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He's a big fan of Forte
Jaguars coach likes what he sees in Bears rookie
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Columnist

Bears rookie Matt Forte has caught 48 passes for 358 yards while also rushing for 1,012 yards.


Associated Press

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Published: 12/5/2008 12:01 AM

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Sunday's predicted high temperature is 21 degrees (with a low of 13). The Jaguars enjoyed a high of 71 Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.

"We hope that they're watching us, too," Bears coach Lovie Smith said on the practice field at Halas Hall following an outdoor practice Thursday afternoon. "It's cold up here, there's no way around that.

"When you come from Florida ... I know when I was in Tampa, (when) the weather was under 30 degrees, it affected the guys quite a bit. In the end, though, we're going to play on the same football field that they will play on. But once you get off that plane, it's a little bit different."

Last season, when the Jaguars advanced to the second round of the playoffs, they were eliminated in New England on Jan. 12.

But they defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh twice in three weeks, on Dec. 16 (29-22) and again Jan. 5 (31-29) in the wild-card round of the postseason.

In 2006, they lost both of their late-season, cold-weather games, 27-24 at Buffalo on Nov. 26 and 35-30 at Kansas City on Dec. 31.

"It's tough. It's freezing," Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said. "We had to go inside (Wednesday); it was just 'blizzarding.' It was getting kind of ridiculous outside.

"Obviously that's going to be a homefield advantage (against) any dome or warm-weather team, so I say, 'Bring it on.' "

On the bandwagon: Count Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio among the many fans of Bears rookie running back Matt Forte, who already has rushed for 1,012 yards and caught 48 passes for another 358 yards.

"I don't want to get carried away," Del Rio said, "but I see some Marcus Allen-type vision and balance with him. He's a taller guy, (and) he runs with good pad level. He's got good vision and balance, and I think he does a nice job following his blocks and setting up his blocks.

"I've got a lot of family and friends that live in Louisiana, so I'm aware of some of the things he did at Tulane. A lot of them were telling me how good he was going to be coming out.

"Of course we weren't in the market for a back, but I thought he was a good back coming out, and they've got a good player there."

Injury update: Defensive tackle Anthony Adams (foot), defensive end Adewale Ogunleye (shoulder) and fullback Jason McKie (quadriceps) all missed practice Thursday for a second straight day, but coach Lovie Smith said he expects both linemen to be back at practice today and on the field Sunday.

Linebackers Lance Briggs (rest) and Hunter Hillenmeyer (Achilles) were limited at Thursday's outdoor practice, as were defensive tackle Tommie Harris (rest), center Olin Kreutz (rest) and safety Mike Brown (rest). All are expected to play Sunday, with the possible exception of Hillenmeyer.

Highs and lows: Despite a foot injury, 6-foot, 307-pound Anthony Adams is being counted on to pick up the slack left by the season-ending injury to Dusty Dvoracek. The stocky Adams is a high-RPM player but obviously is built close to the ground, as teammate Lance Briggs pointed out to his own amusement.

"He's got a lot of energy," Briggs said. "He's a high-energy guy, high motor. He's going to give you what you want. What he can't give you is height - but he makes up for it in technique.

"That's about as far as I can go with that one," said Briggs before breaking up.