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PostitaminePealkiri: Stopping Forte key to stopping Bears   Stopping Forte key to stopping Bears I_icon_minitimeReede Nov 04, 2011 4:00 pm

Jamar Chaney said that Matt Forte is "probably the best running back in the league right now."

Putting aside the thought of LeSean McCoy also laying claim to that title - and the Eagles linebacker did later toss his teammate's name into the argument - there is ample evidence that Forte is tops in the NFL.
No other running back is as responsible for as much of his team's offense. Forte's 1,091 yards from scrimmage account for 46.2 percent of the Chicago Bears' total yards. McCoy, by comparison, has a 28.4 percent piece of the Eagles pie.

Needless to say, when the Eagles host the Bears on Monday night, No. 22 will draw most of the rejuvenated defense's attention.

"When he makes up half of the offense we should at least give him half of the attention," Eagles defensive end Jason Babin said. "We should be fair."

Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel said Thursday that the Eagles' No. 1 job on defense heading into Sunday's game against the Cowboys was to limit Jason Witten. The Dallas tight end caught just four passes for 28 yards.

Mission accomplished.

Forte presents another set of problems because he's almost as good catching the ball as he is running. His 672 yards rushing is sixth best in the NFL, but he leads all tailbacks with 419 yards receiving.

He appears to have taken his ball-carrying, however, to another level. His average of 5.4 yards per carry is 1.2 yards above his career mark. Many are attributing the spike to his desire for a contract extension.

"It's a contract year for him," Eagles linebacker Moise Fokou said. "He's got something to prove. He's running mad. He's running to prove a point."

Forte's situation is similar to that of Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Both were drafted in the second round in 2008. Both are geneCheap NFL Jerseysrally believed to have out-played their rookie contracts. Both want extensions. And both have yet to be extended.

Some have suggested Forte should walk out on the team to make his point. He has never broached the subject. The Eagles will have no such luck.

The question then is how do they plan on stopping him?

They have to stack the box, right?

"The first thing you got to do when you play the Bears offense is stop Forte," Chaney said. "If you've got to play eight, nine, 10 [in the box] to stop him, then that's what you've got to do."

If the defense can slow down Forte on the ground, then Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will have to shoulder more of the load, which should play into the Eagles' hands. Cutler isn't a stiff - as he showed last season in the Bears' 31-26 win over the Eagles - but his receivers are mediocre and his offensive line has struggled.

The problem with focusing too much on the run is that Forte is just as adept catching the ball out of the backfield. He has a team-leading 38 receptions.

"Because he doesn't just run the ball, he catches the ball as well, we're always going to have a pair of eyes on him," Eagles safety Kurt Coleman said.

In last season's gamcheap nfl jerseys free shippinge, Forte caught only two passes for 22 yards, but he rushed for 117 yards on just 14 carries. In two prior meetings, though, Forte was held to 2.3 yards a tote (a combined 33 carries for 77 yards) and caught nine passes for 62 yards.

He hasn't scored a touchdown against the Eagles. If there's a knock on Forte this season, it's that he has only three total scores. McCoy, by comparison, has 10.

Still, this will likely be the Eagles' toughest challenge on the ground, even though the defense has seen comparable talents such as Buffalo's Fred Jackson and Atlanta's Michael Turner. The Eagles struggled in all of their first five games as each lead running back ran for at least 86 yards.

In Week 6 against the Redskins, defensive coordinator Juan Castillo tightened the wide nine up front and pinched the linebackers closer to the line. It discount nfl jerseysworked, as Washington running backs managed just 28 yards on 12 carries.

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray logged only eight carries last week, but he gained 74 yards, so there is still concern that the run defense hasn't been fixed. Has it?

"No," Fokou said. "We're just playing it better and finally understanding where everybody has to be. We're trusting each other since we emphasized three weeks ago that we have to stop the run."
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