In a move that immediately improves our playoff chances, the Chicago Bears have announced that Cedric Benson will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.
All season, I have watched with envy as other teams benefited from better RB’s with lesser egos: The Packers have been given a legitimate running game from Ryan Grant, the Raiders manage 100+ on the ground with Justin Fargas and the Bills survive by leaning on rookie Marshawn Lynch. While division rival Minnesota has Purple Jesus in the backfield, the Bears have been starting Navy Judas- a clubhouse cancer that has taken the phrase “short yardage back” a little too seriously.
Now, I wouldn’t place ALL the blame on Cedric for his poor production. The offensive line has been as effective as a lead enema, not to mention that our weak passing game hasn’t exactly kept defenses honest. I doubt Griese could throw a ball 40+ yards even if he was the only one on the field and he had one of those awesome Nerf spiral balls.
What I do blame Cedric for, though, is running Thomas Jones out of town. TJ was a monster for us for 3 years, never averaging less than 4 per carry, even with no-names like Orton and Krenzel under center. He was a gym rat with an inspiring work ethic and team-first attitude. His cut-back style was well suited for our sub par blocking and he never complained, not even when the Bears sent him packing for an overpaid and unproven 1st drama queen.
Nevertheless, it should be exciting to see our version of Adrian Peterson get a chance to prove himself after languishing on special teams for the last couple years. We might even get a look at rookie Garret Wolfe, who looked surprisingly good in preseason and might be fast enough to take a handoff AND get back to the line of scrimmage on the same play.