LAKE FOREST, Ill. – One way for the Bears to compensate for their injuries at wide receiver is to run the football on Saturday.
That strategy probably appeals to quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler said the team’s backfield is deep behind incumbent starter Matt Forte, who ranks second in Bears history in yards from scrimmage (11,431) and rushing yards (7,704 on 1,817 attempts).
“I wouldn’t want to be the guy that has to make that decision [on which running backs to keep],” Cutler said. “We got the rookie, Jeremy Langford. We’ve got some other guys that came on. Jacquizz Rodgers has had a great preseason. Langford has had a good preseason. Twenty-five, Ka'Deem Carey, has come on. He’s run the ball extremely hard. I know Stan (Drayton) is doing a great job with those guys making sure they’re on their stuff. Every time you give a guy the ball, it seems like they’re getting some chunks here and there. So I don’t know how it’s going to shake out.”
There is also the issue of protecting Cutler in the pocket.
The Bears have not found a permanent solution yet at right tackle between Charles Leno and Jordan Mills, and at left tackle, Jermon Bushrod is managing a sore back that could bother him the entire year.
Bears head coach John Fox is a proponent of running the football. Perhaps that is how the Bears can navigate around certain potential pitfalls against a feisty Bengals defense that hit Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston multiple times on Monday night.
“My feeling has been that sometimes, when you’re dropping back to pass a lot, that might be the biggest mismatch in football - the difference in athleticism between D-linemen and O-linemen,” Fox said. “The great equalizer is sometimes you’re 320 [pounds on offense] and the guy they’re running against is 240 pounds on defense. So it’s that effect when linemen get to go forward and you get the positive matchup instead of the negative one. Not to say you pass the ball every play or run the ball every play. But it does offset some of those mismatches.”