Bears Notebook: Individual Player Briefs

Updates on several players, including running back Cedric Benson, QB Rex Grossman and much more.

  • While Cedric Benson's reps continue to increase in practice, head coach Lovie Smith has no plans to use him in the same backfield with Thomas Jones.

    "One of them has to block, most tailbacks don't want to block, they want to carry the football so we won't be doing a lot of that," Smith said.

    Benson will play more and get more carries than the three he had on Sunday. He isn't ready to start yet but could begin sharing time soon.

  • QB Rex Grossman had his cast removed from his broken ankle and now is in a walking boot. He will begin rehabbing the injury with the hopes of returning in late November.

  • QB Kyle Orton's numbers were mediocre, although he impressed his teammates and coaches with his poise. But he did have four passes batted, including one ill-advised throw that was picked off in the end zone.

  • QB Jeff Blake isn't expected to be a factor unless Kyle Orton is injured, since coaches will be very patient with the rookie.

  • RB Thomas Jones will have to be a lot more productive than he was Sunday (31 yards on 15 carries) to hold off rookie Cedric Benson. Jones' longest run in the opener was 8 yards.

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad was the intended receiver on 12 of Kyle Orton's 28 passes Sunday. Muhammad caught six passes for 59 yards but also dropped a perfect pass on third down. He sat out of practice on Wednesday with a sore side, but is expected to the field on Thursday.

  • WR Justin Gage needs to contribute more than the one catch for 10 yards that he had on Sunday if he is to hold on to the starting job.

  • WR Mark Bradley will play a great deal in the rotation even if he isn't in the starting lineup.

  • TE Desmond Clark (three catches, 26 yards) was Kyle Orton's second-favorite receiver in the opener.

  • PK Doug Brien's kickoffs weren't deep, but they were well covered. The Redskins averaged just 20.5 yards on two returns.

  • CB Jerry Azumah played nickel back on Sunday, but he could resume full-time duty this week. The Bears aren't rushing him back from Aug. 3 arthroscopic hip surgery. He experienced normal soreness in his hip after the game and was rested on Wednesday.

  • DT Tommie Harris has a sore left ankle which is not serious enough to even land him on the injury report this week, although he admitted he "got his butt kicked" Sunday against the Redskins.

  • CB Nathan Vasher, the team leader in interceptions last season with five, had one in the opener and another that was wiped out by FS Mike Green's pass interference penalty.

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