Bears In-foe: Giants' 'O' just a two-man show

Bears In-foe: Giants' 'O' just a two-man show

Eli and Odell.

After a dozen years and two Super Bowls under Tom Coughlin, the fact that the Giants had three straight losing seasons and four non-playoff campaigns since capturing their last Lombardi brought change. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who oversaw the last season’s eighth-ranked offense after coming over from Green Bay, was promoted. The bigger problems were on the other side of the ball. So what’s happened? Big Blue has slipped to 21st in offense, in large part to a non-existent run game, while averaging only 20 points per game. And they’re on a four-game win streak to improve to 6-3.

Eli Manning turns 36 in less than two months but is in his 12th straight season without missing a start. He’s been there through thick and thin and is up to seventh in NFL history with 309 touchdown passes, eighth all-time in completions (3,920) and ninth with 46,668 passing yards (335 behind No. 8 Fran Tarkenton). His touchdown-to-interception ratio this season is a pedestrian 15-to-10, with three lost fumbles, and his passer rating of 87.6 ranks 21st. But the guy has obviously been the “constant,” despite not being close to the vocal leader his brother was in his Hall-of-Fame career. Eli will never beat you with his feet (518 career rushing yards and a 1.9 average), but what’s considered a mediocre-at-best offensive line has allowed just 12 sacks. Derek Carr (11) in Oakland is the only regular signal-caller this season to have been sacked fewer times.

McAdoo made the gutsy call early in the fourth quarter Monday night to go for it on fourth-and-goal on the Cincinnati three-yard line, trailing 20-14. They set up so rookie wideout Sterling Shepard had linebacker Vontaze Burfict in isolation at the goal line, and Eli zinged it in to him for what turned into the winning score. Shepard’s 39 catches rank second among rookies, and he has been a key addition with Victor Cruz (25 catches, 377 yards, one touchdown) trying to see if he can recapture his star status after missing a stretch of 26 straight games the two previous seasons with calf and knee injuries. Cruz sat out Monday with an ankle injury but is expected to return against the Bears.

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But Cruz had already taken a back seat to Odell Beckham Jr., the meteoric first-round 2014 pick who was considered somewhat of a gamble because of his own injury history at LSU. Despite the occasional diva-like drama when opponents get in his head and a love-hate relationship with sideline kicking nets, he’s produced with the best. He reached 3,500 career receiving yards in just his 36th game, topping the mark previously held by Lance Alworth by one game. As good as Tracy Porter’s been this season, Beckham's quickness will be a challenge for him or perhaps Bryce Callahan who, if healthy, might be a more suitable matchup. But that’s a big “if.” Beckham had 10 catches for 97 yards Monday and made Pac Man Jones look ridiculous on a touchdown reception. Tight ends Larry Donnell and Will Tye have combined for 42 receptions.

The weakness, as mentioned, has been the ground game. It’s dropped from 19th to 31st (74.2 yards per game). Rashad Jennings rushed for 863 yards (4.4 average) a year ago, but that’s down to 255 and 3.2 this year. Monday night’s 87 yards on 15 carries were a bright spot. His complement, Shane Vereen, is on injured reserve, and before his better outing versus the Bengals, there was thought fifth-round rookie Paul Perkins would be getting more snaps.

The left side of the line and center Weston Richburg is the strength up front. 2015 first-rounder Ereck Flowers mans the left edge but might be better suited, long-term, on the right side. They lost left guard Jethro Pugh two games ago for up to a month with a knee injury. Brett Jones, whose last start before Monday was in the CFL in 2014, was injured on the first series, testing the depth further. With right tackle Marshall Newhouse trying to work his way back from a calf injury, the Giants are leaning on former seventh-round pick Bobby Hart.

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout is quickly becoming an icon in American sports. The two-time American League MVP is enjoying another dominant season batting .335 with 23 home runs and 48 RBI.

On Tuesday, he took a swing at what Bears fans may consider a shocking NFL prediction.

“I’ve got the Browns having a better record than the Bears,” Trout told a radio reporter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Trout's comments were made in response the reporter "talking up" Chicago.

Both the Browns and Bears have had productive offseasons that involved headline-grabbing acquisitions on offense. Cleveland drafted QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, traded for WR Jarvis Landry, signed RB Carlos Hyde and drafted a backfield mate for him in Georgia's Nick Chubb. They added potential lockdown corner Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick, too. Add all that to a motivated Josh Gordon ready to contribute for a full season, and there's good reason to be excited in Cleveland.

Still, it's hard imagining Trout can be that confident in a team that's won only one game over the last two seasons. And let's not forget what GM Ryan Pace has done this offseason, one that's been praised by analysts from all corners of the NFL universe. From new coach Matt Nagy to free-agent WR Allen Robinson and all the skill players in between, the Bears are ready to make a legitimate run in the NFC North.

Trout doesn't strike out much in the major leagues, but this prediction feels like it could be a back-straining whiff.

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is former Bears star Matt Forte going to be the team’s new running backs coach?

For now, that’s Charles London’s job, who was hired to head coach Matt Nagy’s staff earlier this year.

But on Tuesday night, Forte tweeted that he would like a coaching spot with Chicago sometime in the near future.

Serving as evidence, the now-retired running back responded to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which announced the Broncos’ hiring of former linebacker Demarcus Ware as a “pass-rush consultant on a part-time basis.” Forte tweeted at the Bears, saying that he is “available” to take on a similar role to Ware’s new Denver gig.

Forte’s tweet was relatively cryptic, and he never specified exactly what type of job he would want with the Bears. After finishing up a storied career this past season and solidifying his name as a Bears legend, Forte has proven that he could easily coach young running backs or even wide receivers at some point.

But isn’t this all just a joke?

Forte silenced the doubters by tweeting “I wasn’t joking” as a response to an article saying that his desire for a new occupation with the Bears was simply a gag. The former workhorse was also intrigued by a fan’s tweet asking “Coach Forte??”

The mere thought of having Forte back in Chicago with the Bears’ coaching staff sent fans on Twitter into a frenzy. In April, Forte came back to Halas Hall to ink his name on a one-day contract, successfully allowing him to retire as a Bear. Now, Forte wants a lengthier stay in the Windy City.

Ware’s role with Denver is not extensive by any means and, according to Schefter, he will work a pretty scattered schedule with Broncos players. What Forte’s role would look like with the Bears is completely unknown if his plan to coach becomes a reality.

Forte has the running back credentials to take on a coaching position. In eight seasons with the Bears, Forte racked up a combined 8,602 rushing yards, second to only the great Walter Payton. Forte’s 4,116 receiving yards as a running back, 12,718 yards from scrimmage, 24 games with 100 rushing yards and 25 games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage also ranks second behind Payton.

Maybe this will be a new development in Chicago’s offseason plans, but there is no real talk of bringing one of the team’s all-time leading rushers back to the team as of right now.

Last month, NBC Sports Chicago announced Forte will be joining the network as a Bears game day studio analyst for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. And we're not joking about that.