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Bears’ Forte ruled out against Rams

By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — Lovie Smith said Matt Forte has made progress with his sprained right ankle. But Forte did not practice all week and has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Rams at Soldier Field.

Both teams could be without their top backs as Steven Jackson is questionable with a groin injury. Jackson has not practiced this week either.

With extra time before the Oct. 1 Monday night game at Dallas, the Bears will hope Forte can make significant progress next week. Michael Bush will start in Forte’s place, and the recently re-signed Kahlil Bell could get action along with Armando Allen.

“Michael’s excited about playing too,” Smith said. “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.”

Tackling the issue: Jonathan Scott worked with the first team at left tackle in practice, but if the Bears make a move with J’Marcus Webb this week it will be Chris Williams taking over. Williams has been working at both tackle spots and guard in practice and has been “doing a great job,” according to offensive line coach Tim Holt.

Scott was signed Sept. 10, and the only way the Bears can evaluate him is by looking at him closely in practice. If he becomes an option, it will be after Sunday’s game. Some believe Scott is better suited to play right tackle even though he’s played both sides in his career.

Holt says the reps Scott took from Webb in practice may have helped.

“We needed to see what the new guy could do, and it pushed (Webb) a little bit,” he said. “He’s a very proud kid. He wasn’t happy with the way he played. He’s going to bounce back.”

We meet again: The Rams figure to use their $50 million cornerback Cortland Finnegan on Brandon Marshall because that is what the former Pro Bowl performer is being paid to do — challenge top receivers. That would create plenty of rookie-on-rookie matchups for Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery against Rams second-round draft pick Janoris Jenkins.

Jeffery knows Jenkins well from some SEC battles before Jenkins was kicked off the team at Florida and landed at Division II North Alabama. Jeffery faced a full game of Jenkins in a 2010 meeting South Carolina won 36-10, catching six passes for 53 yards.

“I am not surprised he is playing well,” Jeffery said. “He is a great corner. I knew he had first-round talent, but unfortunately things didn’t happen the way he wanted. In the long run, he will still be a great corner.”

Health beat: Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (foot) is probable. For the Rams, left tackle Rodger Saffold is out with a knee injury and replacement Wayne Hunter (ankle) is questionable although Hunter had full participation in Friday’s practice. Fullback Brit Miller, the Rams’ special teams captain, is questionable with a thigh injury and was held out of practice.

Tough stuff: Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III accused the Rams of being “dirty” and “cheap” after their game Sunday in St. Louis. He said defenders were hitting him late and taking shots after the play. If the Bears saw what Griffin complained about in studying film, they’re not saying.

“You want me to say a team is dirty before we play them, is that what you’re asking?” Smith said. “I see a team that plays hard, that is what I see. There are a lot of things going on. I know that they’re running to the ball defensively, playing hard offensively, they’re playing until the whistle blows. That’s what we’ve seen and we play the same way.”

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