Allen is one of the two or three best players in this draft," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock via conference call on Monday. "What I like about him is he dominates outside…but I think he's going to make his money on an inside pass rusher. Inside or outside, I think he's a special player."
 
Behind that – and last year's No. 1, Leonard Floyd, addressed the rush-linebacker spot – is the secondary, with both cornerback and safety among the strongest positions in the draft.
 
"This is a great corner class," Mayock said. "If you don't get one in the first round, you can come back in the second or third rounds and really help yourself."
 
The safety group is such that Mayock posited the prospect of two going in the Top 10, maybe Top 5. 
 
Deciding on a "concept"
 
One former NFL personnel executive maintained that the salary cap all but precluded building offense and defense equally, so the need was to define an identity and build to that, within reason. Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo opted a concept that built both offense and defense equally, but with designated positions ticketed for more cap resources: quarterback, running back, one wideout, two O-linemen, one franchise pass rusher, etc. Not all 22 positions are created equal but creating offense and defense simultaneously was doable.
 
"It's really what a team is looking for," said Mayock, speaking both of player preferences but in a way that extended to picking players for a scheme. Or philosophy.
 
Different concepts, like diets, work if you execute them well.

The Bears reached Super Bowl XLI with a Top 5 defense and a mid-teen's offense. The Indianapolis Colts prevailed in that game with a No. 3 offense and a defense ranked in the low 20's in both yardage and points allowed.