- Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.
Chicago running back Thomas Jones is coming off the most productive season of his career and has proven he is a capable starter. However, the absence of Cedric Benson from training camp is still significant. With QB Rex Grossman sustaining a season-ending ankle injury, the Bears subsequently will have to lean on their running game, and Benson is expected to play a big role. Although Benson might think this gives him some leverage in negotiations, at the end of the day he's still a rookie and it's important he get into camp soon.
Holes in the NFL close quicker than those at the collegiate level and there are already concerns about Benson's ability to turn the corner. Benson, whose speed has been questioned, needs to get comfortable reading his blocks while working with a new offensive line. If he is hesitant because he isn't comfortable with Chicago's blocking schemes, it's highly unlikely he'll have the impact the Bears hope he can make this year.
It's also worth mentioning that general manager Jerry Angelo has said the Bears have made their final offer to Benson.