Forte or Langford? Bears don’t have to decide, not yet at least


Forte or Langford? Bears don’t have to decide, not yet at least

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, the Bears will need to act on a strategic decision regarding Matt Forte, whose contract expires after this year, and Jeremy Langford, a rookie who topped 100 total yards in each of his first two NFL games as the Bears’ lead back.

But that decision may not be as simple as either-or, at least not this weekend. In fact, there may be no decision at all required.

Offensive coordinator Adam Gase has schemed to use both backs together and is expected to have Forte and Langford in certain personnel packages on Sunday against the NFL-leading defense of the Denver Broncos. Already this season, Gase has used combinations of Forte/Langford, Forte/Jacquizz Rodgers, Langford/Ka’Deem Carey and Langford/Antone Smith.

The possibility of Forte, who practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday, in a package with Langford puts on the field at the same time the two backs who’ve individually given the team 100 combined yards in six of the nine games this season.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

History says the Bears will have a serious need for both in one iteration or another. Against St. Louis, Langford and Carey accounted for 43 touches (including two incompletions to Langford) out of the Bears’ 63 offensive plays.

“In this league, it’s about the more the merrier,” said coach John Fox. “You try to build competition within your own team. I think it makes everybody on your squad better. We’ll welcome Matt back with open arms.”

Neither Forte nor Langford operates as a fullback; the Bears don’t have one of those on the roster, relying instead on tight ends for that role. But each have shown superb pass-catching skills, and each have been split out as wide receivers.

A question for Gase and the offense will be whether, for example, the second running back is a better pass catcher than a third or fourth wide receiver. Langford or Marc Mariani? Langford or Josh Bellamy? Even Langford or Marquess Wilson?

Forte ranks fourth on the Bears with 25 catches despite missing two-and-a-half games. Langford stands sixth with 12.

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots


NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots


Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.