The Chicago Bears like to call themselves a team that "gets off the bus running." So far, there's been no sign of that heading into Sunday's game at Seattle.
Running back Matt Forte _ the focal point of the Bears' offense last season _ is averaging just 2.2 yards per carry, with no runs longer than 10 yards.
"It's somewhat frustrating, but you can't get frustrated because then you start looking for holes to run through and then you miss a cut here and then you miss out on some yards," Forte said Wednesday. "So you can't get frustrated."
Players and coaches blame a lot of the early running game woes on the blitzing Green Bay and Pittsburgh did in the first two games.
"The defense made some plays on us and it's been difficult to get to the second and third levels (of the secondary)," Forte said. "We've been struggling a little bit."
The Bears this week face a Seattle offense that runs a 4-3 formation. The Seahawks just gave up 207 yards rushing to San Francisco running back Frank Gore.
Coach Love Smith said Chicago is still a running football team. "Some games, though, we may have to lean on the pass a little bit more like we did this past week," he added. "But we want to get the running game going each week."
The Bears (1-1) also have three new players on the offensive line this season _ second-year tackle Chris Williams, guard Frank Omiyale and veteran Pro Bowl left Takle Orlando Pace.
"But it's not like I'm displeased with what our offensive line has done," Smith said. "We have to give the defenses a little bit credit too. This defense we played this past week (Pittsburgh) had a few scholarship players on it _ pretty good, but eventually we'll be able to get some production we need from them."
In 2006, the Bears had a similar start to their season on the ground before going on to finish 15th in rushing. They averaged 2.7 yards per carry through the first three games, then wound up in the Super Bowl.
"We're hoping that it progresses like it did that year," center Olin Kreutz said.
NOTES: Bears defensive end Alex Brown did not practice Wednesday due to a sprained ankle. Also out were tight end Desmond Clark (rib) and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa Defensive end Israel Idonije (knee) and guard Frank Omiyale (ankle) practiced on a limited basis. ... Wide receiver Johnny Knox will return kickoffs again this week in place of FS Danieal Manning.