Coaches Corner: Tim Spencer

With Thomas Jones' status for Sunday's game against Minnesota in question, running backs coach Tim Spencer took time to talk with Bear Report's Jason Klabacha about the progress of Cedric Benson.

BR: Do you feel comfortable with Cedric Benson being on the field every down?
Spencer: "Well I think he'll be able to handle the things that we'll ask him to do. I'm sure he probably could have handled it in the game, but having the things that happened to him in the course of last week's game, you know he missed a third and short and fourth and one and the fumble. I just thought I felt little more comfortable with an older guy in that situation. Ced's got to go. I mean he's got to play. I feel that he has come a long way in terms of recognizing things and just little technique things. Where he needs to be in certain runs depth wise and things like that I'm feeling pretty comfortable about that.

BR: Is the biggest thing limiting him at this point pass blocking?
Spencer: Well really it's been a little bit of everything. He's been exposed to a whole new system. Obviously pass protection and having to block he hasn't been asked to do a lot of those things and recognize defenses and maybe call out defenses and find different linebackers. So that's a challenge and has been a challenge because he didn't run the type of offense that we run now. The game is a little bit faster obviously, but I think he had some really practices in the bye that really gave us all confidence that had taken a big step forward."

BR: Are you curious to see what he can do in a featured role?
Spencer: "I think we all are. Giving some reps and see him get a chance to get going. But I've always been under the impression that you talk about guys that need to get 8, 9 carries in a row, well it's not like that anymore. Sometimes it's situational and you've got to be ready to go when we say go. Obviously if you're in there you can get a chance to get warm and get into things, but it's not always that way."

BR: As well as Thomas Jones has played is it a luxury to turn to the fourth pick in the draft as your backup?
Spencer: "I feel good about all my guys. It would have been nice to have Ced in camp, he would have been a lot further along. He's getting there now. And Thomas, Cedric, AP I feel pretty good about that. I feel good about all three of those guys. We're all curious to see what he's going to do and how he's going to perform during the course of a whole game. But Thomas may be ready to go, he may not be, he's questionable right now. We'll just have to see how the week goes."

BR: If Benson starts and goes for more than 100 yards is it a good problem to have when Jones is healthy?
Spencer: "Thomas is our starter. Thomas clearly shows you on the field what he can do make no mistake about that. The young guy has got to get getter and obviously he's got to get better with the reps. And if he goes out and has a great game that would be absolutely great. Great for us, great for his confidence and everything in general. And I feel that he will once he gets an opportunity to do that. But you have to earn what you need to get."

BR: You want to make a rookie earn a position and not give it to him?B Spencer: "It's kind of hard to earn it if you're not hear. You give them something when they get here and you really got to earn it. You've got to work a little bit harder, study a bit harder, you've got to do a lot of things a little bit more intense to catch up."

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