Tomorrow the Bears will enter the NFL Draft knowing that they will have all 22 starters back from last year. No worries then, right? Not so.
Even though the Bears have made 2 excellent moves in getting QB Brian Griese and DB Ricky Manning Jr., Bears fans are nervous. More on that later.
My main reason for nerves is Thomas Jones. Their is some trade talk surrounding Jones and I don't like it a bit. There is no way he should be traded tomorrow for a draft pick or two. But it looks as if he might go.
Jones is a joy to watch. Cedric Benson is an unknown quantity coming off an injury. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, it's kind of hard to tell your fans you are going to go with a back with 60+ career carries as your starter.
Super Bowl teams, and those trying to get there, need depth. Larry Johnson languished for a few seasons before taking over for Priest Holmes. Why can't Cedric Benson do the same? It's silly to prepare the way the Bears have--getting all their starters back and signing quality backups--and then go and trade your best player on offense and replace him with a virtual rookie coming off injury.
Benson was the #4 pick overall. He needs to play. I understand that. But it doesn't have to be as the starter or the guy getting the majority of the carries. And even if they choose to use him in that fashion, why can't we keep Thomas Jones as our 3rd down back? One of the reasons Benson did not make it on to the field that much last season was blocking. Jones blocks well and picks up all the blitzes. He's also an excellent receiver.
Cedric Benson may be one of the greatest running backs to ever play in the NFL. I'm willing to wait one more season to find out.