Matt Forte feels that the Chicago Bears are close to fielding a Super Bowl contender.
And after signing Jay Cutler to a seven-year, $126.7-million contract, it appears ownership does, too.
“I was happy for him,” Forte said of Cutler on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I was happy for him and for us. Jay was doing great when we first started out the season. We had a couple last-play, game-winning throws. He was doing great in this offense. And then the injury came along and that slowed him down a lot.”
The Bears started 3-0 and 4-2 before Cutler missed several games with groin and ankle injuries. Overall, Chicago went just 5-6 in Cutler’s 11 starts, but there’s no denying he was effective when healthy.
“He was controlling the huddle and calling plays and (leading) game-winning drives,” Forte said. “(That) obviously gave management enough foresight to sign him through 2020.”
Forte, meanwhile, was incredible this season. He had 1,339 rushing yards, averaged 4.6 yards per carry, had 74 catches for 594 yards, and scored 12 touchdowns (nine rush, three receiving). Yet, he was disappointed – despite falling just 67 yards shy of a 2,000-yard season.
“It was decent,” Forte said. “To my standards, I think it was just decent. I have a chance to have a great year in the next couple years.”
That’s because Forte’s coach, Marc Trestman, showed his prowess as an offensive guru this season. The Bears averaged 27.8 points per game this season, which was second only to Denver (37.9).
“Coach Trestman is a great coach,” Forte said. “As a play-caller, he’s very intelligent. He tries to get the ball into his playmakers’ hands in different ways. (In 2012), it was kind of difficult doing that. It was like I wasn’t really in the passing game. This year, he did that – whether it was (with) screens or (with me split out wide).”
While the Chicago offense was stellar (finally!), the Chicago defense was abysmal, finishing 30th in the league in points per game allowed (29.9). Forte, however, believes this was due more so to injuries – such as those sustained by Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman – than poor coaching or execution.
Either way, Forte, 28, remains hopeful for the future and feels the Bears can compete for an NFC North title in 2014 – something they just missed out on this season.
As for this Sunday, Forte is picking Denver to beat Seattle.
“I’m going with the Broncos, I think,” Forte said. “Peyton having the experience (of) being in the Super Bowl (will be the difference). Seattle does have a great defense – not to mention a great running game and a special quarterback – but I think Peyton’s going to pull it out with those guys he has.”