Hoge’s Bears-Falcons Notebook: Forte Hoping Play Equals Pay
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By Adam Hoge-
CHICAGO (CBS) – Without a new contract done, Matt Forte knows his long-term value will directly correlate with how he plays this season.
Obviously his performance Sunday in the Bears’ 30-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons raised his value – at least for one week – and he knows it.
“I just thank God that I had a great game out there today,” Forte said. “Continue to do it throughout the entire season and if the Bears don’t see my value, hopefully some other team will.”
That was directed at you, Jerry Angelo.
The general manager has said contract talks with Forte and his agent will be tabled until the end of the season, but some reports have a deal could still be done early in the season.
Forte ran for 68 yards Sunday against the Falcons on 16 carries, but added six catches for 90 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown on a screen play.
If the running back continues to play like he did in the season opener, it would be wise for the Bears to get the contract done sooner than later.
Photo Gallery: Bears vs. Falcons
Offensive Line So-So
J’Marcus Webb didn’t have a great debut at left tackle. Gabe Carimi certainly wanted some plays back at right tackle. And even Chris Williams was pushed back a couple of times on running plays.
But overall, the Bears’ offensive line performed well enough for the offense to score points and beat a team as good as the Falcons.
“We had a great first half. We didn’t quite finish like we should have but I think we all got better today,” center Roberto Garza said.
Still, Cutler was sacked five times and was hurried six. He responded well and after the game he was asked if getting hit fires him up.
“I’m fired up enough. I don’t think I need any more hits,” Cutler said.
That’s a subtle hint to his offensive line, but overall it wasn’t a bad performance, especially considering Chris Spencer had to come off the bench to play right guard after Lance Louis went out with an ankle injury. Spencer has been taking most of his reps as the second team center, but the Bears opted not to shift Garza over to guard when Louis left the game.
Spencer said playing guard “wasn’t a total shock” as he knew that would be the plan if either guard got hurt, but he still said it was different playing a less familiar position. Overall, he played pretty well. Well enough to possibly supplant Louis at the position even after he recovers from the ankle injury.
“Will have to go back to the film and see how I did,” Spencer said. “They’ll make that decision, not me.”
Meanwhile, Carimi said he fell into some bad habits in the first half but felt much better about his play in the second half.
Conditioning A Problem?
With no offseason workouts, there was a good chance conditioning would be an issue at the start of this season.
So who was the one who admitted his conditioning level was a little suspect Sunday?
Just the guy who had 10 tackles, one TFL, one interception, one fumble recovery and a touchdown: Brian Urlacher.
“Tired. Not good,” he said. “I was tired in the first half. I think just the adrenaline of just getting out there again, it made my heart beating really fast at the beginning of the game. Used a lot of energy in the pregame — shouldn’t have done that. But we’ll get in better shape as the games go on. This is only going to help us down the line.”
Williams Credits Coaching Staff
Wide receiver Roy Williams silenced a lot of critics by catching four passes for 55 yards Sunday, including a 23-yard catch.
But he gave all the credit to the coaching staff.
“I really think it was coaching to be honest with you,” Williams said. “I think we have the best coaching staff in America. Those guys instill in us what to do and how to do it. And it takes discipline and we learn that from them.”
Williams said Sunday’s win was an important one, but added that there’s still a lot of work to do.
“Big confidence booster for us as a football team,” he said. “We knew what we could offensively. We knew what we could do defensively. But to put it together, especially against a good football team like Atlanta, it really showed what kind of football we have. But we didn’t win the Super Bowl today.”
The Bears stayed relatively healthy Sunday. Lance Louis (ankle) and Roy Williams (groin) left the game, but there were no further updates. Lovie Smith simply said “there’s always concern when players don’t finish a game.”
Williams didn’t reveal much about his injury, saying: “Just getting a little treatment and we’ll see what happens.”
For more Bears coverage, follow Adam on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS).