Benson Falling Behind

Bourbonnais - Cedric Benson's holdout has reached Day six, but as contract details are being hammered out, the real work is being done on the field.

As it appears negotiations are at a standstill, Benson has missed six practices and that total will rise with two sessions scheduled for Friday.

Looking back on Benson's career years from now, his holdout should have no bearing on whether he's a success or failure in the league.

However, every rep he fails to get in training camp will have an impact on his rookie season and thus the Bears chances for establishing a consistent ground attack.

Benson was born to run and will be able to carry the ball the day he reports to Bourbonnais. The setback is in the details of the passing game.

"We introduced him to all that in the mini-camp and the OTAs and everything, but that's going to be the toughest part," said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "Running the ball comes pretty natural, but the passing game as a receiver, blitz pickup, everything else is going to take some time and we're going to have to bring him a long slowly."

Having Benson missing a block could result in a sack or worse with a quarterback coming off major knee surgery. For that reason he will have a tough time taking the starting job away from incumbent Thomas Jones before the season starts. Being an every down player means being able to contribute in all facets of the game.

For now, the Bears are resting Jones in certain situations in an attempt to assure his health. He's never been a durable player, starting a career high 14 games last season.

There has been a lot of discussion about how Benson is the ideal fit for Turner's offense, while Jones leaves something to be desired when running between the tackles.

"He's a good inside runner as well as having good vision," Turner said of Jones. "He can pick the hole and hit it and he's a good receiver out of the backfield, which I didn't know how he was until I got here and I've been real impressed with that. So I think he's a very good fit."

Chances are Benson will still overtake Jones for the starting job at some point during the season. The Bears didn't use the fourth pick in the draft on a running back to have him be second on the depth chart. Still there is a place for Jones in the offense.

"Thomas is going to have a huge role in this no matter what happens," Turner said.


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