CSNChicago.com takes a look at three preview points going into the Bears first preseason game.
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase won’t be showing any more of his playbook than defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will be of his when preseason moves into game phase. But Gase has committed to two major, and related, objectives – running the football and reducing the turnover proclivities of one Jay Cutler.
During the Bears’ Saturday scrimmage, Gase‘s play selection approached a 50-50 balance of run-pass. The Bears in fact ran the ball more effectively than they threw it. It was only practice, but… .
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Gase has two outstanding guards (Kyle Long, Matt Slauson) with size, mobility and attitude. He has given every indication of being more than wanting to use them and the entire line to set a tone for his offense. He can’t do that with just talk about the run.
“I feel really good about our line,” Gase said. “I think that stable of backs we have is very impressive. Right now I’m feeling pretty good about it.”
For a point of reference: In Peyton Manning’s last several years in Indianapolis, the Colts’ use of the run trended downward into the mid-30-percent range. In Denver, with Gase working under coordinator Mike McCoy and then taking over as O.C. when McCoy was hired to coach San Diego, the run percentage moved back up into the 40’s (42 last season).
The Bears are not expected to give much if any work to Matt Forte on Thursday against the Miami Dolphins. No need, both from a risk and other standpoints. The play of Jacquizz Rodgers has been outstanding through camp and he has to this point played his way into the No. 2 tailback job.
The Bears are unlikely to keep four running backs, putting a squeeze on fourth-rounder’s Ka’Deem Carey (2014) and Jeremy Langford (2015), the latter with an edge on special teams.
Being able to run the football and staying with that commitment takes some of the offensive burden off Cutler, which is part of the overall. Cutler uncharacteristically has not thrown an interception through 11 practices, and while the operative word there is “practices,” it is perhaps an early hint that something is working with a quarterback whose carelessness with the football has been his and his teams’ undoing.
“Right now, time will tell,” Gase said. “We’re taking it one day at a time right now. If I knew what was going to happen, I’d play the lottery. Right now I don’t know. Every day we’re getting a little bit better. He’s doing a good job of staying with it and getting better.”