Bears coach Lovie Smith hopeful Matt Forte will play vs. Cowboys
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com September 24, 2012 9:42PM
With Matt Forte out against the Rams, Michael Bush (above) started and gained 55 yards on 18 carries. Coach Lovie Smith is hopeful Forte will be able to play Monday night against the Cowboys. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: October 26, 2012 2:23PM
Running back Michael Bush said Sunday that he expected Matt Forte to play against the St. Louis Rams, even with the bad right ankle.
It didn’t happen.
On Monday, coach Lovie Smith said Forte could return to practice this week, and he was hopeful Forte could play against the Cowboys on Monday night in Dallas.
“We have an extra day this week, so we’re hopeful,’’ Smith said. “Eventually we’ll get him back out there. Exactly when, I don’t know right now. I just know every day I see him doing a little bit more, so I’m hopeful.’’
The running game definitely will welcome Forte back to his starting job. With Bush starting, the Bears gained 77 yards on 19 carries in the first half against the Rams but only 26 yards on 15 carries in the second half — including 21 from Jay Cutler on a scramble.
“We started off good early, and I guess they figured out the scheme, and they stopped it at the end,’’ Bush said.
Smith said rookie fullback Evan Rodriguez has a knee injury, and ‘‘we’ll continue to monitor him.’’
Bush gets his Bell rung
Bush had 18 carries — and only four in the second half — when backup Kahlil Bell was stopped for a one-yard loss on a third-and-one play in the fourth quarter. That short-yardage play is Bush’s specialty. Though Bush left for one play earlier in the game after taking a big hit, Smith indicated Bell ran the short-yardage play because it was his turn in the rotation.
The Bears used rookie defensive end Shea McClellin in a stand-up role, roving behind the line on one play in the second half against the Rams.
‘‘That’s just a special package we have to mix up the looks we’re giving,’’ McClellin said. ‘‘I think it’s good to mix it up. It feels natural to be standing up. I did a lot of that in college.’’
But Smith was coy when asked if the Bears would expand that role for McClellin.
‘‘Don’t put too much into one play,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve moved all our linemen to different places. That’s the beauty of having the type of athletic ability we have. But he can do an awful lot. We’ll see this week.’’
No offense, but ...
Since scoring 41 points against the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener, the Bears’ offense has scored 27 — only two touchdowns — in the next two games.
‘‘Every time our offense goes out ... we expect to score 50 points, rush for 300 yards, pass for 500 — that’s not going to happen,’’ Smith said. ‘‘There are some things we have to do better offensively. We controlled the ball and made some plays when we had to. You have games like that.’’
Contributing: Mark Potash