One: The Big Deal
With three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Benson is overwhelmingly the Packers' most accomplished running back. However, as we pointed out in this commentary on Saturday, there's one giant wart of Benson's resume that makes this transaction particularly dumbfounding:
During the minicamp, running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said one of the "mottos" of his group was "protect our football." In that light, Benson isn't going to be handed anything, whether it's the starting job or a place on the roster.
Benson might be one of five running backs with an active streak of three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, but he leads all running backs with 12 fumbles over the last two years. To add some perspective, only 17 running backs have even fumbled six times during that span.
(Here's the list: Benson, 12; Peyton Hillis, 10; Ryan Mathews, 10; LeGarrette Blount, 9; Arian Foster, 9; Ahmad Bradshaw, 8; Maurice Jones-Drew, 8; Tashard Choice, 7; Felix Jones, 7; Marshawn Lynch, 7; C.J. Spiller, 7; Michael Tolbert, 7; Fred Jackson, 6; Chris Johnson, 6; Ricky Williams, 6; Reggie Bush, 6; Willis McGahee, 6.)
To put a Packers reference on it, Green Bay's running backs have fumbled seven times over the last two seasons. Think those numbers are skewed because the Packers only rarely run the ball and Benson has been a workhorse? Think again.
Here are the fumble numbers of Benson and the nine running backs/fullbacks to have suited up for the Packers in 2010 and 2011.
Cedric Benson: 637 touches, 12 fumbles.
Brandon Jackson: 233 touches, one fumble.
James Starks: 193 touches, two fumbles.
Ryan Grant: 161 touches, two fumbles
John Kuhn: 144 touches, two fumbles.
Dimitri Nance: 39 touches, no fumbles.
Brandon Saine: 28 touches, no fumbles.
Alex Green: Four touches, no fumbles.
Quinn Johnson: Three touches, no fumbles.
Korey Hall: One touch, no fumbles.
Total: 806 touches, seven fumbles.
It's no contest in the Packers' favor, with Benson fumbling once in every 53.1 touches compared to once in every 115.1 touches for Green Bay's backs.
Two: Rookie of the Day
In baseball, a tie goes to the runner. In an NFL training camp, a tie typically goes to the better special teams player.
With that in mind, it's time to consider Sean Richardson a strong contender to join Dezman Moses as this year's undrafted free agents to make the 53-man roster. Richardson is working with the top punt and punt-return teams. At 6-foot-2 and a clocking as fast as 4.43 at the Scouting Combine, Richardson has all the makings of being a special-teams ace.
Three: Position of the Day
Each day, we take a look at the competition at one position.
Defensive line: The battle is getting stronger, meaning the Packers are going to have some decisions to make not only for final roster cuts but when Mike Neal (four games) and Anthony Hargrove (eight games) return from suspensions.
Three are only three locks: B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and second-round pick Jerel Worthy. If the Packers keep six, C.J. Wilson (the starting end opposite Pickett in the base defense), Daniel Muir (outstanding camp) and Mike Daniels (fourth-round pick with pass-rushing potential) look like the front-runners. If they are, it's not by much. Philip Merling, a bust with Miami as the 32nd pick in 2008, has turned it up a notch in the last week or so and could challenge Wilson and Muir for a role on run downs. Jarius Wynn, a sixth-round pick in 2009 who didn't make the team in 2010 but was re-signed after Week 1, looks like he's on thin ice but could beat out Daniels if he can put some more heat on the quarterback.
OLB Moses, on working with the first team at San Diego: "OTAs, there's a certain speed, then minicamp is a certain speed, then camp is a certain speed. It's all a little faster. The game is obviously quicker than that. To get those reps against another team's 1s, have a chance to be out there and get my feet wet, see the competition, it's fun and definitely important reps for me. I learned a lot from being out there. It's a different look, a different feel. I did some good things and I still have things to work on. It's a big learning experience."
CB Casey Hayward, on the transition from the SEC to the NFL: "The SEC is very good and they have a lot of players that you play against that are very good. But when you come to the NFL, this level, there's no lag. Every receiver can beat you. Some teams might have one receiver in college that's very good. Here, they can pick and choose who they want to go to."
Coach Mike McCarthy, on injured TE Andrew Quarless: "I thought Andrew was playing extremely well at the time of his injury against the New York Giants. I thought he was our best on-the-line tight end at that particular time. But he's on schedule. I know he's ambitious to get back before the end of training camp, I don't know if that will be the case. Once again, these injuries there's a long projection. Same thing with Derek Sherrod. He's going to be challenged to be back before the end of training camp. But then every week, you hear and see how well they're doing and you talk to the players. I don't really get the opportunity to say he can be back two to six weeks, but sometimes that's the way this medical thing goes. There's a gray area when these guys are coming back off these long-term injuries."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.