Rookie sensation Matt Forte was a bright sport in an otherwise abysmal Chicago offense last year. In 2008, he rushed for over 1200 yards and eight TDs. His quarterback at that time was Kyle Orton, not Jay Cutler.
So what does this mean for Forte? Will there be an encore or will Forte be an afterthought as Cutler—the gun slinger—fires the ball all over the field?
The Packers switched to a 3-4 defense this past offseason and hired Dom Capers as their defensive coordinator. How successful Forte would be against this attacking style defense could provide some insight as how he will fare the rest of the season.
Some 25 rushes for 55 yards later Forte had a respectable performance against a good defense and from the looks of things, one getting better. A 10-yard scamper in the third quarter allowed Forte to muster just over two yards per carry.
Does this mean Forte will struggle throughout the year? Hardly!
Forte will have a slow start. He, along with the offensive line will have to gel together fast so Cutler and his band of unknown receivers can develop some sense of chemistry and start producing.
Furthermore, the Bears play in the NFC North; i.e. the Minnesota’s tandem of Kevin and Pat Williams. Plus, the Bears will face the Pack again.
For Forte to be successful, center Olin Kreutz, guards Roberto Garza and newly acquired Frank Omiyale, and tackles Orlando Pace and Chris Williams must open some holes and run block.
Jay Cutler must settle down in the pocket and go through his reads and make the smart play. He cannot throw the ball against his body and into the middle of the field where it becomes a jump ball.
Lastly, the receivers must get on the same page as the quarterback. When Desmond Clark and Earl Bennett cut off their routes, even Tom Brady cannot prevent throwing easy interceptions.
These interceptions will prevent Forte from producing and taking some of the pressure off Cutler.
Forte will gain his 1000 yards and the touchdowns will come. There will be games with under 70 yards rushing. There will be games with over 125.
Forte must be patient especially against the Steelers, Ravens, and Vikings. If he is, the long runs will come.