Forte endorses rookie right side of line

Matt Forte, who rushed for 74 yards against the Chargers, likes what he has seen from Kyle Long and Jordan Mills. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday "it's safe to say" that the team is set for the regular-season opener at center, left guard and left tackle, with the right guard and tackle spots still up for grabs.

Shortly after, running back Matt Forte gave a strong endorsement to rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills for the starting jobs at right guard and right tackle.

Long and Mills made their first start together on the right side of the line last week against the San Diego Chargers, and will start again Friday when the Bears face the Oakland Raiders. Running behind the duo during a three-play stretch on the goal line in the first quarter, Forte gained 11 yards on three carries and scored a 3-yard touchdown before finishing the game with 74 yards on eight attempts.

"They did a great job," Forte said. "If we can get that push off the ball at the line of scrimmage, I can basically just use my vision in the zone blocking scheme and we'll be fine in the running game. They're doing a good job. I'm really impressed, especially by [sixth-round pick] Jordan [Mills]. I didn't even notice him in OTAs because we didn't have pads on. But he's stepped up during camp and has been doing a great job."

Long and Mills are competing for starting spots against veterans James Brown and J'Marcus Webb at right guard and right tackle, respectively.

The fact that the Bears consider the third preseason game at Oakland on Friday a dress rehearsal for the regular season bodes well for Long and Mills in their bids to start the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals.