Chicago Sun-Times

The book on Benson

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The book is out on Bears running back Cedric Benson, and it’s been well circulated, at least as far as one defensive coordinator can see.

Benson plodded along again Sunday in the 34-31 loss to Minnesota with a startling difference evident between the No. 4 pick in 2005 and the No. 7 selection in 2007, the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. What makes it more stinging is it’s a comparison the Bears are going to have to live with twice a year for seasons to come.

Apologists for the Bears’ offense point out Benson averaged 5.1 yards per carry in the first half. Yeah, and Peterson had only 105 yards at halftime. While he kept running in the second half, Benson was stymied again. He finished with 67 yards in 18 carries for a 3.7 average, the kind of pedestrian effort you accepted with former Bears backs like James Allen. Benson has 370 yards, on pace for 987, and has a season average of 3.1.

By no means does this condemn Benson alone. As former offensive coordinator John Shoop once pointed out, ``it takes a village to run the football.’’ Benson needs more help from his fellow villagers. While Thomas Jones experienced so much success the last two seasons in Ron Turner’s system running through cutback lanes, Benson doesn’t seem to have that ability to slide laterally once he reaches the line.

Turner schemed to run Benson outside more against the Vikings, which helped the Bears avoid the strength of the Minnesota defense in tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. Off-tackle runs worked in spurts, but nothing was sustained.

``If you can get into an eight-man box and plug inside and make him go sideways, you’re going to give him trouble,’’ the coordinator said. ``He’s a good power guy and you need to keep him going outside. You don’t want him going downhill with that big body when he hits the hole.

``That’s the difference between him and the back they had [Jones]. When I watched tape, Cedric wanted to go downhill. Jones, when he would get into the line of scrimmage, he had that great lateral step to get into a crease. That’s the key. If you cover all the gaps with Benson, he’s either going to lower his head and try to plow ahead, or he’ll go sideways. When you make him bounce it outside, there’s less chance he’s going to hurt you. That’s what I’ve seen with the guy.’’


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17 Comments

turn overs a tired deffense little to no running game and yet we seem to be in all the games.hester is a huge factor last year the luck went our way this year you know a 55 yard field goal beats us we seem to find a way to loose rather than win and oh by the way you can't blame rex.....bad offseason loosing jones and now tank.we always seem to do this we have a great team
and we destroy it the next year old news same results.
is there any hope

Question anyone know if their was a significant defensive adjustment in the system with Bob Babich calling the plays. I understand that he is cut from the same mold as Lovie but everyone has tendencies. The thing that I seem to notice is more linebacker blitzing. Is this due to the lack of pass rush from the defensive line? I know Lovie depends on the pass rush being from the defensive front not the linebackers.

this is a nice way of saying that Benson has no moves/slash/vision or even cutback ability with a speed burst to accompany it. (all the things Minny's Peterson clearly possesses in spades.

unless you have a line like Dallas' in the days of Emmitt Smith, when you'd see him burst down the middle thru a hole one could drive a truck thru, Benson doesn't really help any team with his play at RB.

I don't think I've ever seen three runs from him in his entire Bears career that I've been impressed with. "Plodder" is the perfect word to describe him and his running style. I stayed very far away from him in all my fantasy leagues, despite the fact that the "situation" was perfect for him to put up great stats.

The problem is he's not even a poor man's Earl Campbell, he's merely a slightly younger version of Ron Dayne or Ottis Anderson. Actually Ottis Anderson is the best he could ever aspire to be. He's not even that good.

That's what you traded away Thomas Jones for? and that's how one spends a #4 pick? It's a travesty.

and the situation is not going to get better. Not only do they now lack a franchise QB, they lack a franchise RB. It's a fairly desperate situation.

Bigsy..on point as usual.

The Bears scored 31 points and lose because the D (geared up to stop the run) played horribly and gave up 34 points.

Yeah...it's the offense and Benson's fault.

Wake up...

All the more reason why Benson has to become a complete back and learn to catch the ball. If he can't run outside, throwing it to him in the flat should be one way to get it to him out there and still play to his strengths. This was a part of the game plan and Benson failed completely. I'm convinced that's why he was pulled in the second quarter.

no attitude, no leadership, no qualities that makeup a great back. No qualities that make Thomas Jones' work ethic second to none. they had a nice two headed monster last year and now both backs are floundering on losing teams. I know this is a business but making money and making history provides more long term equity. A franchise back or QB in this town would be bigger that Michael Jordan. Who would you rather see play in his prime, Michael or Sweetness?

Trading Jones.....BIG mistake, HUGE BIG!!

man, benson can't run the ball! his head is down as soon as he touches the ball. the first guy that gets near him, tackles him. what is his problem? why don't he get a little more aggresive? he runs defensive. as if he's playing not to lose. he has to get more reckless, you know, like walter. please, someone should talk to him and let him know that four yards are not a successful running play! he should be thinking touchdown on every play! i hate his running. it's not the offensive line. it's him not holding his head up and seeing the field. i think that he is just a prima donna. please tell lovie to force this guy to watch tapes of walter. maybe this will inspire him to run with more passion. hurry. we don't have time to fake this.

Perhaps the reason that Cedric had the numbers at Texas was because the opposition didn't have the number on Vince Young!

I don't know if his "lack of field vision" is because he holds his head down, but he certainly doesn't seem to seek a hole, which is one thing you can say Thomas Jones did very well.

Ced just plows, or plods ahead for his 2 point something yards and cloud of dust or grass.

Just an amazing lack of moves or even creating his own runs. No "juice" at all, which is something one expects from a good NFL running back.

Watching Ced and then watching Adrian Peterson, it makes one wonder what the Bears scouts and Jerry Angelo were seeing on film when comparing the two in college.

Can the difference be ANY greater? (between the two?)

Ced Benson held out for 1million more after getting 16m,
That should tell you something about the man from midland,tex.
Didn`t even try to get in shape.
I could be wrong but Benson never in tend to run hard enough to get hurt.
He cried all during his first summer camp whenever the team tried to tough him up.
Good money down the drain as for as the fans are concern.
Who`s available?

I cannot believe how fickle Bear fans are about Benson. Last year everybody marveled at how this guy ran through tacklers and dove over the goal line in the NFC Championship game. We were all amazed at how he literally ran right through Junior Seau last year and broke Seau's arm. This guy is a battering ram type of runner, he is not a cutback artist with dazzling moves. If you watch the line play this year (with your brain grounded in reality) you have to admit that Benson is getting hit behind the line on a number of running plays.

The problem in Chicago seems to be the expectations of the fans. A lot of people expected the Bears to run the table last year, and they expected the Bears would run through the division this year. They expect that our quarterbacks will never throw interceptions. They are playing against other NFL teams folks.

In the case of Benson I think the expectation of Benson is that he should run for 100+ every week, never fumble a ball, and be a runner with power, moves, and the uncommon heart that allows a back to run through tacklers that penetrate the line. Sorry folks, you can't expect every guy that totes the ball in Chicago to be Walter Payton. Walter had it ALL, where most other guys have something. Benson is not going to be Payton, Thomas Jones wasn't Payton, and our next first round back won't be Payton. But Benson does not stink.

Lighten up. ...and when the line play picks up a bit, make sure to applaud what Benson can do with a little help. He's one of the best backs ever to come out of the University of Texas. He's not totally worthless. Re-evaluate him after a full season as a starter and stop demanding perfection. And if you want to call him an investment, then draft a few lineman for him.

Back your team, cheer them when they win, have faith when their behind, because every game in the NFL teters on a few plays. The difference between a team going 5-11 or 11-5 can come down to a dozen plays. I was at the loss to the Vikings and over half the stadium left before Muhammad's TD and Hester's TD (probably disgusted because the Bears didn't come in and dominate. Probably felt they were "owed" a better performance). Well, you missed a hell of a 4th quarter performance Bear "fans". The greatest play you missed may actually have been Briggs knocking the Vikes back to make their field goal a 55 yarder.

So get your expectations in line, stop whining, and start being real fans again.
This is the NFL - last year means nothing and nobody deserves anything based on last year.
Let's go back to being fans again instead of ripping our players, lets support them. Thirty thousand people in Soldier Field gave up on the Bears last Sunday, probably whined about the Bears every Monday, and should hand their tickets over to some fans who support their home team.

portlandbear, I am a Bear fan, in the sense that I want them to do well, and I want them to win, but I never ever drink Bear Kool-Aid.

I never drink any KoolAid for any team i happen to be a fan of. That's just called being an idiot (you can call it being a "true fan" we can agree to disagree)

that's an important distinction, and I'm not particularly thrilled with a victory when my eyes tells me they merely got lucky.

(for e.g. I knew their Jauron, 13-3 team that got trounced in the first playoff round was a joke off the bat, and they were the luckiest team around.... still cheered the wins... knew they were flukes)

getting back to the subject at hand. Cedric.

yes - his blocking is not very good this year.

but "battering ram" types of backs aren't successful in today's NFL and almost never are, unless you have a dominating offensive line.

unless you're Earl Campbell which he isn't. (btw, Campbell I think is a cripple in his fifties now, can't walk)

and I was never wondering at Benson's "exploits" last year... IN FACT, I was already tremendously worried each and every time I watched him run.

as I said.. I can't think of three runs in his entire Bears career that have impressed me.

Great win Bears! We still need A Good RB.

Good win for the bears, hopefully confidence builder. As for Benson, not all his fault, mostly not all. For being a power back tip-toes his way around too much. But the line is not run blocking very good either. Message to portlandbear, it was Thomas Jones that broke Seau's arm get your history correct. Jones should still be here, but Angelo won't admit he blew the 4th pick in the draft. Knew it was a bad move then, stiil is.

will Benson ever run for a Hundred in a game this year?


BRAD SAYS: Cedric ran for 101 yards in Week 2 vs. Kansas City.

running for a 100 yards in a particular game means NOTHING.

I remember a couple of years ago, the Bears RB's were all hurt and some young big goofy WHITE guy, of all things, ran for 120 or 130 yards against the Arizona Cardinals. Maybe you remember the guy and his name Brad.

His 60 minutes of fame, never to be heard from again, that season or next. I don't think he's even in the NFL these days.

if a goofy WHITE guy can run for 120plus, and Cedric has issues breaking more than 80 yards most weeks, what does that tell you?

(other than the fact that the offensive line obviously sucks?)

staying on the white guy issue, why is a white guy (Archuleta) playing in the secondary? how many white guys other than John Lynch play in today's NFL secondaries?

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on October 16, 2007 6:43 AM.

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