Marc Trestman's offense has been described as quarterback-friendly, but Jay Cutler isn't the only member of the Bears who could thrive in the first-year coach's system.
Running back Matt Forte appears primed to have a productive season working within the scheme given the versatility and skills he possesses as both a runner and receiver.
|Matt Forte was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.|
From 2008-11, Forte became the first player in NFL history to compile at least 900 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons. That streak was snapped last year when he was limited to a career-low 44 receptions for 340 yards.
Forte is optimistic that his role as a receiver will expand again this season. He's certainly aware that Raiders running back Charlie Garner caught 91 passes for 941 yards in 2002 when Trestman was Oakland's offensive coordinator.
"I didn't really run a lot of pass routes last year, so that's the only main difference," Forte said. "I'm out of the backfield. Last year I only lined up as a receiver a few times. It's not anything I haven't done before, but last year I didn't really get out of the backfield much."
Cutler expects the Bears will move Forte around to take advantage of his ability to catch the ball.
"He showed that early in his career here and with his ability to run the zone and all the other different running schemes we have, we should see him in a lot of different spots hopefully if we're clicking, if we're doing things the right way," said the Bears quarterback.
Forte has been ultra-productive since joining the Bears in 2008 as a second-round draft pick from Tulane. After just five seasons, he ranks fourth on the franchise's all-time list in rushing (5,327 yards) and third in yards from scrimmage (7,652) and 100-yard rushing games (15).
"Watching him from afar and watching him up close, you're more impressed when you see him up close but you sure are impressed from afar as well," said Kromer, who spent the past five seasons as an assistant with the Saints. "We've been watching Matt from around the league for years and we expect him to continue at a high level of productivity and we're going to expect it from him."
Forte has been impressed with Kromer, particularly how the offensive coordinator has prepared starting rookie offensive linemen Kyle Long and Jordan Mills for Sunday's season opener.
"We've got a real good relationship," Forte said. "We all know our goals in our offense. We want to run the ball, be physical up front. That also opens up the passing game, everybody knows that. Coach Kromer is a great coach. He stays on those linemen. He's done a great job getting the two rookies on the right side ready for this game."
While Kromer sees Forte as a perfect fit in the offense, the revamped line should also help the running back. The Bears have replaced four of their five starters up front, with newcomers at left tackle (Jermon Bushrod), left guard (Matt Slauson), right guard (Long) and right tackle (Mills) joining the only holdover, center Roberto Garza.
"We've got some good guys up there and they want to work and they are excited about it too," Forte said. "They want to do just as well as I do, so I'm excited for those guys. They're excited to get to game time and block and open up holes and just to see everything play out.
"When they're blocking and stuff and they've got their head down and they see people make big plays, they get more excited than we do. I'm just glad that they're up there."