Chicago Sun-Times

The domino effect of Benson fiasco

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Former Texas running back Cedric Benson proved why he was a top-five draft pick on Saturday.

Against the league's top-ranked defense, Benson set a Cincinnati Bengals postseason record with 169 rushing yards on 21 carries. While the rest of the offense was flat, Benson helped keep his team in a game they ultimately lost 21-14 to the Jets.

That Benson is a Bengal and not a Bear is arguably one of the reasons the Chicago franchise has fallen on hard times.

It's easy to say the Bears wasted the fourth overall pick in 2005, when, in June 2008, they released Benson, who missed all of training camp due to a contract holdout and who had a couple of notable off the field incidents.

The 2005 NFL Draft class was not an overwhelmingly good one, especially in the first round. But DeMarcus Ware (11th overall) hasn't disappointed the Dallas Cowboys, and the Green Bay Packers are just fine with their 24th pick, Aaron Rodgers.

Hindsight being 20-20, the Bears could have traded down, collecting more picks, and taken Frank Gore, who went in the third round.

But back to reality.

The decision to take Benson triggered two other things: giving away Thomas Jones and selecting Matt Forte.

The New York Jets stole Jones from the Bears, swapping second-round picks so the Bears could move up from 63rd to 37th. In exchange, the Jets have gotten 3,833 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns from Jones.

Although they dumped Benson after selecting Forte, the Bears still needed to spend that second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft because Benson had been so inconsistent.

If they could take the best player available, perhaps the Bears may have taken receiver DeSean Jackson, selected five spots behind Forte.

Again, hindsight is 20-20.

But the point is, the Benson mess has left the Bears in a mess.

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Good analysis, thanks! This provides further clarification of the fact that Angelo is incompetent in drafting and developing players.

Also, the Jones/Benson fiasco demonstrates that Smith is incompetent at managing and disciplining his players, preferring to be a "nice-guy" who lets players get away with everything.


I totally agree with your second statement, but can't say I agree with your first. Angelo has his share of incompetent drafting, but this shows that he sometimes gets it right. And since when is it up to the GM to develop young players? What the Benson example clarifies is that Lovie is a master at destroying talent. When other Bears hold out, the players all say it's a business and that they understand. When Benson does it, the veteran players get pissed. So what happens:

1) they injure him on the first day of practice
2) Jones punches him in the face in the locker room
3) Lovie does nothing about it
4) Benson goes into a funk and underachieves

Now that Benson's on a team that wants him and knows how to use him he's an all-pro. Nice job Lovie.

Angelo's mistake was drafting Benson when they already had Jones. But I'll give him the credit for drafting an all-pro talent.

just found out the blog was going again...

dont tske this personnal Sean, its not about u

Sun Times is stuuuuuuupid!!! Took way to long to get this going again! They lost alot of bloggers trust by sitting on their a$$ and farting around - they shoulda got this going the very minute! STUUUUUUPID!!!
Hope all the regulars are back....
The moderator? is the lock except the bloggers are the key, really stupid to take a chance on losing your key and having to make another key huh?
and btw Good luck Sean

I still dump Benson..Hes an idiot. He would not have done anything had he stayed here. The team hated him. He was a loner and a very non-team more "Me" type player. Go back to the SB.. He got ripped by Bob Sanders and fumbled. Then he collapsed mentally and did not come back into the game. Go back to the day he was drafted.. he cried. We all thought it was because he was going to be RB for a storied team like the bears. NOPE.. He cried because hes a head case and knew he was gonna get tonzo $$$$$ right off the bat. He re-paid the bears and us the fans by being lazy and non-caring. Look how outa shape he was when he was here. How many RB's do you see with an obvious gut? I could care less if he wins the rushing title the next 5 years. Hes a locker room cancer that fits in very well with the convicted felon Cincy Bengals. Give Forte a legit pro OL and he will be fine. No RB coulda done anything with what the bears OL had this year. Plus we find out that Forte was playing on a bad knee for most of the year.. That explains why he looked a step slow. Go get Chester Taylor to back up Forte. That would be a stud RB pairing behind Cutler. Plus the rumor of trading Hester for Brandon Marshall... I would do that in a second. Hester rarely comes up with the deep ball unless hes free and clear. Any type of coverage and he doesnt come down with it. He doesnt do anything on returns anymore. Knox and Manning more then make up for him on KR plus Bennett shows promise on the PR. Plus DJ Moore returns punts. Imagine Aromashodu and Marshall starting on the outside with Knox and Bennett working the slot???? Wow.... shore up the OL and we could have a damn good O. Now the D?????? hmmmmmmmmm

This is a good one Sean!
good comments BigBear! exactly right, except I dislike Angelo to the max, he has made way too many mistakes in comparison to the good ones.
Nice points, and just think if we had an oline for Benson,

Strass please don't start your facts with a conjecture, as you have no idea what he `would have done' but you are probably right as we dont have an offensive line, even Forte couldnt run behind this line. Give the man credit though, 169 yards?? and he is an Idiot?? hmmm sounds like sour grapes. And he was VERY inshape when the bears cut him, he was on top of his game he came in game ready, he had turned it around already, then the boat bs, which wasnt even any of his fault! he was not drunk, his Mother was on that boat Mister! The Bears really blew it
And the players didnt like him?? Is this the same players that played like sh!t the past 2 years without Benson??? The same players that are NOT getting 169 yards??? yeah right.

Unlike alot of bears fans I really didnt want Benson cut, as I felt he was just starting to get back to his old self, I felt the bears reacted way to fast, the boating incident was pure bs, his Mother was on board! and even the dui was thrown out, sounds like the texas police didnt like Mr Benson, but he shoulda moved now that was not smart - not moving. But he really is showing the bears they were wrong, but at the same time we have no offensive line! That is the reason Forte/Cutler stumbled, cause Angelo is the WORST offensive drafter I have ever seen, and what? you sign a tackle to play G?? How can you be that stupid? The T will take at the least a year to learn that position, Angelo was the mistake not Benson. Im very happy Ced is getting his just rewards
And T. Jones??? stupid move Jerry, just like always Jerry was the mistake not Jones. Look at Angelo offense at Tampa Bay,
Smith I felt lost the team this year, but I feel he can do something if he just gets some players to work with, he did pretty good with good players. bears fans should be pretty disgusted with the players that Angelo gets us. hang him in effigy at the first bears home game!! w/o any tickets to show mgm we are their bread and butter and they are toasting us!

Hey Strass I agree with you on the O totally. Now to the Defense, get rid of that bum Tommy Harris. If we do he will probably go to the Bengals and be a Pro Bowler again.......Jerry Angelo preached
when he got the GM job that Football Games are won and lost on the
Line of Scrimage. I agree, but then how is it that our O-Line and D-Line suck so bad. We need to get a real Pass Rusher!!! Put Alex Brown on the Left to stop the Run and get a Stud on the Right, sorry not you Gaines Adams a real Stud. Now the Free Safety Position has been pissing me off since Mark Carrier was here. We could of Drafted Palamlau but no we take that DE from Penn State what was his name? Excactly my point, dont remember. We could have tried Darren Sharper last offseason, no to old for us. I rather have Sharper or Mike Brown at 35 Years of Age then any of these Bums we have had here the last 10 Years. C'MON Jerry and Lovie get
YOUR S**T together PLEASE SOOOOON.........

First off Benson should have never been drafted by the Bears. He never wanted to come here, his own friends said the reason he was crying was because he was so upset about the Bears drafting him. Second, it was not a need and he didn't hold the highest value on the board. The Bears biggest need was LT and the highest value on the board was LT Jammal Brown, thats All Pro Jammal Brown. Benson was a power back that Lovie and Turner wanted, but they never had the line to block for him, just look at the size of the Bengals line. It all starts with the line.

The Bears had Jones and never should have traded him, even the Forte pick is a miss, thanks but I would take Ray Rice. Taking Jackson would have been a waste, the Bears already have a bunch of small fast recievers. I talked about it a 100 times before, Benson was a symptom of a bigger problem. You cannot build a offensive line by constantly taking guys off the scrap heap. The only reason they had a strong running game in 05 and 06 was because of Brown. He had a couple years left in the tank, sense he has been gone their has been no running game. It starts and ends with the lines and the Bears just don't do enough to address theirs. The Bears could have built one of the most dominat lines in football, but chose to take draft picks who ended up as busts.

In 05 the draft that no longer exists on the Bears Roster. Brown over Benson. Even if they really wanted Benson and passed on Brown, they passed on Michael Roos for Mark stinking Bradley. In 06 they traded out of the first round to take Manning, when they could have stayed and taken Nick Freakin Mangold, and in round 3 they took Dusty D instead of Jahri Evans even though Brown was at the end of his career and they had no depth on the line.

All of Angelo's drafts are one giant domino effect, cause he constantly blows his picks.

Arizona is beating the snot out of the Packers, silver lining to the season.

Ummm Randy??? What ever did Benson do when he was a bear?? Held out of camp..yes. Out of shape for most of his time here..yes. Head case..yes. Good god Randy, Thomas Jones had to wack that guy in the face during practice because he was f'n off. So we trade Jones and Benson is the #1. He folded. All he can do is run. Cant pass block and sure cant catch out of the back field. He took 13 mill off the bat and did zero with it. I fault JA for not seeing more of his character problems. Im sorry.. you dont be the #5 pick and take 13 mill and then grow up. Yes JA shoulda known better. As for wanting him around.. forget that. Ill take Forte any day. Forte came in and was a 100% professional. Benson came in and alienated the entire team.. As for the team playing poorly when he was gone??? WTH are you talking about? The team played poorly because JA traded quality starters and got nothing in return. Add that to poor drafting and you get 7-9/9-7/7-9. Had the D played halfway decent in '08.. we go 12-4 randy. The bottom line.. Ced wasted his time here. All things considered.. with this tude issues and lack of consistent play, the DUI thing was all that JA needed to realize he blew a draft pick on him. Sorry, I have not time for a rich athlete who needs 3+ years and 13 mill to get his act together. T. Jones wacking Benson tells us all we need to know about that idiot.

Since we're playing "what might have been" here's another domino that should have fallen:

Sign Michael Turner to play for his hometown team and use the 2nd round pick for a stud offensive linemen instead of Forte.

once again a non footbal mind drafting.. has pencil neck angelo ever even played the game? why do you draft benson and cause jones to want more money and thus cause conflict.. look what a stud both of them are on OTHER TEAMS!!
the mcheapies need to either sell the team and or get a new ex football coach/player minded guy ala parcells or holmgren to run the team.. enough of this..

Lets see now ...what do Milton Bradley and Cedric "The Entertainer"
Benson have in common? I'd say it's rather obvious and predictable, wouldn't you?

This organization continues to build a body of work that would convince anyone - everyone - to stay clear and go elsewhere - especially on the offensive side of the ball!.

The McClutsky's have clearly decided to just stand pat for not one - but two - more seasons with these clowns until the CBA situation is resolved - principally because they are cheap. They had a good window - a window to grab Shannahan - and get rid of J.Angelo but they missed it. And yes, it would have been expensive. Very expensive. All because Virginia thinks this organization is a family rather than a football team.

So now, we'll have two years of creative mis-management by the idiot without a neck. By then, we all can only hope that Virginia has passed on and the rest of this family decides to release the Chicago Fans from nearly 50 years of mis-management. Because the team that comes out of the next two years will surely be worse than the current one.

Offensive Coordinator: Any chance that any offensive coordinator with an innovative passing attack would want to come here. Other than Martz. Don't count on it. Lovies track record of going through coaches proves that he's either stubborn, difficult to work with, unclear, or all or some of the above. The draft record suggests that no help will come from the draft, the CBA situation suggests that no help will come from the free agent market. Come here and run an offense that gets off the bus running with a bad O-line. WHY? Absolutely no reason anyone with a brain would want this job.

Defensive Coordinator: see offensive coordinator. No power to do your own thing. Aging defensive front 7. Backfield in complete and total disarray. No help in the future from draft or free agency. More of the same, only worse than 2009.

Seeing who/what they end up with = SOME COMPLETE AND TOTAL NO NAMERS with no power to accomplish squat.

You could see it in Ted's eye's during that press conference; "I need to lie to the fans because my owners are cheap and loyal when it hasn't been earned - I need to tell the fans to have hope when there isn't ANY reason for ANY of it."

I regret the loss of Jones much more than Benson. Forte has almost 2,200 yards in 2 seasons whereas Benson has about 1,500 with the Bears in 3 seasons. Benson was a complete tool with the Bears. He apparently grew up but only after Bears canned him.

I'm laughing at the Angelo defenders....

I've challenged every fellow Bears fan I've seen. Compare the 06 roster to this years position by position. Now look at all the personnel moves SINCE 06. This team is WORSE! Angelo shouldn't have drafted Benson in the first place. Angelo shouldn't have traded our workhorse and team guy in TJ in favor of this headcase. Angelo shouldn't have gotten rid of Tank, Chris Harris, Mike Brown, Ian Scott. Angelo shouldn't have drafted Garret Wolfe in the third round, Owko, Bazuin. Angelo shouldn't have given Urlacher or Tommie those big extensions. Angelo shouldn't have tried to FORCE Hester into a No1 receiver(which he clearly isn't), by giving him a 40 mil dollar contract. What good GM does that?

The only thing I can think that Angelo did well was getting Cutler. Angelo gets to much of a pass by Rick Morrisey, Mike Mulligan and the rest of the goofs at the Suntimes.'s all Lovie.



Benson got things turned around in Cincy BECAUSE the Bears canned him and also because so many teams passed on him for so long. Didn't it take till November for Cincy to sign him? His time off combined with his fear of being out of the league for good caused him to mature and get serious about football. Good for him I guess, it's just disappointing that his success and maturity had to come at the expense of Da Bears.

Secondly, Forte's a good back. Just needs more blocking. He'll be back to form next year. Biggest offseason needs are legit #1 receiver, a big bruiser on the o-line, some help in the secondary, preferably a great corner or safety.

Go Bears!


Thanks for picking up the ball and running with it.

I don't know if I agree that Cedric Benson has left the Bears in a mess. I still like Matt Forte better. However - I do think his success shines a very bright light on some weaknesses in Lovie's coaching style, which is better suited for disciplined, veteran players.

Lovie is not hard-nosed enough for the group of tool academy contestants currently on the roster: Urlacher, Hester, Harris, etc.

IMO Lovie is a pretty good coach, but I don't think his style is the best fit the Bears talent. As many have noted, the players like him because he's easy going. But I think that hurts the team's performance.

Cedric's situation is a perfect example. Yes, these guys are men - and college graduates (cough, cough) - but they're still VERY young. Somebody on that staff needs to get these high-maintenance 23-year old millionaires heads on straight. Unfortunately for Benson and the Bears, some mentoring and even parenting was in order when the police started harassing his pontoon boat parties.

It shouldn't have to be that way. But sometimes, that's how it is.

I also believe that's why we saw Lovie have so much success early in his tenure. He had some young players, but Ron Rivera was really challenging the defense (and some say Lovie's approach) - and the veteran leadership of Thomas, Jones, Mike Brown, Moose Muhammad, and Kreutz really filled leadership gaps left by the coaches.

Urlacher is an AWESOME MLB. But I do question his leadership when he's watching football games and critiquing his team with Yahoo sports columnists.

Who's going to fill those gaps now? Lovie? Let's hope so. Because if the Bears don't go out and get a proven WR and OL in free agency, the offense will continue to struggle.

So Lovie treats his players like gentlemen? Okay, if that is so, why did he allow those same gentlemen to smack around a 1st round draft pick who did what all players normally state, which is "It is a business and get your money while you can, especially at the running back position because of the BLOWN KNEE FACTOR?"

Therefore, other players on the Bears team who liked Thomas Jones, should have had no problem with Cedric Benson getting his money. Benson simply was trying to get the best deal possible for himself. Ask yourself, "Why would a WHOLE TEAM TURN ON AND TAUNT the 1st round draft pick?"

Nobody can attest if those team members were questioning his toughness - it was something else and we will never know. Mr. Benson simply shut down and moved on to another team and proved the Chicago Bears and his former teammates wrong. Whatever happened, Cedric Benson proved he is a top-flight NFL running back.

Maybe it simply has to do more with player development than picking draft choices. And ultimately, that is placed upon the Head Coach & the Assistant Coaches.

i agree with the last comment, when benson was with the bears he was nothing, he realized he needed to change when the bears let him go. If he showed any sign of promise (he showed none with the bears) i'm sure the organization would've kept him around

angelo is an idiot, we all know he can't draft but when he does hit he trades the guy or lets him go. 2005 was a pretty bad draft but it didn't have to be.

benson said himself he things were starting to click in the seattle game then he gets hurt. maybe he was right? benson has talent but the organization just handled the entire thing poorly.

bradley flashed in a couple of games but got injuried and somehow ended up in the doghouse. the bears are get at doing that. i would say this is another mismanagement issue but he didn't do anything after that.

Orton? i think orton turned out to be a good NFL player, maybe not for us but he's decent. and no i don't think the Cutler was bad and Culter is better than orton.

airese curry... bust

chris harris was a great value in the 6th round but was traded for a 5th i think? another case of mismanagement.

and thats the bears.

what if he got frank gore or vincent jackson instead? you know they'd probably suck. the bears are awful at player development and when you add that with a bad front office you get a bad team
no matter who gets put out there.

I agree we should never have drafted Benson, but I am saying he was actually ready when the Boat incident happened. That readiness carried over to the Bengals. I feel we still should have kept him at that time, and his Cincy (in my opinion) proves it. And what about the players that didnt like him that arent worth a rats behind? that would be most of our players that Angelo gave us.

We can do nothing about the stumbling, bumbling McCaskeys except no show the games, the only thing they care about is money so we should not buy their popcorn.
How in this world they could keep Angelo is beyond me, look at his Tampa Bay offense and now here. He belongs in the college ranks.

off-field incidents that lead to ... ??? ...

NOTHING! NO arrests, NO convictions. TWO exonerations.

You needed to pack heat like Tank. Or drive a million-dollar car off the road like Lance. Or have a herd of kids out of wedlock like Urlacher.

Quirky, absolutely. But only now are we seeing what he could have been wearing the blue and orange because no one in Chicago was willing or capable of working with him. are so right on... the way..some people were asking about you...Bubs Mom..WRD...

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on January 10, 2010 8:34 AM.

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