Chicago Bears: Matt Forte Not Pulling His Weight in Running Game

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Chicago Bears: Matt Forte Not Pulling His Weight in Running Game
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Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte wants a big, juicy contract extension worth Chris Johnson money; however, Forte has not been pulling his weight in the running game. 

The fourth-year back from Tulane has 35 carries for 119 yards and zero touchdowns through three games. He had an embarrassing nine touches for two yards against the Green Bay Packers as the Bears had 13 rush yards (Jay Cutler had 11), the third lowest in franchise history. 

The featured back has not cracked even 70 yards in a game. His stats would be worse if not for a 42-yard run against the New Orleans Saints, giving him 34 carries for 77 yards or 2.3 yards a pop. 

Forte, who amassed 3,236 career rushing yards, has been struggling in the run game despite relative success in the passing game (237 yards). The blame is a combination of many factors. 

First, Forte is not creating any opportunities for himself. He is not shaking off tacklers frequently and does not have the ability to make something out of nothing. Even though he is right, Forte is starting to blame his teammates instead of himself for the running game's nonexistence. 

Second, the offensive line is abysmal, making a run to top last year's group. Losing Olin Kreutz, shifting Roberto Garza to center and having Frank Omiyale at right tackle makes the O-line more ineffectual than 2010. The line does not pick up blitzes well and is unable to manufacture running lanes for Forte. 

Another reason is former Pro Bowl running back Marion Barber was out the first three games, resulting in Forte not having a competent backup to spell him for a couple series. 

Lastly, offensive coordinator Mike Martz is not calling enough running plays. In two games, Martz has run 20 plays on the ground, not enough for establishing a rushing attack. 

Forte is not getting proper help from the offensive line and "blocking" tight ends as he should, but he isn't making the most of his rushing attempts. Forte needs to focus on what he could do (making defenders miss him and creating his own holes) to make the running game better instead of passing the blame around. 

Bob Bajek is a freelance reporter and can be followed at Patch.com and Twitter.

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