The New England Patriots’ run defense has been disappointing. It’ll be tested in Week 8 when the Pats welcome the Chicago Bears to Gillette Stadium.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick heaped praise on Bears running back Matt Forte while discussing Sunday’s matchup with reporters Wednesday. As far as Belichick is concerned, Forte stacks up favorably with the NFL’s best.
“They can run the ball. They’ve got a great runner and one of the best backs in the league, maybe the best back in the league,” Belichick said of Forte. “He’s certainly been an impressive guy to watch, both in the passing game and in the running game. (He) breaks tackles, has good quickness, good balance, good vision, excellent hands, smart and aware in the passing game. He doesn’t just catch the ball well, but he knows how to get open.”
Forte leads the NFL in receptions with 52. He already has 884 yards — 436 receiving, 448 rushing — on the ground and through the air, proving he’s one of the league’s most dynamic players. With the Patriots’ defense struggling to contain the New York Jets’ rushing attack last Thursday, Belichick realizes his team will have its hands full this week.
“Very challenging. He’s a threat every time he steps on to the field in a number of different ways — passing game, running game. Any time he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a good solid player,” Belichick said, again lauding Forte’s dual-threat ability. “He’s tough, great vision, great balance. He definitely has the ability to turn nothing into something in a hurry, and he can turn something into a lot in a hurry, too. Hard guy to tackle, does a good job of creating space for himself and finding openings, getting to places where there are fewer defenders and then taking advantage of it.”
The Patriots’ run defense ranks 24th in the NFL, having allowed 126.3 rushing yards per game. New England added a couple of players, Akeem Ayers and Alan Branch, this week to improve its front seven, but the unit will be thrown into the fire immediately.
Photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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