Bulls

Mullin: Forte playing best football of his pro career

Mullin: Forte playing best football of his pro career

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
Posted: 1:50 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Another good Thursday visit at 10 a.m. with Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel on "The Danny Mac Show" on WSCR-AM 670, with a tough quick ending question:

Who is the best team in the NFL right now?

My quick take was the New England Patriots, even with their recent loss to Cleveland. Why? Because there is no team in the NFL right now that I would like to face less than the Patriots, which is what the Bears will do after their visit to Detroit.

Mac and Spiegs weren't buying New England, partly because of the defensive situation that Mac pointed out. Their flavor of the week (given the way the NFL has bounced this year, probably a reasonable way to think) is San Diego and in no small measure because of what the Chargers did to Indianapolis.

I'll pass. I have never seen Philip Rivers as a big-game quarterback, whether for reasons of temperament or raw ability, and if there is a team more capable than the Chargers of spitting the bit at the finish line, I'm not seeing it.

San Diego is streaking right now, winning four straight. Great. San Diego always streaks sometime. New England has quietly won three straight, including wins over Indianapolis and by double-digits at Pittsburgh. Oh, and the Patriots went out to San Diego and beat the Chargers, the last time San Diego lost.

Given the number of games that come down to quarterbacking, I take Tom Brady over Rivers any and every time.

Closer to home, the guys were talking about the 2010 version of Matt Forte and I think we're all on board with the thinking that this is unquestionably the best Forte has played as a pro. Spiegs made a point of how patient Forte has been this year with sweeps and how that suggests some strong confidence in his offensive line. Spot on: Forte has been able to get squared with the ball without facing penetrating D-linemen or linebackers before the point of attack and that traces, as good running invariably does, to his front five.

And it traces to Mike Martz, an offensive coordinator who has taken stock of what he has, allowed that talent (including Jay Cutler) to do what it does best, and the results were almost predictable.

Mac questioned how many more wins I reasonably foresaw for this team, particularly since my preseason call on the Bears was 10-6 or better. They're 8-3 right now and some quick projection math here:

They will win three more. The Bears will beat Detroit, either New England or the New York Jets, and either the Vikings or Green Bay Packers. That'll pop to 11-5 and a place in the playoffs.

We'll see. And we'll visit again next Thursday, same time, same station.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Thad Young addresses media in wake of reports of being dissatisfied with role

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USA Today

Thad Young addresses media in wake of reports of being dissatisfied with role

Earlier this week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Thad Young is dissatisfied with his role with the Bulls. Young addressed the report and other questions regarding his role to assorted media after Friday morning shootaround.

Questions are paraphrased for length and clarity. Our Tony Gill also has the full video of Young's comments.

On Young's thoughts on the report:

I mean, you know, y'all see my quote in the same article, so, the quote was, 'I'm gonna go out there and play as hard as I can, when I can and do what I do to help the team win games. We're just coming off a really good win for us, we're looking forward to the next game and that's all it is. No matter if I'm playing 20 minutes or I'm playing 30 minutes. You guys have seen all year long I'm just gonna continue to go out there and play as hard as I can to help my teammates. And that's what it's all about, me going out there for my teammates and just staying calm, staying patient and waiting for my time.

On if he's frustrated with the amount of playing time he's receiving:

I mean, everybody wants to play 30-40 minutes a game. Everybody wants to play, especially when they feel they can help the team. But like I said, at the end of the day, whatever coach sees fit to do, I'm falling in line, I'm rolling with it. I've said that in all previous interviews, you can see that from all my quotes they've all been the same. Nothing has changed, and I played 30+ minutes last game, but if I come out and play 18-20 minutes this game, I'm still gonna go out there and play as hard as I can, no matter what. Like I said, it's about me always being there for my teammates and my teammates knowing I'm gonna be there for them regardless in any type of situation.

On if he's talked with Jim Boylen about his playing time:

I mean, we've talked. But at the end of the day, like I said, it's all about what coach wants to do and I have to fall in line with what our coaches are putting out, and believing in the game plan. I do believe in our gameplan, I believe we can win each and every game, you know, we've lost some very, very close ones. But I do feel like I can help the team a little bit more, but at the end of the day, like I said, it's all about me going out there with the time I do get and taking care of business. 

On how he feels he can help the team:

In ways, specifically, impactful times in the game, when teams are making runs or we need some type of defensive energy and some defensive spurts in end-of-game situations. But like I said, we're in a stage where we're trying to win games and we're trying to develop players and we're trying to make sure everybody's on one accord. And like I said, with the times that I do get, I go out there and try to be as productive as I can, the same as each and every guy on this team.

On if the conversations he had with Bulls in the offseason match up with the way things are now:

I mean, like I said, the conversations in the offseason were the conversations in the offseason. But going into the season things change and things come out a little differently. But, for me, like I said, it's not really about what was said in the offseason and all of that. It's about me going out there day-to-day, doing the work, and making sure that I go out there and help my team win games, so that's been my focus, that's my only focus and coming here, my only focus is to win basketball games and I want to do that at all costs.

On if the timing of these reports surfacing soon after playing his highest minutes total of the season (33 minutes against the Hawks on Wednesday):

Like I said, you've seen my quotes in the article. So, my quotes have always kinda been the same. Just to be ready at all costs, go out there and do my job when it's needed and go out there and whatever minutes I get, play as hard as I can in those minutes. So, I don't think about the timing or anything like that, I leave that timing thought process for y'all. But for me, like I said, it's all about coming to work and putting my hard-hat on each and every night.

On if he is disillusioned with the amount of playing time he's receiving:

Like I said, everybody wants to play more minutes. That's every guy on this team. Every guy wants to go out there and be able to play 30 minutes a night. It just so happens I came from a team — or my last seven, eight years — I've been playing 30 minutes a night and being very impactful within those 30 minutes. It's definitely a change, but like I said, whatever time that you do get, you go out there and you play as hard as you can, you continue to be professional, you continue to believe in what you're trying to build and you continue to believe in your teammates each and every night.

On if he should be rewarded for positive play with more playing time down the stretch of games:

I mean, yeah, I mean, it should be. But at the end of the day, like I said, we have different things that we're trying to do. Like I said, we're trying to develop guys and we're trying to win at the same time. But at the end of the day, the minutes. Yes, I would like to play more minutes, but if I'm playing 20 minutes a game, within those 20 minutes, I'm gonna try to give somebody hell during those 20 minutes. So, it is what it is.

On if he regrets joining the Bulls:

No, I mean, I love my teammates to death. Obviously the circumstances are not the best-case scenario. But at the end of the day, I love my teammates, I go to war with them each and every day, I love being able to help some of the guys get better. I love going out there and having fun with these guys, playing games. And I love getting into the film room with the coaching staff and going over different things that we can do better as a team. I just love everything about the game, I love everything that it brings, and like I said, the situation is not best case scenario, simply because I am only playing 20 minutes a game. But if coach sees fit to play me 20, sees fit to play me 25, sees fit to play me 30, I'm with whatever he decides. He's the man in charge, he's our chief, and we have to go out there and be able to follow behind our chief each and every night.

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Bears injury report: Amukamara set to return Sunday, four Bears ruled out

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USA TODAY

Bears injury report: Amukamara set to return Sunday, four Bears ruled out

The Bears released their final injury report Friday leading up to Sunday’s matchup against the Packers.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara looks set to return from a hamstring injury that kept him out Week 14 against the Cowboys. The 30-year-old suffered the injury on Thanksgiving against the Lions. Cordarrelle Patterson practiced in full after being limited Thursday with a head injury.

Players on injured reserve aren't listed on the report, but things are looking up for defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. Bears head coach Matt Nagy said "We like what we're seeing from him" Friday.

Hicks must be activated off IR by 3 p.m. Saturday to play against the Packers.

Offensive lineman Bobby Massie (ankle), linebacker Danny Trevathan (elbow), tight end Ben Braunecker and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussions) are all out Sunday. Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris (foot) and Javon Wims (knee) are questionable.