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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cedric Benson Sees Cedric Benson A Little Differently Than We See Cedric Benson

Oh Yeah, I miss this fucker

Let me take you back to draft day in 2005. Since I was about ten or eleven its been fun for me to try and make up my own mock draft and try to beat Mel Kiper. Several years I've been successful. Well, in 2005 I had my fantasy scenario drawn up for the Bears. I ignored the rumors that the Bears were looking at Texas runningback Cedric Benson, given that the only effective player on the offense in 2004 had been Thomas Jones. I decided that with a healthy Rex Grossman coming back (little did I know his preseason 2005 injury would lead to the rise of our hero, Mr. Orton), a healthy John Tait, Ruben Brown, and the free agent signing of Fred Miller all upgrading the offensive line, and Jones in the backfield, the Bears would actually be better off trading Down out of the fourth overall pick and picking up UAB wide receiver Roddy White, who I felt was far better than the buzz generated at the time for Mike Williams, Matt Jones, or Troy Williamson (I was right).

Alas, that was not to be, as the Bears stood pat and selected Cedric Benson, and I erupted with the fury of a thousand burning suns. What followed was three years of fail culminating in Benson's release (I'll fully recap his career with the Bears later in the article).

The Bears drafted Matt Forte, he quickly became one of the best backs in the league, Benson wound up in football purgatory (Cincinnatti), and all was well.

But wait! Mr. Benson apparently believes someone made a mistake!

Quoth the slow footed one: "I'm sure they know they made a mistake [releasing me], after the way I finished last season. But I'm not worried about them. It's in the past and I've moved on. I had a career-high in touches and yards in a little more than half a season, more than I ever had in Chicago. That tells you the story right there."

What story, exactly, does that tell? That you were a horribly ineffective back in Chicago and you improved in Cincinnatti, Cedric? Let's look:

Cedric Benson Career with Bears
2005- 9 G, 1 GS, 67 rush, 272 yards, 0 tds, 4.1 ypa, 1 rec., 3 yds, 0 tds.
2006-15 G, 0 GS, 157 rush, 647 yards, 6 tds, 4.1 ypa, 8 rec., 54 yds, 0 tds.
2007- 11 G, 11 GS, 196 rush, 674 yards, 4 tds, 3.4 ypa, 17 rec., 123 yds, 0 tds

The most important line you'll want to look at is 2007, when Benson was finally the starter, because he more or less implies later that he was never given a chance by the team.

Now, shall we look at Cedric's 2008, the one in which his vast improvement has stung the Bears with pangs of regret?

2008- 12 G, 10 GS, 214 rush, 747 yards, 2 tds, 3.5 ypa, 20 rec., 185 yds, 0 tds.

Holy shit! He's morphed into Barry Sanders overnight! He's averaging a whopping tenth of a yard more per carry! Heck he managed to average a whole yard more per game as a Bengal than he did as a Bear in 2007 (62.3 vs 61.3)! Just for the sake of comparison, lets compare the pitiful numbers Matt Forte posted last year which made us long for Anthony Thomas the Lesser:

2008: 16 G, 16 GS, 316 rush, 1,238 yards, 8 tds, 3.9 ypa, 63 rec, 477 yds, 4 tds

Hmm. That's odd. It's almost as though Forte was better in every single category than Benson's excellent 2008 campaign. That can't be! This was a mistake!

My favorite comment, however, is when Benson implies that the Bears organization never game him a chance with this : "I think the only person that wanted me there was Lovie [Smith],'' Benson said. "The Bengals sure hit the jackpot.''

First off, if the only person that wants you there is the head coach, congratufuckinglations, because he only decides WHO GETS TO FUCKING PLAY, YOU STRAIGHT LINE RUNNING BASTARD WHO COULDN'T EVEN OUT RUSH RASHAAN SALAAM! But alas, Jerry Angelo must also have wanted you, given his control over personnel. But just to examine Mr. Benson's implication the organization didn't give Him his opportunity, lets look at his career:

2005- Determined to work their new "power runningback" into the offense, the Bears declare an open competition for the starting job during training camp. Thomas Jones wins, because he was actually In training camp, unlike Benson, who MISSED THE ENTIRE CAMP WHILE HE WAS HOLDING OUT FOR MORE MONEY. Undaunted, Benson declares that he'll win the starting job by the third game of the season. He doesn't, as Thomas Jones has a far more effective season than Benson has had in his entire career, rushing for 1,335 yards and 9 tds with a 4.3 ypa average. Benson gets one start that year, against the 49ers, and leaves before half time with an injury.

2006- Upset that the Bears still seem determined to replace him after his outstanding year, Thomas Jones holds out of minicamps and is benched during training camp. The Bears are ready to hand the job to Benson before he gets hurt and misses most of the rest of training camp and the preseason, leaving the job in Jones's hands, who again goes out and has a better year than Benson's ever dreamed of, rushing for 1,210 yds and 6 tds. Benson actually plays effectively as the second back, averaging 4.1 ypc. During the Superbowl, however, Benson once more gets injured early and sits out the rest of the game.

2007- The Bears, determined to rid themselves of a highly productive runningback, for whatever reason, trade Thomas Jones to the New York Jets and annoint Benson the starter for the 2007 season. Benson responds with a 3.4 ypc average, and despite playing behind a subpar line (still, more or less the same line that Jones and Forte have had to work with), he still gets his fair share of the blame for his indecisiveness, inability to hit the hole, and complete lack of agility. Benson gets injured AGAIN against the Broncos and misses the last five games of the season.

During the 2007 offseason the Bears remain adamant that Benson will be in the mix for the starting runningback job, and they draft Matt Forte to push him in training camp. The Bears were forced by Benson's own hand to release him, however, when he got arrested twice in two weeks for alcohol related incidents (making it four times that he'd been arrested since college).

Benson than was picked up off the scrap heap by Cincinnatti, and he put up the great numbers he mentioned. Benson actually had three 100 yard games for the Bengals, (104 vs. the Jaguars, the league's 13th ranked run defense, 171 vs. the Browns, the league's 28th ranked run defense, and 111 vs. Kansas City, the league's 30th ranked run defense), but in the other 9 games he averaged just 40.1 ypg and 2.8 ypa. (For comparison, Forte also had just three 100 yard games, but in his other 13 averaged 65 ypg and 3.4 ypa)

So what this all adds up to is the fact that if you were paid $35 fucking million to be a feature back, and prove to be a brittle, whiny, slow moving bastard, don't try and blame the team for your failures.

Go to hell, Cedric. See you week 7. I can't wait to be on the other end of one of your patented 20 rush, 50 yd games.

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