1. I always like the Chicago Bears.
And now for something completely different...
I like my football players angry. Violent. Dick Butkus. Bill George. Mike Singletary and the rest of the '85 guys. I don't like linebackers that "excel in coverage". I don't like safeties that "play the ball well in the air". Sure those are admirable traits but they don't mean shit at the point-of-impact. Sunday, in Cincinnati, there's a reason to be violent at the point-of-impact. That reason's name is Cedric Benson.
Cedric Benson cried the day he was drafted fourth. Not because he was soon to become an unfathomably rich man, no. It was because three other guys got drafted first. Ced was bitter. He cried like a water sprinkler and it set off my douche bag alarm.
Benson quickly shredded those doubts and looked like the kind of big, bruising back Anthony Thomas could only pretend to be. His style was a perfect compliment to Thomas Jones and in 2006 they were arguably the best running back tandem in the sport. The Bears traded Jones, the man who carried them through the postseason, and handed one of the most historically rich positions in all of sports to Benson. I thought he was destined for an MVP-type season.
And...he sucked. Slow to the hole. Slow through the hole. Broke about three tackles all year. He never had the desire on the field but always seemed to have an excuse off of it. The stories of a locker room in shambles and intentional practice injuries began to circulate quickly and the team never put together a consistent effort. Benson was a bust and the Bears wisely realized they needed to move on. Enter Matt Forte.
Now Benson has found a career in Cincinnati, seemingly the perfect place for him. Did Benson learn his lesson? Has success on the field led to composure and maturity off of it? What do you think?
"I heard all the rumors that were said coming out of Chicago," the
Bengals running back said during a conference call. "Even the Bengals
said they would call and inquire about me and get nothing but negative
things ... that I didn't work hard, that I was, I guess, a prima donna,
didn't work hard on the field, just wasn't focused."
Lance Briggs responded:
"I know he has had this date circled for a long time," Briggs said. "He
was a little worried we were cheap-shotting him. Now he can get revenge
on everyone who he thought cheap-shotted him in our training camp."
When Benson hasn't been successful running the football, the Bengals have lost. It's simple as that. And if this defense doesn't hit this guy...if they don't gang tackle this guy...if they don't attack the line of scrimmage on Sunday...I have no use for them. Any of them. I've always hoped that the guys on the field cared as much about outcomes as I do. On Sunday I wanna see. I wanna see Cedric Benson on his damn back. I wanna see violence.
Chicago Bears 30, Cincinnati Bengals 10