Stock Watch: Find a way for Forte
November, 13, 2012
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireMatt Forte averaged just 2.4 yards per carry against the Texans on Sunday.
1. Tim Jennings, CB: Tacked on two more interceptions, and continues to lead the NFL in interceptions (eight). Despite being targeted 30 times more in coverage than Charles Tillman, Jennings has given up just eight more receptions than his counterpart. According to Pro Football Focus, opponents are actually more successful throwing the ball in Tillman's direction. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 36.7 when throwing Jennings' way in coverage, and a 57.9 rating against Tillman.
Jennings hasn't missed a tackle in four games.
2. Brian Urlacher, LB: Credited with eight tackles against the Texans (we counted nine), Urlacher actually didn't play his best game. He missed two tackles, but made up for it by making two stops for lost yardage. Urlacher had gone four games without missing a tackle before the Texans came to town. But his stock is rising because of the strides he's making in recovery from August knee surgery. It appears we're starting to see the old Urlacher again, and that's a positive with the schedule stiffening over these next five weeks.
3. Charles Tillman, CB: Quietly put together a solid performance against the Texans, despite playing with the stress of anticipating the birth of a child. Tillman was credited for six tackles (we counted seven), and he broke up two passes. The NFC defensive player of the month for October, Tillman is already off to a strong start in November. He and Jennings combined for five pass breakups against the Texans, as the Bears held them to 88 net yards passing.
1. Kellen Davis, TE: There's no way Davis deserved to be booed after he was shaken up in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Texans. But his play definitely warranted boos from the crowd at Soldier Field. Davis caught one pass despite being targeted on five occasions, and dropped two balls, in addition to fumbling after a big shot from safety Danieal Manning. Interestingly, Davis outweighs Manning, a former Bears safety, by 56 pounds. The tight end also struggled as a blocker, and it's looks like the Bears may be looking at giving rookie Evan Rodriguez a shot at the position.
2. Matt Forte, RB: First off, Forte needs touches to make the dynamic plays he's capable of. But against the Texans, he averaged just 2.4 yards per carry, and his longest run of the night gained just 8 yards. So clearly, the Texans focused on taking away Forte, who also caught just two passes for minus-3 yards. But even with teams gearing up to stop Forte, the coaching staff needs to find ways to free him up.
Forte needs to do his part, too. After making four defenders miss in the opener, Forte hasn't caused tacklers to miss more than twice in any game this season.
3. Devin Hester, WR: The staff depended on Hester to fill the void left by rookie Alshon Jeffery, and even increased the veteran's snaps on offense. Hester has dropped just three passes all season, but finished Sunday with two catches on four targets for 4 yards. Hester didn't perform badly against the Texans. His placement here is based on his cumulative production in Jeffery's absence. Hester hasn't finished with more than 38 receiving yards in the four games since Jeffery has missed.