Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Forte Frustration

Friday, September 14, 2012

Matt Forte owners griped all week about losing goal-line carries to Michael Bush (as he should). That’s small potatoes now.

During the third quarter of Wednesday’s loss to the Packers, Forte was on his way out of bounds when Charles Woodson awkwardly tried to make the tackle. Woodson’s knee struck Forte’s foot, causing the multi-purpose back’s ankle to roll. Forte attempted to get taped up and go back in the game, but couldn’t cut at all. He then went to the locker room and was quickly ruled out for the night.

After the game, the Bears stayed tight-lipped.

"The extent of the injury we don't know right now but he couldn't finish the game," coach Lovie Smith said.

I hate to speculate on injuries, but I thought Forte’s injury looked a lot like the ankle sprain Jonathan Stewart sustained during the preseason. Both players' toes ended up too high, but their foot didn’t stick in the ground and roll. As we’ve seen, Stewart’s injury turned out to be a three-week deal.

As we await a timetable, Michael Bush should be owned in every single league across the land. He has starting-caliber talent and we know he’s the goal-line back anyway.

* Greg Jennings (groin) was inactive, but seemed close to playing. He’ll probably be back for Week 3.
* Awful night for James Jones. He was an every-down receiver, but had a touchdown pass go off his fingertips. Worse yet was when he broke off a route at the wrong time, resulting in an Aaron Rodgers interception. Rodgers was furious with Jones.
* The Packers used a rejuvenated Tramon Williams on Brandon Marshall when he lined up outside. On the inside, Marshall saw Charles Woodson. In both scenarios, the Packers had a safety on top. When Jay Cutler finally did get a perfect pass off to Marshall, he dropped a routine catch in the end zone.
* The Bears’ pass protection was laughable. It was at least as bad as it was when Jay Cutler was running for his life last season.  
* Now would be a good time to buy low on Aaron Rodgers. He’s faced two of the league’s better defenses already.
* With the Packers nursing a lead for most of the game, Randall Cobb wasn’t used in the backfield very much. Those duties went to Cedric Benson, who actually showed some gas in the tank. He even beat Bears S Major Wright to the edge on one play. (Wright should be humiliated.)

The Chargers thought that Ronnie Brown would be a suitable stopgap while Ryan Mathews was sidelined. It took them less than one quarter on Monday night to realize that wouldn’t be the case. Brown is totally out of gas, washed up and slow.

Have no fear, however, because Superman is coming to the rescue. Ryan Mathews, one of the most productive per-play backs in the league over the last two seasons, has been cleared for contact. He practiced in pads on Thursday and appears headed for a game-time call at worst. It’s a tough spot for owners considering the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff Sunday, but Mathews is close. He’s on track to be three-down and goal-line workhorse come Week 3.

We knew that Jeremy Maclin (hip pointer) was in doubt for Week 2. We found out Thursday that DeSean Jackson strained a hamstring during Wednesday’s practice and is now questionable as well.

Coach Andy Reid is optimistic that both will play, but he’s not taking any chances. The Eagles re-signed Mardy Gilyard off the street and are currently carrying three wideouts on the practice squad. If Maclin can’t go, rookie Damaris Johnson is expected to start, leaving Jason Avant in his usual slot role.

Regardless, owners of both Eagles wideouts should be on alert. They were already facing a tough matchup against a Ravens defense that figures to put a ton of pressure on Michael Vick. The Eagles offensive line once again looks lost as they’re playing without All-Pro Jason Peters.

I wrote about the Colts bungling of the Austin Collie situation exactly one week ago. Nothing has changed.

After Collie practiced in full on Wednesday, coach Chuck Pagano said his No. 2 wideout has been totally cleared and is ready to play in Week 2. On Thursday, however, Collie was downgraded to a limited practice. This really should be simple: Either Collie has been cleared to play football with full contact or not. Until I actually see him on the field, I’m not trusting anything the Colts say anymore.


Braylon Edwards will come off the bench behind Golden Tate at split end this week. … The Lions expect Mikel Leshoure (suspension) to contribute immediately come Week 3. … Armon Binns has passed Brandon Tate on the Bengals’ depth chart. Yawn. … Joseph Morgan is going to be the Saints’ No. 3 wideout with Devery Henderson (concussion) doubtful and Adrian Arrington (knee) on injured reserve.  … Legedu Naanee saw just 27 snaps in Week 1. He’s a poor NFL receiver. … Tom Brady said he still expects Wes Welker “to be a huge part of this offense and what we do on a weekly basis.”

Antonio Gates (ribs) is sore but should be fine for Sunday. … Dustin Keller (hamstring) was downgraded to out on Thursday. Really bad sign. … Javon Ringer (elbow) is not expected to play this week. Good news for Chris Johnson’s receiving stats. … Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is tentatively expected to play vs. the Saints. … The Steelers continue to pretend like Rashard Mendenhall (knee) is going to play. In reality, it’s going to be the Isaac Redman/Jonathan Dwyer show again. … LeGarrette Blount (neck) returned to a full practice. … Rashad Jennings (knee) is looking very doubtful. Maurice Jones-Drew is set up for a monster workload.

Hakeem Nicks’ (foot) absence Wednesday was scheduled. He’ll be fine. … The oft-injured Sidney Rice (knee) has missed two straight practices and has a tough matchup against the Cowboys this week. … Kenny Britt (knee) is on track for 20-25 snaps Sunday. … Denarius Moore (hamstring) has been practicing well and appears ready to go, but may be on a snap count … Pierre Garcon (foot) is probably headed for a game-time call. … Jake Locker’s shoulder is not a real concern. … Calvin Johnson (foot) returned to a full practice, as expected. … Steve Smith (CAR) has a sore knee but should be fine.  

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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