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Bush, Allen get more practice reps

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 6, 2013 – 7:23 pm

With starting running back Matt Forte given a veteran’s day off Tuesday, backups Michael Bush and Armando Allen received more opportunities in practice.

“I thought they got some good work, a good change of speed with a downhill runner like Michael and being able to catch the ball outside, and then Armando at the point of attack and outside as well,” said coach Marc Trestman. “I thought our run period was really strong today.”

Trestman was pleased with the effort and physical play on both sides of the ball.

“We kept our pads down today,” Trestman said. “Some of the mistakes we made [Monday], we corrected last night and we carried it over today and cleaned it up. I thought that was good.

“I thought our effort to the ball was very good, particularly in our defensive perimeter in the back end. You’re seeing Tim Jennings run all the way across the field to cover a run. You’re seeing Charles [Tillman] do the same thing. These guys have a plan. There’s no doubt about it. The guys who have been around here defensively have a plan.”

Defensive end Shea McClellin delivered the play of the day, leaping high at the line of scrimmage to intercept a Jay Cutler pass and then returning it for a touchdown.

Left tackle Jermon Bushrod participated in the entire practice after being limited Monday by a calf injury that sidelined him for a week. Tackle Jonathan Scott (knee) did not practice Tuesday after taking part in individual drills Monday.

Other Bears who remained sidelined included middle linebacker D.J. Williams (calf), nickel back Kelvin Hayden (hamstring) and receiver Earl Bennett, who continues to be evaluated for a concussion. Defensive end Julius Peppers was excused from practice.


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Forte ruled out of Sunday’s game

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 21, 2012 – 2:45 pm

The Bears on Friday announced that running back Matt Forte will miss Sunday’s home game against the Rams with a sprained ankle he sustained in last Thursday night’s loss to the Packers.

“Matt Forte is making a lot of progress, but he won’t be ready to go this week,” said coach Lovie Smith. “Everybody else is ready to go and practiced today.”

Forte will be replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Michael Bush, who has rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries in two games this season.

With the Raiders last year, Bush stepped in after Darren McFadden suffered a season-ending injury and rushed for 977 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 37 passes for 418 yards and 1 TD.

“No doubt we feel comfortable with Michael Bush,” Smith said. “Michael’s excited about playing too. When you’re the backup running back, you want to get reps and I can’t think of a running back that’s ever had too many carries. So he’s excited about it, as is Armando Allen and Kahlil Bell. All those guys are ready to go.”

Rams running back Steven Jackson will be a game-time decision. Jackson did not practice Friday for the third straight day and was listed as questionable on the injury report, meaning there’s a 50/50 chance he’ll play.

Also for St. Louis, left tackle Rodger Saffold (knee), defensive tackle Matt Conrath (knee) and safety Matt Daniels (hamstring) are out; defensive tackle Michael Brockers (ankle) is doubtful; and backup left tackle Wayne Hunter (ankle) and fullback Brit Miller (thigh) are questionable.


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Bush will be ready to start if needed

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 20, 2012 – 5:32 pm

With running back Matt Forte hampered by a sprained ankle he sustained last Thursday night against the Packers, Michael Bush will be ready to start if needed Sunday versus the Rams.

Bush signed a four-year contract with the Bears in March after appearing in 61 games with 19 starts in four seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

“Michael has started a lot in the league,” said coach Lovie Smith. “He’s been in this role before where the starter has gone down and the rest of the team, they just want to see another tailback in there that can do just as good a job. There aren’t many Matt Fortes out there. But our backup plan is pretty good, and Mike’s going to step in there and do a great job.”

With the Raiders last year, Bush stepped in after starter Darren McFadden suffered a season-ending injury and rushed for 977 yards and seven touchdowns.

“He’s not Matt, but he’s going to come in and give us a great running attack,” said quarterback Jay Cutler. “He’s really smart in pass protection and he catches the ball terrific out of the backfield. We’re not going to miss much by putting him in.”

Smith said that Forte is “getting better,” adding “I know ‘getting better’ doesn’t say an awful lot, but he’s making progress which we would like for him to do.”

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who missed the entire offseason program and all four preseason games with a knee injury, was held out of practice Thursday after working out Wednesday.

“That may be the routine for a period of time,” Smith said. “He’s getting closer each week that he plays and we’re seeing improved play by him also, so we’ll keep that routine going for him.”

Defensive end Julius Peppers practiced without limitations Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a sore foot.

Six Rams missed practice for the second straight day: Defensive tackles Michael Brockers (ankle) and Matt Conrath (knee), safety Matt Daniels (hamstring), tackle Rodger Saffold (knee), running back Steven Jackson (groin) and fullback Brit Miller (thigh). Tackle Wayne Hunter (ankle) was limited.


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Peppers, Forte held out of practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 19, 2012 – 4:16 pm

Defensive end Julius Peppers (foot) and running back Matt Forte (ankle) sat out practice Wednesday as the Bears continued preparing for Sunday’s home game against the St. Louis Rams.

Coach Lovie Smith said that Peppers “should be good to go” Thursday, while Forte is “making progress” after exiting last Thursday night’s loss in Green Bay with a sprained ankle.

If Forte can’t play Sunday, he’ll be replaced by Michael Bush. The veteran back filled in admirably for the Raiders last year after Darren McFadden sustained a season-ending injury, rushing for 977 yards and seven touchdowns and catching 37 passes for 418 yards and 1 TD.

“It helps for sure when he has been in that role out in Oakland with McFadden,” Smith said. “That’s why we have so much comfort in knowing that he’s been in there and what he can do.”

Bush signed a four-year contract with the Bears in March after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Raiders, where he increased his rushing yardage each year from 421 to 589 to 655 to 977.

“Mike’s a good player,” Smith said. “We said when we brought him in we were bringing in a starting tailback that we added to the mix. For us, it’s the next guy up. Hopefully Matt won’t be out long, but we feel comfortable with Mike while he’s gone.”

Seven Rams missed practice Wednesday: Defensive tackles Michael Brockers (ankle) and Matt Conrath (knee), safety Matt Daniels (hamstring), tackles Wayne Hunter (ankle) and Rodger Saffold (knee), running back Steven Jackson (groin) and fullback Brit Miller (thigh).


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Bush will stay ready in backup role

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 22, 2012 – 3:47 pm

Every second-stringer wants to start, but you won’t hear veteran running back Michael Bush complaining about being stuck behind starter Matt Forte on the depth chart.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time in the same situation,” said Bush, who signed with the Bears in March after spending his first five NFL seasons primarily as a backup with the Raiders. “There are enough balls to go around.

“You can’t get frustrated on the sidelines whether you’re playing or not because eventually it’s going to come around to where you need to be ready. It’s going to be your turn to play. I’m not a guy that’s going to fuss about it. When it’s my turn, I’m going to be ready for it.”

Bush certainly was ready last year in Oakland when starting running back Darren McFadden suffered a season-ending foot injury in October. Bush stepped in and rushed for 99, 96, 157 and 109 yards in his first four games, ultimately finishing the year with a career-high 977 yards.

With the Bears, Bush plans to feed off Forte’s success this season.

“If he’s out there and does a great job, I want to come in and answer as well,” Bush said. “We’re competing just to do good amongst each other, but not for who’s starting.”

While Bush insists that he’s a complete running back and not just a short-yardage specialist, offensive coordinator Mike Tice doesn’t need to be convinced about the 6-1, 245-pounder.

“I don’t see him as a goal-line back,” Tice said. “I see him as a guy that’s going to go out there and make plays for us. He happens to be a bigger guy, so it makes sense to put him in those situations, short-yardage and goal-line. But there are other things that he does very well and we’re not going to shy away from calling anything with Michael.”


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Bush changing people’s perceptions

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 20, 2012 – 2:55 pm

A few weeks ago in training camp Michael Bush insisted that he’s more than just a bruising battering ram capable of lowering his head and driving the pile back a yard or two.

The 6-1, 245-pound running back proved that assertion in Saturday night’s preseason win over the Redskins, nimbly faking out linebacker Perry Riley on an eight-yard touchdown run.

“I think he has quicker feet than anyone anticipated, making the guy miss in the hole,” quarterback Jay Cutler said Monday at Halas Hall. “That kind of threw us for a loop just watching it.”

Bush signed a four-year contract with the Bears in March after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Raiders, rushing for 2,642 yards and 21 touchdowns on 256 carries while playing in 61 games with 19 starts. He also caught 91 passes for 879 yards and 1 TD.

“He’s a hard worker,” Cutler said. “He’s a professional. He can do it all. He can catch passes. He’s a sleeper. He turns it on on game days and he can make plays for you.”

Bush knows there are perceptions of him that aren’t true.

“Just because I have a long stride, some people say I’m slow,” Bush said. “Because I’m big, some people say I can’t move. But I don’t know what y’all been watching. I’ve been doing it for a while.

“I think you guys don’t know what you guys got. I just keep showing everybody each week and just getting better. I know what I can do. I just need for you guys to believe as well.”


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Bush sees himself as complete back

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2012 – 1:42 pm

Bruising running back Michael Bush is known for his ability to gain tough yards in goal-line and short-yardage situations. But the 6-1, 245-pounder prefers to be viewed as an all-around back.

“No one likes to be a battering ram. It just happens that way,” Bush said with a smile. “That’s the role that I’ve been stuck with because of my size. But if it’s what I’ve got to do, it’s what I’ve got to do.”

Last season with the Oakland Raiders, Bush tied for 13th in the NFL with a 75 percent success rate on third-and-one, picking up first downs on 12 of 16 opportunities.

The Bears signed Bush to a four-year contract in March to back up and complement starter Matt Forte. Bush spent his first five NFL seasons with the Raiders, rushing for 2,642 yards and 21 touchdowns on 256 carries while playing in 61 games with 19 starts. He has also caught 91 passes for 879 yards and 1 TD.

The Louisville product had his most productive season in 2011, setting career highs in attempts (256), yards (977), touchdowns (7), receptions (37), receiving yards (418) and starts (9).

Bush joined the Raiders in 2007 as a fourth-round draft pick, but missed his entire rookie season while recovering from a broken leg he suffered in Louisville’s 2006 opener. Since debuting in 2008, he has increased his rushing yardage each year from 421 to 589 to 655 to 977.

Asked about his comfort level in the Bears offense, Bush said: “I’m getting there. I took a break [between minicamp and training camp]. So now you’ve got to come back and learn everything and the footwork and stuff like that. I’ll be fine when it’s time to roll.”

Bush sees himself as complete back


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