Chicago Bears Round Up
It has been VERY busy week for the Chicago Bears so let’s take a deep breath and jump right in.
To put insult onto injury, the day of Cedric Benson’s court date in Austin, Texas on charges of operating a boat while intoxicated and resisting arrest is on May 19th. This is significant because May 19th is the first day of OTA‘s (Organized Team Activities) for the Bears. Unless the Bears make any major additions at running back, rookie Matt Forte will receive the majority of snaps at running back. Not a good start for Benson since the Bears organization has promised Forte will have the opportunity to battle Benson for the starting spot.
Witnesses have come forward on Cedric Benson’s behalf and say the River Authority Officials often harrass Benson and they were abusive in the arrest. America is supposed to be the land of “innocent until proven guilty,” but even if the allegations prove to be false, I’m afraid the damage has been done. I don’t know if I agree, but some in Chicago feel that if it’s true that Benson is having serious setbacks recovering from off season injuries, he shouldn’t be screwing around on a boat in Texas. I think players are entitled to have personal time as long as they don’t do anything illegal or dangerous, but in this situation, it has become the icing on the cake for fans frustrated with an underachieving player.
ADAM ARCHULETA RELEASED
The short and lackluster career of safety Adam Archuleta in Chicago is over. The Bears picked Archuleta up from the Washington Redskins in 2007 for a 6th round draft pick. The hope was Lovie Smith could help him revive the once promising career he had with the St. Louis Rams as a feared defender. However, Archuleta posed a huge liability on the field with his inability to prevent big plays or defend deep balls. It appears his time in Washington when he was signed and then promptly benched has permanently scarred him. He no longer has the confidence he once had and is consistently exposed by the opposing offense. He was worth the gamble but with the Bears influx of safeties they can afford to let him go.
UNDRAFTED QUARTERBACK COMPETITION
The Bears did 90% of everything they were supposed to do in the draft and picked up some great players, but they failed to draft a quarterback. After releasing Brian Griese, the Bears need to find a 3rd string quarterback, which on this team can mean possible playing time. The Bears responded by signing two undrafted quarterbacks, Caleb Hanie of Colorado State, and Nick Hill of Southern Illinois.
Hanie is described as having a strong arm with a quick release, but a tendancy to force throws. However, Mel Kiper thinks he has pro quality and picks him to be the Bears third quarterback. Hill is more of a local favorite for attending school in Illinois and is being praised by the team for his strong grasp of the playbook in practice. Mel Kiper may be a national expert, but local reporters watching the two compete seem to have more good things to say about Hill. We already have one quarterback that likes to throw passes with his strong arm, I don’t know if we want another.
The Bears have also made it known that they will hold the third spot open if any quarterbacks become available before the season starts.
Reports coming out of rookie camp this week indicate that Matt Forte is living up to all the hype and then some. He appears to have the endurance of a three-down back, excels in blocking drills, and has looked good in passing routes and catching the ball. He is the complete opposite of Cedric Benson, who has trouble protecting the quarterback and doesn’t look comfortable on third down or on pass routes. Even if Lovie Smith gives Benson the opportunity to open as the first string back, Forte will still come in on third downs and will quickly work his way into the starting lineup.