Transactional Analysis: Bears Trimming the Fat
The Chicago Bears, seeking to rebound after a very disappointing 2007 season, announced a few moves Wednesday to tweak their roster in anticipation of training camp in a couple of months.
Gone are defensive tackle Babatunde Oshinowo and guard Mike Jones, both released Wednesday, with more promising rookies ready to take their jobs. Third-rounder Marcus Harrison left Oshinowo with almost no chance to make the squad and seventh-round pick Chester Adams was impressive in last weekend’s rookie camp, so Jones became expendable.
Meanwhile, with running back Cedric Benson in trouble after his weekend boating adventure, there may be an opening for Matthew Lawrence to land a spot on the practice squad. Lawrence ran for 1,680 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Minutemen last season.
Benson, by the way, is due in court on May 19 to face his boating while intoxicated and resisting arrest charges. Ahoy, matey!
So will the Bears be able to get back to .500 this season?
Well, they better improve an offense that was among the NFL’s worst last season, thanks to an especially weak rush attack. Even when he was healthy, Benson proved he was not a number one runner last year. And his legal trouble could definitely put a crimp in his situation, further weakening the run game for the Bears.
Adrian Peterson – no, not Purple Jesus, but the other one – could take the lead if Benson can’t start the season, and while he doesn’t excite me either, he might get his chance to show how bad he really is.
Failing that, look for rookie Matt Forte to be handed the starting gig – not a real good idea considering his lack of experience, but this is what will likely happen.
Chicago expects to be competitive this season, but I have a feeling that even with the Packers probably coming back to earth, the Bears have their work cut out for themselves.