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Need to Know: Forte is the Bear who should most concern the Redskins

Dec 9, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

Matt-Forte-Bears

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 10, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Bears in Chicago.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Bears

The thoughts aren’t as early as they usually are due to the short week but here we go:

—We have two opposing forces working against each other here. The Redskins have been good at bouncing back from bad losses. The followed up five of their previous six losses with wins. But they haven’t been able to win on the road, going 0-5. As has been discussed here, the Redskins don’t have a road problem so much as they have a problem playing teams better than they are on the road. Going into their last four road games their opponents had lost a combined total of one game. We will see what trend prevails on Sunday. (Note: The tiebreaker here could come from the Bears. They are 1-8 in their last nine games at Soldier Field.)

—Chicago is called the Windy City but on Sunday it’s going to be the rainy city, if we are to believe the weather forecast three days out. As of right now they are calling for rain all day on Sunday with temperatures in the 50’s and 15 m.p.h. winds. The conventional strategy would be to try to control the game on the ground but the Redskins have had great difficulty trying to do that this year.

—Jay Cutler was either the joke or the punch line the last few years in Chicago but under John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase he’s now having a pretty good season. He’s throwing the ball less this year compared to 2014 and enjoying it more. The 32-year-old had 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. I’m not sure if he will beat the Redskins on Sunday but I doubt that he’ll beat the Bears.

—If you ask Jay Gruden a question he will give you an answer but it might not always be the truth. When I asked him about making changes to a running game that is has averaged less than three yards per carry in seven of the last eight games, he said that they would look doing things differently. I’m not sure if they will or not but one thing they should look at seriously is junking the zone runs and going with the power scheme exclusively. Besides the zone not being what Bill Callahan likes to call and coach, the Redskins line is built for post. And zone blocking requires timing and teamwork and that is in short supply on a line that is inexperienced and has changed 80 percent of its personnel from a year ago. Power blocking is more complex than “go push that guy in front of you out of the way” but it is simpler than zone and probably better for the personnel the Redskins have in place.

—Bears RB Matt Forte has missed three games with a knee injury and he still is having a year most backs would love to have. He’s just 57 yards from hitting 1,000 combined yards rushing and receiving for the season. He hasn’t had a big game on the ground since the season opener when he went for 141 yards against the Packers. But he gained 84 against the 49ers last Sunday and a few running backs have revived their seasons against the Redskins this year. Forte is the player the Redskins should be most afraid of this Sunday.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Bears 3; Bills @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Eagles 16

In case you missed it

  1. sidepull - Dec 10, 2015 at 6:51 AM

    Forte is an all around real nice player. I also think Jeffreys could be a beast to deal with. He is really a great competitor and he has a knack for getting open and making the circus catch. DB’s need to keep him under wraps. Messed up weather report and it smells like a weekend of more takeaways. I would say whoever wins the T.O. battle wins the game but the stats you have been presenting lately Rich do not bear that out. I hope that the Redskins can run the ball in spite of all the calls lately to air it out. I just want the play calling to not be so darn obvious. Boots, play action, dont run every first down you know, game plan better.

  2. garg8050 - Dec 10, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    Theoretically, they should be able to run the ball and control the clock. I would still like to see them use the short passing game to set up the run, then bootleg and play-action off of that to take some shots downfield.
    I think they will come out focused and play well…just a hunch.

  3. metalman5150 - Dec 10, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    The Skins can’t win on the road. They might as well just stay home; that’s what I am doing!

    • ajbus1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 5:48 PM

      And the Bears can’t win at home, they’re 1-5!

  4. troylok - Dec 10, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    Chicago has questionable depth in the secondary. The secret to beating them is using a lot of 4 and 5 wide receiver plays and throw like hell. It seems counter-intuitive based on their stats, but look at how Detroit beat them earlier this year – Stafford had over 400 yards passing.

    • brucefan1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 6:43 PM

      Sure would be nice, troy … but Stafford has proven an ability to do the 400-yard-passing thing (500, even!!); it’d be a first for Cuz.

      But then, Kirk airing it out like many here are jonesing for might really catch the Bears off-guard — just like the Pokes did the the Skins with all that blitzing Monday Night!

      Hmmm … would Gru forsake what he feels safe with and try something different?!

      As “Bob the furniture guy” sez; “I doubt it.”

  5. ET - Dec 10, 2015 at 11:07 AM

    The Bears can be tough, but they lack consistency just like the Skins. It’ll be a matter of which team shows up with their “good” face on. I like our chances, however.

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 10, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    How about bringing in Darrel Young for a few plays rather than one or both of our backup offensive tackles/”tight ends”?
    ~

    • goback2rfk - Dec 10, 2015 at 2:12 PM

      Coach does not like Darrel Young. He is on the sh|t list along with Alfred Morris. The real problem here is the lack of creativity and play calling. The offense has become quite predictable and the play calling has been crap. Where is all the miss direction plays, bubble screens and sh|t to Desean Jackson. The offense needs to be less one dimensional and that starts with the coaches.

      • YOU LIKE THAT - Dec 10, 2015 at 3:30 PM

        I am pissed with the play call. I am in no way ready to say fire anyone. But this has to change. I know this team is rebuilding and not expected to be great this year but hell. Throw the ball down field…..Why wait until last minute of game to do it. And do it and get a TD. Come out passing, make them respect the deep ball. Then maybe the run will open up… Quit being pussies, I’m sick of this predictable offense..

        • goback2rfk - Dec 10, 2015 at 3:40 PM

          I agree completely. Great Post.

        • John - Dec 10, 2015 at 5:26 PM

          According to the WPs insider, they had at least 5 deep shots Monday night. One was the touchdown, one was where he overthrew Jackson by 1 yard at the end zone, one wold have been to Crowder but he lost him in traffic and one to Garcon, where Garcon fell. There as one more that he threw to the under route to Reed for 16 yards.

          The problem with the running game is the tightends that either hold or block the wrong guy, running backs that are indecisive or don’t wait for the blocks and sometimes the other guys (Lee) make plays.

          They need to spread it out with Reed, Jackson, Crowder, Garcon and alternate Jones and Thompson in the backfield. That and go up tempo.

      • bangkokben - Dec 10, 2015 at 3:40 PM

        Cooley has implied that DY not getting offensive snaps is more Callahan. Callahan designs the run game and if there is no fullback, you have to ask why. As much as Gruden didn’t use a FB in Cincinnati, Callahan didn’t exactly use one in Dallas either. Just sayin. Heck if I know.

        • ajbus1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 5:51 PM

          They should try sticking him in at TE.

  7. colmac69 - Dec 10, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    I think biggest game left for redskins is philly on boxing night……I c us splitting nxt two and xpect philly the same…….both b 6-8 along with Nyg who bt miami/lose to carolina .xpect dallas b 5-9

    Wk 16 dall at bills/Nyg at minn. ….redskins play day before

    On current form that’s kind record you will most likely get over nxt couple wks…however a team could turn form book upside dwn and win 3 even all 4 to finish 8-8,9-7….highly unlikely given how poor each team been

    As for Sunday I xpect another low scoring affair…..special teams might play big part in the final outcome

    • bangkokben - Dec 10, 2015 at 12:53 PM

      Philly is a must win for sure. This game is the game you can lose but shouldn’t. Don’t want to rely on the Giants opponents to take care of our business. They may have their own agendas by then.

    • brucefan1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 4:46 PM

      “Boxing night” … gotta love it! LOL

      And as far as Sunday, I don’t know WHAT to expect! I’m trying to rack my brain for an angle by which to pick the Skins over the Bears, but I’m coming up with bupkis.

      QB? No obvious edge there.

      Running game? THEY probably have that.

      Overall defense? The numbers favor the Monsters of the Midway.

      Coaching (including game planning/preparation/motivation)? Haha! Don’t even go THERE!

      Home field advantage? Not this week. (Yikes).

      Having more to play for (a favorite criterion of mine)? Thinking the Bears might have a bit more on the line — a loss and they’re pretty much OUT! Not so for the Skins.

      The only thing the Skins may have going for them is an ability they have shown to bounce back from defeats … their resiliency. I’ll tic that box off for them, but that’s about it. (But then Chi wants to bounce back from a tough home loss, too. D’oh!)

      Mainly I just hope that the good Redskins show up and the good Bears don’t!

    • ajbus1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 5:53 PM

      We better hope it doesn’t come down to special teams.

  8. bangkokben - Dec 10, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    West coast passing in the wind and rain – that is the best way to go. Hope Compton and Foster can continue their unexpected success.

  9. bangkokben - Dec 10, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    And Ryan Kerrigan against Kyle Long. “Showstopper” needs to break out that ridiculous wresting pose early and often.

    • goback2rfk - Dec 10, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      Even though Kerrigan has had spurts of great play I am going to call his overall season a disappointment for now. The Redskins pass rush is pretty bad. They simply do not get to the QB very often. It is very surprising the secondary has played as well as they have given the circumstances.

      It may be quite possible that McVay is in the top 5 worse offensive coordinators in the league. The man is not even 30 years old, how much could he really know about football? Makes you wonder. The play calling has been poor pretty much throughout the entire season minus a few well called games. The offense does not seem to make adjustments to whatever the defense is showing. Which could be a combination of Cousins not checking into another play at the line of scrimmage.

      Cousins has been alright, he has been good but not great, average at best. He goes straight to the hot route or check down on most plays. Either or he knows who is going to before the snap instead of scanning the field for open targets. He missed some wide open players against the Girls. He can being doing that sh|t vs. Chicago this week or the season will be wrapping up. I hope the offense figured this thing out for the Bears otherwise we stand no chance.

      • ajbus1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 5:57 PM

        Does anybody even know what McVay really does? It’s Gruden’s offense and he calls most of the plays too. Seems like McVay just sits down with Cousins to look at their Surface Pro 3’s.

    • colmac69 - Dec 10, 2015 at 2:19 PM

      One biggest issues with pass rush is lack of speed on outside…..u see it every wk with pass rush….nearly gets to qb on numerous occasions esp 3rd dwn but lack speed to finish job…..quickness is something across the board with defense but pass rusher essential

      If we running ball with efficiency u would give ball to morris and put nxt four games in his hands…..as we all know the run game is broken in many places so emphasis will b on passing attack offensively but without killer pens…..

      In 07 we were 5-7 and won four in a row starting with bears home….giants away….vikings away…..dallas at home

      • bangkokben - Dec 10, 2015 at 3:01 PM

        Todd Collins run.

        • colmac69 - Dec 10, 2015 at 4:18 PM

          Sure was….replaced Campbell and led team to four wins inc two impressive wins at Nyg and

          Should bt seattle in playoffs that season…

          That team was playing for Sean taylor so had lot motivation over last 5 wks. ….

          Is this team gd enough to win all four?highly doubtful given season so far but u just never know

          Looks like no hatcher and Thompson sunday…..wouldn’t b surprised if Thompson season finished with torn laburnum

        • ajbus1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 6:05 PM

          I was at that game in Minnesota. It was a great win and a great run with Todd Collins at QB. Portis had a good game that day and I think the Vikings were essentially eliminated from playoff contention. The crowd got pretty bad. This d-bag behind me started talking crap to my sister and I had to give him a taste of a knuckle sandwich. Who talks crap to a girl?

        • bangkokben - Dec 11, 2015 at 7:24 AM

          Apparently, Vikings fans. Did you ask if he wanted a burger and fries with his mini-soda? My favorite juvenile Minnesota jab.

      • hail74 - Dec 10, 2015 at 3:17 PM

        Watching Matt cassell “scramble” thru the middle of the pocket made me realize we have one of the slowest fronts in the league. 4 guys were behind him and couldn’t catch up to him. Knighton gets a pass but Murphy?

        • ET - Dec 10, 2015 at 3:34 PM

          Was Baker in for that down? I think of him as sneaky-fast for a man-mountain. (Not sure if that’s true or not, but hey.)

  10. ericstylezz - Dec 10, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    Not gonna act like Kirk and crew are scrubs after one tough loss but Jesus, gimme something here. Having to find another qb/coach would probably just put us back to square one of rebuilding. Where TF is the next Russell Wilson and why can’t we find him!?

    • bangkokben - Dec 10, 2015 at 3:37 PM

      Nobody is finding him. You also need a good defense to develop a QB like that. Brady was the same way – a very good game manager with a solid defense – as was Roethlisberger. Build a solid defense and then you can see if your QB can progress/grow at a reasonable rate. When you don’t have that defense, there is too much pressure and unrealistic expectations for the QB to be at a level that simply takes time. Wilson looks to be making that next step from good game manager with play maker skills to that 2nd level of quarterbacks just below elite. (In order to be elite, you need to do it consistently over TIME.) Griffin never had a good defense.
      At the same time, he didn’t show the ability to be a good game manager. He even seemed to bristle at that notion this summer when he talked about just being ordinary. Cousins can be a good game manager. Whether he can develop into a play maker remains to be seen. For most pocket quarterbacks, that is a skill that develops with knowledge of the offense and of the game. The QB class of 2012 has had many QBs with varying degrees of success (Griffin, Wilson, Luck, Foles, Osweiler, and even Cousins) but Luck and Wilson are the only ones that GMs would actually trade their #1 picks for.

      • brucefan1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 4:51 PM

        “He even seemed to bristle at that notion this summer when he talked about just being ordinary”

        How’s this twist on an old saying, ben; “You show me a pro athlete who doesn’t bristle at the thought of just being ordinary and I’ll show you one that IS ordinary.”

        Or something like that. ;^}

        • bangkokben - Dec 11, 2015 at 8:29 AM

          Belechick preaches, “Do your job (well).” Robert used to pump up the team with: “Dominate!” How about doing your job, first. Then dominating. I chalk it up to youth. If Griffin learns the simple lesson of what makes Cousins successful (distributing the ball within the timing of the play), then his talent and work ethic should make him a legit starter in today’s NFL. But if he still thinks he has to be a play maker, he’s likely to go the way of Vince Young.

      • ajbus1 - Dec 10, 2015 at 6:10 PM

        Good assessment there bangkokben. Too many teams at the top of the draft make that mistake every year. The teams picking high are usually there for a reason and a QB won’t solve their problems. Scot McC needs to keep building the D, while not ignoring the O, maybe draft a mid-round QB and see if Cousins can develop into that 2nd level of QBs while the D wins a few for us.

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