Forte learning more than the usual Bears playbook under Trestman
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org May 14, 2013 9:00PM
Bears running back Matt Forte flexes his muscles after running for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Chicago Bears a 23-22 win over the Carolina Panthers Sunday October 28, 2012 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: June 16, 2013 6:38AM
New Bears tight end Martellus Bennett anticipates running back Matt Forte will have few problems learning everything that’s being asked of him in coach Marc Trestman’s playbook.
Why would he?
‘‘Matt went to Tulane,’’ a laughing Bennett said Tuesday after the Bears’ second day of organized team activities. ‘‘That says a lot. It’s a lot to learn.’’
And it’s another sign of how important Forte will be to the offense this season.
After Tuesday’s OTAs, Forte provided some glimpse of what’s in store. He’ll seemingly be used in every way Trestman can imagine. Envision something like what former Oakland Raiders running back Charlie Garner did in 2002, but add a few more wrinkles. With Trestman as his offensive coordinator, Garner caught 91 passes for 941 yards and four touchdowns.
Forte brings even more for Trestman to work with.
‘‘I think it’s more challenging for me personally,’’ Forte said. ‘‘I have to learn more than just what the ‘H’ does. I’ve got to learn what the ‘F’ does and where he lines up. I may have a situation where I line up as a receiver and I have to learn the receiver routes as well.’’
Forte is entering his sixth NFL season and has been through ‘‘at least four playbooks,” he said. But this one seems very different, especially since it involves maximizing his talents. He couldn’t help but smile while talking about the playbook.
‘‘I expect it to be balanced — establish the run first and get into the passing game,’’ Forte said. ‘‘There’s a lot of routes that the running back has, even a fullback and tailback. The ball is going to be spread around pretty well.’’
Last season, it seemed the Bears didn’t know how to use Forte. General manager Phil Emery is on the record as saying he wasn’t ‘‘fully utilized.’’ Forte’s production, especially in the passing game, decreased, and nagging injuries made things worse.
But Trestman will find ways to change that. He said earlier this offseason that Forte has the ‘‘full spectrum of what you want out of a running back.’’
Forte, meanwhile, said it’s exciting seeing where new players such as Bennett and left tackle Jermon Bushrod fit into the offense, too.
‘‘We’ve had a lot of playbooks come through,’’ Forte said. ‘‘But I like this offense. I’m pretty excited about the upcoming season.’’