Benson on Slippery Slope

Lake Forest – It took one day of practice for Cedric Benson to feel that he'll be ready to play in the season opener, but took a more cautious approach when he said it would take an additional week to be ready to assume a starting role.

"I would give him a run for his money," Benson said of challenging Thomas Jones for the top spot by Week 2.

The only thing Benson believes he's lacking at this point is a game plan.

Although Head coach Lovie Smith might not fully agree with the rookie's assessment, having two quality running backs competing for the job is what the Bears imagined when they selected Benson with the fourth pick in the draft.

"I would have thought Cedric would have said the first game of the season," Smith said. "That's how all running backs think. We're taking it day by day.

"(I'm) Hoping he's playing that well where there's that type of decision, but our starting running back right now is Thomas Jones and we're excited about what he's going to do for us."

Smith has yet to put forth a timeframe for when Benson will be on the field in a game situation. Benson has already been ruled out of the team's preseason finale on Thursday. Whether or not he'll be ready for the Sept. 11th season opener remains in question.

"Right now we haven't seen Cedric in pads," Smith said. "I'll be able to comment a lot more once I see him in pads."

Quarterback Shuffle
Kyle Orton will not have more than a few series against Cleveland as his final game preparation for the start of the regular season.

"We're just trying to get him in position to go into that week," Smith said. "We can't have anything else happen. As Kyle says, he gets a chance to play against we think the best defense in the league each day and that's enough to get him ready for the Redskins."

Jeff Blake, who has just six pass attempts in the preseason, will receive the bulk of the snaps against the Browns. Kurt Kittner is expected to finish up the game.

With the release of Chad Hutchinson, Kittner's chances of making the 53-man roster have increased greatly. However, for the 25-year-old that has been on six teams in four years there are no guarantees.

"You just need to go in and keep working and don't ever quit, keep working, wait your turn and if you get another opportunity make the most of it because to be truthful they don't come around very often," Kittner said.

GM Jerry Angelo hasn't ruled out searching the waiver wire for a quarterback. The New England Patriots released Rohan Davey, while the Denver Broncos cut Danny Kanell on Tuesday.

On Guard
Terrence Metcalf and Roberto Garza will each get one last chance to make their case for the starting job at right guard.

"We still have the same battle going on at the right guard position," Smith said. "We're going to try to play both Terrence and Roberto (against Cleveland) to try to get that finalized as far as who will start for us."

Ins & Outs
Cornerback Charles Tillman was excused from practice for personal reasons. Jerry Azumah worked with the team for the first time since having a scope on his hip Aug. 3.

Even Azumah will not play suit up Thursday, he is expected to ready for the start of the season.

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