That sound you hear in Lake Forest is the heads at Halas Hall letting out a collective sigh of relief.
The Monsters of the Midway appear to have some swagger again during offseason workouts, as the Jay Cutler trade has reinvigorated the entire organization and given fans plenty of reason to be optimistic for 2009. But said optimism could have been all but eradicated in a hurry this past Wednesday, as star second-year tailback Matt Forte was seen limping gingerly off the practice field with what looked to be some sort of left leg injury. Fortunately for the Bears, an MRI Thursday revealed little more than a tweak of his hamstring.
The former second-round draft pick is going to miss at least a week of OTAs, and since there is no reason to push the offensive work horse before training camp, Forte could be shelved until it's time to head to Bourbonnais.
Forte spends some time on the practice field with Brian Urlacher during OTAs last week.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
If there is a silver lining to this story, it's that the Midway Monsters will have a better opportunity to see what they have on the depth chart behind Forte heading into this season. Kevin Jones didn't do miuch in 2008 after returning quickly from a wrecked knee the previous campaign, although the former Lion feels much stronger now and should have a bigger role in the offense this year. Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe are little more than special-teams contributors at this point, but both veterans will get increased reps during OTAs the next two weeks.
While Forte was terrific last season and worthy of Rookie-of-the-Year consideration, he broke down to some degree in December – mostly because the coaching staff didn't have enough confidence in his backups to take Forte off the field and subjected him to too much punishment along the way.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.