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WCG Interviews Matt Forte

Yesterday, Windy City Gridiron had a chance to chat with Bears RB Matt Forte. Hear his thoughts about the new look on each side of the field, his season goals, and how he can help get those mustard stains off of your beloved Bears jersey below.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

If it's the week before the regular season starts, it's time for star players to make the media rounds.  The cornerstone of the Bears offense, Matt Forte, is not only one of the Bears team captains for this season, but will also be serving as the Tide Color Captain for the Bears.  As he said, he's "proud to be one of the 32 captains, and we'll be capturing how fans show their support on Twitter."  Perhaps knowing that more than a few Bears jerseys are adorned with mustard stains from tailgating, he encouraged everyone to "keep your jerseys clean and ready for game day."

Tide Captains

Asked about the secret to his off-season preparation, his approach has always been, "training hard, training smart."  He's been working on rehab and training since the end of last season, and his body is feeling "as best as possible." As far as other moves this off-season, Forte said of John Fox's run-first offense that "I like it a lot.  I've been in offenses like this before, and it best suits a versatile running back."  Of course, he's looking forward to this season so he can "showcase" his abilities in both the run and pass game.

With the renewed emphasis on the run game and defensive production, Forte clearly sees the John Fox hire as a step back into the right direction, a return to the Bears football coached by pretty much everyone from Halas to Lovie Smith.  He again looked backwards to the Lovie Smith era when asked about what we can expect from the defense, highlighting a renewed emphasis on winning the turnover battle as a major benefit for the offense.  He's "seen a lot of progress" from the defense this training camp and thinks that they "should come along very well" as the season progresses. He wants to make sure the offense holds up it's end of the bargain by "protecting the football," and hopes that if this year's Bears defense can prove more stout against the run, that it will set up him and the rest of the offense for a much more productive season.

Indeed, Forte underlined his continued and the team's renewed belief in a strong run game when asked about how the injuries among the wide receivers affects his role at the start of this season.  He said that "it's a cliche that it's a passing league," and got in another underhanded jab at the previous coaching staff stating that "you always need a good ground game."  Forte pointed to both teams in last year's Super Bowl as evidence that a winning team needs a solid rushing attack, and hoped that this year's Bears could get what was necessary out of the defense, passing game, and run game to put together a well-rounded team effort.

I had to ask if Matt Forte had any breaking news about a potential move of Kyle Long to right tackle, and he seemed genuinely stunned by the question, telling me that "I don't know who said he's playing tackle" this season.  Asked about another offensive player he's certainly familiar enough with, rookie RB Jeremy Langford, Forte had high praise for his heir apparent: "He's been doing well, and he's a smart kid.  He knows the offense, and has good vision.  He's made a couple of explosive 40+ yard runs and been efficient." While Forte has often been skeptical of the RB-of-the-week that the Bears keep putting behind him on the depth chart, he's looking forward to having someone solid to "take a bit of pressure off of me" so he can be on the field for less than 90% of offensive snaps.

His personal goals for the season are straightforward enough: to stay "consistent and productive."  He "won't put a number on it" for fear of setting the bar too low for himself, but he wants to "continue to do what I've done for seven years" and "go above and beyond what I did last year."

If you want to show off your Bears swag and rock your colors on Twitter for Matt Forte this season, you can join in on the conversation with hashtag #ourcolors and by tweeting the fine folks at @tideNFL.  And while Matt Forte makes no guarantees that you won't once again drop your Polish sausage on your beloved Bears jersey, he can at least help you clean yourself off.