Chicago Sun-Times

Running down the options at running back

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With an update on the condition of running back Cedric Benson possible later on today, it’s not too early to start considering options to replace him.

Benson’s left ankle was rolled badly in the second quarter of the win over Denver, and he told the Sun-Times following the game that he was to have it re-evaluated downtown this morning. Benson is expected to miss the remainder of the season. A knee sprain sidelined the former No. 4 overall pick for six games in 2005, and then the time he was on the shelf during training camp in 2006 with a shoulder injury cost him any chance of unseating Thomas Jones.

It will be interesting to see how the Bears proceed if and when the determination is made that Benson will be placed on injured reserve. By moving Adrian Peterson into the starting position, it takes a key performer from the special teams unit, an area Garrett Wolfe has been pitching in on more and more lately.

Do the Bears seek someone to primarily play on special teams, or do they go after a pure running back and see what he has to offer in the closing weeks? Linebacker Nick Roach, plucked off the San Diego practice squad last week, would seem ideal to fill into a special teams role. He was inactive Sunday. Linebacker Darrell McClover is also ready for action. McClover was inactive, too, for the seventh time in the last nine games. An obvious special teams player on the market is fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who was released in October.

If special teams isn’t the top priority, where do the Bears turn for a back? The Broncos’ Andre Hall sure looks good right about now. He was with the Bears for a month in training camp last summer, but the team opted to go with P.J. Pope. A ruptured pectoral muscle suffered while bench pressing earlier this month landed Pope on the practice squad injured reserve, meaning he is ineligible for the remainder of the season, contrary to other reports. Jermaine Allen is on the practice squad with an exempt spot from NFL Europe, but is not considered a serious option.

Also available are Josh Allen, the Maryland product who was with the team during training camp, and Gerald Riggs Jr., who got a brief look in the summer. Corey Dillon’s agent Steve Feldman told the Sun-Times that his client is no longer interested in joining the Bears. Feldman hinted that Dillon would only be lured back to work by the unbeaten New England Patriots.

Veteran Kevan Barlow has had workouts with the Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. Other backs that have been on the workout circuit include Ciatrick Fason and Shaud Williams. The Bears could take a look at former Louisville running back Lionel Gates, who is on the Bucs’ practice squad currently.

Stay tuned for developments as they become available.

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23 Comments

Benson going down could be one of the best things to happen to this team since drafting Hester.

It's sad that Benson went down just as he was starting to blossom as a good running back. But heck, I've always liked Peterson and he's always done a good job wherever the coaches have put him. We also have Wolfe who has done some nice things on special teams and has a larger-than-life work ethic. I would resign Obafemi and give our special teams more of a boost.

Everyone has been making a big deal about Benson and his struggles this year, and it some of it has been well deserved, but Peterson is no better than Benson. How about we start putting some pressure on our HORRIBLE offensive line. To be honest with you they are not good . Their run blocking is down right awful and pass blocking is not to far behind. Look, Benson was beginning to turn it up. He had a good game last week and started good before the ankle injury. Everyone is praising Peterson for his effort, and I don't want to take credit away from him, but 17 carries for 45 yards is not great, and that touchdown run was not all him either. There were at least six other players helping to push that pile in for the score. Give credit where credit is deserved is all that I am saying. Give Benson some credit for his running the past couple of weeks. Our running woes are not all his fault. You could put anyone behind that O-line and they will give you the same product, plus or minus 10 yards, as was evident when Peterson got his chance. We need some young athletic O-linemen like Tony Ugo from Indy, who can get out and pull block and actually get some push and some pancakes instead of eating pancakes. Oh by the way, Thomas Jones is not having a good season either and has yet to score a touchdown.

Benson was begging and begging for the starting role; he hasn't shown any heart since getting it. And as far as 'just starting to blossom', if 75 yards on 25 carries is blossoming, I'd hate to hear what you have to say about full bloom.

LOL..well Brad...that's what ya get when ya draft a bust with the 4th pick in the freaking draft

that's what ya get when ya look at a highlight reel....and don't realize the opponents are North Texas, Baylor, Rice, KState..etc..

that's what ya get when ya don't realize the bust you chose had all american recruits around him in college and still disappeared against top notch opponents...Compare Benson and Sproles #'s against Oklahoma if ya need a visual (proof for the amatures running this team)

The Silver Lining....Now, it's what AP gets...which he deserves...I can't believe someone in your thread thinks Benson is better than AP...lmao....just more expensive....

Now, to replace the turd behind center..ASAP

It doesn't matter who is at running back or quarterback, our O-Line has gotten real old, real fast! Barry Sanders couldn't shake his way through a hole created by our O-Line.
And something is severely wrong with our blocking scheme on blitzes!

In the meantime, AP does a good job. He'd be complete if had a burst or any speed. Ron Turner needs to get creative getting Garrett Wolfe the ball to mix things up.

how is it ppl are going to dawg our offensive line when for two consecutive seasons we have had 1,300 yard rusher with the same line as we have now i don't want to see anyone jocking benson or feeling sorry for the guy because the fact is when you hold out of training camp your rookie year to get a massive contract as he did you need to come in running like every run is your last.So my opinion on this situation is Peterson is going to be a major upgrade because i honestly don't believe Benson had the respect of his o-line or other teammates for that fact.

I said the last couple of games, 11 touches 89 yards and 8 touches for 47 yards. And in the Oakland game that you are referring to where he had 29 carries for 78 yards, Benson showed heart and effort by getting two critical 1st downs on short check down passes from Grossman but no one gives these guys (Grossman and Benson) credit when they deserve it. You put them down when they are making mistakes but don't praise them when they do good things. If people praise them more often when they do good things maybe it would help them out a little. Whether they say they pay attention to the media and critics or not, in reality they do and it affects them. People like to be praised when they are doing good and they want to be supported when they mess up, not ridiculed and put down. We must remember these are 3rd and 4th year players but in reality they are both (Grossman and Benson) are 2nd year players. Just give them some time, and I know some people will point to Adrian Peterson from Minnesota and he is a rookie and things like that, but some players develop a little slower than others and not to mention the surrounding cast around them. I mean Peyton Manning wasn't great in his first few years. Sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss. Is to early to give up on Benson or Grossman. Thomas Jones was drafted with the 7th or 8th pick in the 2000 draft and played for two teams in four years before coming to Chicago and getting a little success.

Was it just me or did Benson seem to be relieved as he was about to be carted off the field?

if we are measuring on hit and misses i would have to say angelo needs to be fired because the only good players he gets out of the draft a defensive players he has a horrible eye for offensive talent i mean grossman and benson weren't projected to go anywhere near as high as they did.

I guess perhaps I don't the whole story but how come Domanick Williams (formerly known as Davis) isn't even a thought. Maybe changing his name was as bad of an idea as Jennifer Grey getting a facelift but before he got hurt two years ago, he was a great receiving threat as much as he was a great runner for the Houston Texans. If he is healthy again, the Bears should get him in here now!

I guess perhaps I don't the whole story but how come Domanick Williams (formerly known as Davis) isn't even a thought. Maybe changing his name was as bad of an idea as Jennifer Grey getting a facelift but before he got hurt two years ago, he was a great receiving threat as much as he was a great runner for the Houston Texans. If he is healthy again, the Bears should get him in here now!

benson had nothing on peterson in his blocking, catching, or just plain running in the open field.

is benson on something that he just trips himself up on the open field?? will i pick up a newspaper a few years from now and find out he was a habitual smoker or something, much like i read about salaam??

i don't care if the entire bears team was pushing peterson forward for that td run. he kept his feet moving, something benson has never shown he has knowledge of doing.

benson drops the ball, then sits and looks at it, while other team mates must jump to his rescue.

if he needs a new environment to play in because soldier field is stale to him with all the thomas jones references, then send him packing.

he's done nothing to motivate those around him.

he's a selfish player and unless he eats a BIG piece of humble pie, i don't see that changing any time soon.

did anyone happen to see that he just ran off 20yards before he got hurt it seemed to me that he just started to hit his stride so for all the cedric haters out there you never want one of ur own players to go down with an injury but maybe now theyll open up the playbook and put the much hypedup j.wolfee which i cant wait to see and start to spread the field w/olsen berrian hester and wolfee and maybe r.davis and the oline needs to play much better than it has and we wont find out about cb until next year at least if he didnt get hurt there wouldnt be much to debate for next year

Jesus what the hell are we doing with the OL? Miller has to be the biggest, most worthless fat a_ _ lineman in years! Holding against him cost us numerous chances and resulted in I lost count how many sacks against Rex... We have to rebuild the line if we intend to get back next year. Moose has to go too.. How many drops has the old man made? Hester playing Offense? When??? Dump Turner as well... he has no clue as an offensive coordinator. Lovie better get a handle on all this of he will be known as the Nebraska coach of the NFL. Is it worth it to make the playoffs and get buried with the number of problems we have on both sides of the ball? My living in Maryland makes it a must we beat the Redskins to shut up the most aisnine fans in any state. Other than that, I have mixed feeling if we have any chance to go after Colt of Hawaii if we were to lose out the rest of the way or if there is any hope to go very far in the playoffs...

Jesus what the hell are we doing with the OL? Miller has to be the biggest, most worthless fat a_ _ lineman in years! Holding against him cost us numerous chances and resulted in I lost count how many sacks against Rex... We have to rebuild the line if we intend to get back next year. Moose has to go too.. How many drops has the old man made? Hester playing Offense? When??? Dump Turner as well... he has no clue as an offensive coordinator. Lovie better get a handle on all this of he will be known as the Nebraska coach of the NFL. Is it worth it to make the playoffs and get buried with the number of problems we have on both sides of the ball? My living in Maryland makes it a must we beat the Redskins to shut up the most aisnine fans in any state. Other than that, I have mixed feeling if we have any chance to go after Colt of Hawaii if we were to lose out the rest of the way or if there is any hope to go very far in the playoffs...

I think the weak links to the Bears are (not in order of worthlessness) Fred Miller, Adam Archuleta, and Mark Anderson. I have been watching Fred play for the last 2 weeks and it seems he is good for maybe one quarter, then he is done. He's out of gas and anyone can get around him! As one example, he gets called for intentional face mask against Denver... Archuleta is either getting beat or he can't tackle. He gets 'juked' very easily and when he does grab the guy, he can't pull him down. Anderson is no where close to where he was last year. I have been watching the Bears since 1963 and I cannot remember a defense that was this bad. I can't see Lovie dropping his buddy (Babich) nor do I see them getting rid of Turner. I think I could sit in the booth and make better calls than Ronnie boy. And this year they were supposed to be so great. What a joke..........

Don't like to see anyone go out for season on a injury. But in Benson's case he can easily be replaced with his weak stats. Bears should go outside organization to find another back. Peterson may start but hardly a reminder of Sayers or Payton. Packers proved you can find decent backs ,but it will take effort & brains neither the Bears front office seems to have.

I haven't seen Benson display any heart since he's been a Bear. Most of the time he runs as if he just wants to get to the ground ASAP. All that he has displayed is attitude and arrogance and little if any skill at running the ball -- he certainly hasn't shown anything that suggests he should have ever been a #4 pick! As for me... I don't think the Bears will miss him at all-- on or off the field.

As others have mentioned, I too feel that the O-line seems to have become old men since last season. They don't run- or pass- block well with any consistency. They have their moments, but more times then not they are not doing well. It's amazing how in less than a year they could have become so... marginal. I think maybe Thomas Jones made them look a bit better then they actually were last year.

The Bears let Chris Harris leave and signed Adam "BURNT BAGEL" Archuleta?!?

Finally, as always, my mantra for the last two years --- Get a REAL Offensive Coordinator and send Ron Turner back to college ball!

i remember fason having some nice runs against us when he played for the vikes

Can't completely blame Benson for the Bears lack of run game. It's mostly been: a)old, weak O-line and b) bad play calling. Seems the Bears finally figured out that with this beaten up offensive line the ONLY way to get yards was to run off-tackle. No one on the team has the speed to run outside the numbers and there are absolutely NO holes up the middle. Benson needed to pick it up himself, and he was just starting to. (If he was the starting back on the Colts, do you think he'd get 100 yards a game? I think so.) But this injury could change everything.
Thomas Jones was NOT the answer.
The Bears need a power back and Jones would just bounce off instead of running through. Jones got ALL his yards by 1) running through holes big enough (last year) that your grandma could run through and 2) by cutting back against the grain. He was like a home run hitter who hit all his home runs when you have a five run lead. You don't need them THEN.
Bears need a guy who can convert 3rd and short and get 5-6 yards on first down. On the Jets, Jones is doing no better than Benson.
I don't know if Benson's injury will make the Bears deal him or if it will affect his play all around but this much is true ---
the Chicago Bears need a POWER BACK, whether it's Benson or someone else.

I wish the Oakland Raiders did decide to let Lamont Jordan go....he is more of a power back than Benson is., and is halfway established as well...im not sure if he would have any more success working with this offensive line here in chicago than Benson did, but it would nt have hurt to get him if they had the chance to.....Nonetheless I think it would be a bad idea to get rid of Benson at this point, because it is obvious that the running problems stem from the o-line weaknesses and play calling as well...if Benson could make good on rehab and the Bears revamp the line next season, give him at least a few more games next year to see what he could do, considering that he was showing more in the last couple of games than what he did in the beginning


is everyone blind did anyone see how hard peterson ran while he was out there it looked as though the team was behind peterson and the o-line actually kinda stepped up while him and wolfe were back there.as far as miller goes he's a bum he needs cut right now he cost us on several occasions and the situation doesn't seem to be fixing itself because he's an old man trying to block these young defensive ends and by the time he fires off of the ball they usually have two or three steps on him i think we would be better off lining up with a tight end in his place at least they could get off the line a little quicker.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on November 26, 2007 10:26 AM.

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