Bears' Offensive Coordinator Under Fire and More NFC North News

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11:  Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against the defense of outside linebacker Connor Barwin #98 of the Houston Texans during the game at Soldier Field on November 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Matt Forte didn't have a great game against the Houston Texans. In fact, you could argue he was awful if you just looked at his stats.

However, as I always say, context is vital with numbers. In other words, numbers never lie, except when they do.

With that in mind, Sean Jensen's piece in the Sun-Times definitely gives you perspective.

In it, Forte says that too many of his runs were in obvious situations. Yes, the Texans have a tremendous defense, but it's tough for a player to find room to run when everyone knows that nearly every first down you're going to run and then forget you have a running back.

Forte is a very good back and wants to be paid as if he's the best—if you want that payday, you need to get past those stacked fronts and get traction even in obvious running situations.

He has a point otherwise though, and it's a larger one. The play-calling has begun to be brought into question and not just in the running game.

Offensive coordinator Mike Tice is finding the honeymoon is well and truly over. The slow starts, the occasionally terrible blocking, the scattershot play-calling—it's all coming to a head.

There's very little rhythm to the offensive output, especially in the run game. The way Forte was used Sunday was odd and even left some around me with the impression that they weren't running at all. Which was funny because they ran almost the same amount of times Houston did.

But there was a rhythm to the Texans which the ground game of the Bears seemed to lack.

If—and it's pretty likely— Cutler doesn't play, they have to be more creative, especially in the run game. San Fran will come after Campbell. I believe he (and the Bears) can move the ball through the air on this team, but as we've seen with the teams who have beaten the Niners, you need to commit to the run.

Even when it isn't hugely productive—as when they lost to Minnesota and Adrian Peterson didn't crack 100 yards—you need to keep running at them. It keeps the defense from just teeing off on the quarterback and will give Campbell more time to get his throw out.

Will the Bears do it? Given what we've seen of Tice, I'm not convinced.

On to the rest of the news from the NFC North.

Chicago Bears

Should Jay Cutler play this coming Monday? Jon Greenberg has an interesting take on how non-players (media/fans) find themselves in a thorny spot when it comes to their teams and concussions over at

Just in case Campbell goes down, the Bears have brought Josh McCown back in as a backup, according to Vaugh McClure at the Tribune.

If Alex Smith and Jay Cutler both miss Monday's game, Mark Potash of the Sun-Times gives the Niners the edge in the backup arms race.

Detroit Lions's Justin Rogers takes a close look at why the run game died against the Vikings this past Sunday.

The Lions seem to have no accountability according to Lions Gab editor and Free Press contributor Anthony Kuehn.

Tim Twentyman looks a little deeper at, trying to see what is misfiring on the offensive side of the ball.

Green Bay Packers

Ndamukong Suh might be the 'dirtiest player in the NFL' but he has the respect of the Packers according to Tyler Dunne of the Journal-Sentinel. Dunne also writes about the challenges facing a banged up Packers pass rush.

Every Tuesday, Jason Wilde sits down with quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a radio spot—you can check the latest out at ESPN Wisconsin.

Minnesota Vikings

Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN says not only is Adrian Peterson as good as ever—he might be even better than ever.

Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press says people believe Adrian Peterson is a freak—but in a good way.

Zygi Wilf should ditch the PSLs  according to Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune.

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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.