One of the biggest question marks for the Bears after three preseason games was the disappearance of the running game. With their two top tailback talents, Thomas Jones
and Cedric Benson
, battling injuries all during training camp, many assumed that everything would be fine once the workhorses got back on the field. Most of those concerns were put to rest in Cleveland on Thursday night as the team racked up 174 yards on 42 attempts.
The trouble is, Jones was only responsible for 14 of those yards, and it took him six carries to reach that unimpressive total. He now has just 17 yards on 10 rushes in two exhibition games, a far cry from the consistent production he showed last season when he single-handedly carried the offense at times. Jones was outrushed on Thursday night by P.J. Pope, Adrian Peterson, Andre Hall, and Keith Belton, and both Hall and Belton did it with fewer carries.
Even Rex Grossman refers to Jones as the emotional leader of the offense, but until his numbers are on par with that level of emotion once again, the Bears will struggle to put points on the board. It's hard to get too worked up over preseason statistics, but Jones had an opportunity to lock up the starting tailback duties for good with Cedric Benson still resting a sprained shoulder. He failed to do so, making him the dubious winner of the Bear Report Dud of the Week.
Thomas Jones made his long-awaited return to the starting lineup last week at Soldier Field against Arizona. He only managed three yards on four carries, but most of us chalked that up to some understandable rustiness. But after Thursday night's six-carry, 14-yard performance, Bears fans are starting to wonder where last season's 1,335-yard rusher is. Jones is the Bear Report Dud of the Week.
2005's leading rusher was supposed to be the answer to the run game, but that hasn't been the case.