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How will reps be split at running back

Posted Jul 25, 2012

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I’m very happy that Matt Forte signed a long-term contract with the Bears and am excited about seeing him pair with Michael Bush. How do you think the coaches will split their reps in a typical game?

Robert G.
Des Moines, Iowa

It’s really too early to speculate on that given that starter Matt Forte and backup Michael Bush haven’t even been on the field together for a practice at this point. But I can tell you, based on some of the statements that general manager Phil Emery made to the media on Tuesday at training camp, that their playing time could hinge on the opponent the Bears are playing as well as the situation in the game. Here’s what Emery said: “I anticipate our coaches will through the preseason figure out what the right rotation is and what it is for a given opponent and a given game. The thing that’s exciting is both Michael and Matt catch the football. All the backs that we have on our roster can catch the football. They are a big part of the passing game, so that’s exciting. That allows us to maintain that balance and keep our opponents off balance.”

We all know how the Bears struggled last season when Jay Cutler got injured. With that in mind, will Jason Campbell get more reps in training camp than Caleb Hanie did last summer?

Phil M.
Lombard, Illinois

There are always plenty of reps in training camp for the first three quarterbacks on the depth chart and this year will be no different. So Jason Campbell will certainly get his work in, but the top priority of course will be to get Jay Cutler the snaps he needs to be ready for the season. Here’s what coach Lovie Smith said about the situation Tuesday in Bourbonnais: “We know who our starter is. Jay needs to get his reps and we’re going to get those for him. … [Campbell] will get his reps, but not at the expense of what Jay will get. At the same time, we want to see our other quarterbacks too. But I think there is enough to go around between reps in practice. We’re going to practice a little bit longer and what we can do with the preseason games all of the quarterbacks are going to feel comfortable with.”

After holding Brian Urlacher out of offseason workouts, how concerned are the Bears about the knee he injured in last year’s season finale against the Vikings?

Dave F.
Indiana

The Bears don’t seem to be concerned at all about Brian Urlacher’s knee. They held him out of offseason workouts strictly as a precautionary measure. (It’s not like he had to show coaches what he could do or learn a new system.) Coach Lovie Smith revealed Tuesday that Urlacher will practice without restrictions, saying: “He’s ready to go. We’re cautious with players when they’re not fit and full speed, ready to go. But once we get them out there, we’re never trying to take out any of our players in practice. You have to know how to practice first off to try to avoid injuries. I feel like we can do that and if injuries happen, they just kind of happen.”

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