Limping Down the Stretch

The Bears spent $87.5 million on six players in the offseason last year -- QB Jonathan Quinn, OT John Tait, OG Ruben Brown, RB Thomas Jones, DE Adewale Ogunleye and FB Bryan Johnson. Of those, only Jones will finish the season as a healthy contributor.

Jones appears to give the Bears a legitimate threat on the ground against the Packers and should lead their running attack for the next few seasons.

Jones goes into the finale with 840 rushing yards and is coming off a 109-yard effort in the 19-13 loss to the Lions on Sunday. He ran for 152 yards in the 21-10 win over the Packers on Sept. 19, and he should find the Green Bay run defense to be fertile ground once again (Packers allow 117.9 rushing yards per game, ranking 16th in the league).

With one game to play, Jones' average of 3.9 yards per carry is slightly better than his 3.8 career average. He appears to have been hurt significantly by the injury to Rex Grossman and the inconsistent play of the offensive line.

Jones was at his best in the first three games of the season but looked ordinary after that until the Bears pulled into Detroit. He has not scored a rushing touchdown since Oct. 24.

Jones leads the Bears with 53 receptions after catching four passes Sunday against the Lions. The 53 receptions tied Jones with Walter Payton for the most receptions in a season by a Bears running back. Payton caught 53 passes in 1983. He's a fine pass blocker as well.

A solid finale against the Packers will cement his status as the team's No. 1 back. However, it seems quite likely that the Bears will either bring in a free-agent or draft a rookie to push Jones a bit next season.

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