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Joniak's Journal: Running Game Must Improve

By Jeff Joniak-

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Smoothing out the rough spots after a month of Sundays begins with improving the first down production in the Bears' run game.

"We're not running the ball well enough on first down," said Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice. "We're going to continue to run it. We're going to continue to try to find the personality that we're going to have as a run team. Shouldn't take this long, but it is."

The Bears are averaging 3.25 yards running the ball on first down, which is tied for the sixth lowest output in the league. Conversely, Jacksonville is fifth in the NFL, averaging 4.92 yards-per-carry on first down.

Tice is looking for at least 4.0 yards on first down carries, and the Bears only have 17 of those in four games, which add up to the third lowest percentage in the NFL on 110 carries. Jacksonville is ranked 3rd in this category, with 25 runs of four or more yards on first down.

Where the run blocking is falling short, according to Tice, is consistency.

"Once we get more consistent, then it will be a little bit more helpful to know exactly what we should call in certain times, " said Tice.

Overall, the Bears improved their first down production in Dallas, but not enough to pull out of the cellar. They are last in the league at 4 yards per play, for 440 yards. In comparison, Carolina leads the NFL at 7.57 yards per play. New England leads the league in first down plays with 146, gaining 969 yards.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bears on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffJoniak.

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