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Will Forte emerge as threat in run and pass game?

Posted May 7, 2013

Larry discusses if the Bears will use Matt Forte more as a receiver, if Kyle Long can participate in this weekend's rookie minicamp and the best move of the offseason.

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.

Will Matt Forte re-emerge as one of the NFL's most feared backs in the run/pass game?

From TheServer on Twitter

I certainly think there's a good chance of the Bears utilizing Matt Forte's versatility under new coach Marc Trestman. Former Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz was criticized for a lot of things, but one thing I feel he did exceptionally well was get the ball into Forte's hands as a receiver. Forte has proven that he's very effective in space, where he's able to utilize his speed and elusiveness. He averaged 56 receptions for 496 yards while catching eight touchdown passes over his first four NFL seasons. But for whatever reason he wasn't used as frequently as a receiver out of the backfield last year under coordinator Mike Tice, posting a career-low 44 catches for 340 yards and 1 TD. I know the Bears have Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall and new tight end Martellus Bennett as weapons in the passing game, but I hope the Bears can also take advantage of Forte's skills as a receiver.

Is it true that Kyle Long is not eligible for this weekend's rookie minicamp?

From James H. on Twitter

No, Kyle Long will be able to participate in this weekend's rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. However, the Bears' first-round pick from Oregon will miss the remainder of the team's offseason program due to an NFL rule that prevents rookies from participating in workouts until their college class graduates. Fifth-round offensive tackle Jordan Mills and undrafted receiver Mark Harrison also will miss parts of the offseason program. In terms of Long's development, I don't think it will be that big of a deal. He'll be able to study his playbook, and the non-contact workouts are probably least important for offensive linemen, who don't really begin preparing for the grind of the season until the pads come on in training camp. I think it would be a much bigger problem for a quarterback, though Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts was affected by the same rule last year and didn't seem to struggle too much because of it.  

What offseason move are you most excited about?

From Antonio O. on Twitter

You mean other than the Bears building a brand new kitchen and dining area as part of a massive Halas Hall renovation project? OK, just kidding. I know it's not one move like you asked, but I would have to say the moves the Bears have made to upgrade their offensive line. All Bears fans should be excited about the proactive approach that general manager Phil Emery and the personnel department took in signing left tackle Jermon Bushrod and guard Matt Slauson in free agency and selecting Oregon's Kyle Long in the first round of the draft.

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