-- BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler called Matt Forte irreplaceable on Wednesday as the club reported to training camp without the veteran tailback for the first time in nine years.
"You can't [replace Forte]," Cutler said. "Just because of his knowledge and him being here so long, plus his experience on the field and his experience playing with me."
Forte -- the second-most productive running back in franchise history -- signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the New York Jets in free agency.
In somewhat of a surprise move, the Bears made no effort to keep Forte, 30, who spent eight seasons in Chicago, rushing for 8,602 yards and scoring 64 total touchdowns.
As a team captain, he led the Bears in rushing last season with 898 yards and caught 44 passes for 389 yards while scoring seven total touchdowns. He ranks second, behind only Hall of Famer Walter Payton, on the Bears' all-time lists for rushing yards, yards from scrimmage (12,718), receptions (487) and 100-yard rushing games (24). He's third in total touchdowns and sixth in receiving yards (4,116).
"Most of the time I'd tell him something or just look at him and he'd know exactly what I was thinking," Cutler said. "You can't replace him, or you can't replace him in a year anyway."
Langford tallied 816 all-purpose yards as a rookie, but Chicago is expected to push him in the preseason. Rodgers, Carey and Howard all received significant reps in the Bears' offseason program.
Chicago's ability to run the football is critical for Cutler, who dramatically reduced his amount of turnovers last year in Adam Gase's balanced offense. But Gase left for Miami in January, prompting head coach John Fox to promote former quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to offensive coordinator. Loggains is Cutler's sixth different playcaller since 2009.
"I think a lot of it [reducing turnovers] was the system and the way Adam called plays and manipulated the game in that regard," Cutler said. "He definitely took care of quarterbacks and receivers and offensive linemen, and just the way he called games.
"Dowell has a lot of that same thought process in his mind. He's going to try as hard as he can not to put us in bad positions. A lot of that is going to help my game as well."
Fox feels confident he made the right choice pairing Cutler and Loggains.
"It was an easy decision for us with Dowell because he had a great relationship with the quarterback, and most offenses work through the quarterback," Fox said. "He's been a coordinator before. He's very bright. I think I'm pretty much 100 percent sure he's going to do just fine."