Thomas Jones - New York Jets - 2006 Fantasy Football Player Profile, News, and Stats


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Thomas Jones
#20 - RB - New York Jets

Height: 5'10'' Weight: 220
Born: 08/19/1978
College: Virginia
2006 Projections
33312299HIGH (141%)

Player Analysis: Thomas Jones is coming off two outstanding seasons with the Bears, rushing for a career high 1335 yards last year. Despite this, Lovie Smith named Cedric Benson as the current starter after Jones missed voluntary OTAs due to contract negotiations. However the Bears aren't about to let last year's 9th leading rusher slip unutilized. Sharing touches with Benson, he will definitely be getting carries, and it won't take much for him to slide to the number 1 slot (in fact with Benson sidelined with a shoulder injury, he pretty much already has). Not only is he able to explode into the secondary he has also proven himself as an able receiver, having over 200 receiving yards in 2004. Jones has put his differences with the organization aside, and is focusing on producing for the Bears.

Fantasy Football Impact: Jones has been consistently improving to establish himself as a dominant back in the league. Though it seemed his role would be downgraded because of Cedric Benson, he now carries the momentum to be the starting RB come week 1. He is definitely not a safe pick though as the Bears are going to use any excuse possible to try and get production out of their first round investment.


Bears survive Bucs' rally, win in OT - 12/17/2006
Source: wire reports

The Chicago Bears earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs the hard way. Chicago blew a 24-3 second-half lead Sunday and then recovered with big plays from backups Rashied Davis and Adrian Peterson in overtime to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-31. Robbie Gould, who missed earlier in overtime from 37 yards, connected on a 25-yard field goal with 3:37 left to give the Bears the victory. Coupled with Washington's upset win at New Orleans, the Bears (12-2) got the home-field advantage in all of their games during the NFC playoffs. The NFC North champions had already earned a first-round bye. Gould's field goal came after Davis made a great-over-the-shoulder catch of 28 yards on a pass from Rex Grossman to the Tampa Bay 20. Peterson, Chicago's third-team tailback, then had runs of 2 and 11 yards to move the ball to the 7. Trailing 24-3 in the third quarter, the Bucs (3-11) stunned the Bears with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, tying the game on Tim Rattay's 44-yard TD pass to Ike Hilliard with 3:44 left. Rattay, who replaced the struggling Bruce Gradkowski in the first half, also had a 64-yard TD pass to Joe Galloway that capped a 95-yard drive in the final quarter.


Jones' pain may be Benson's gain - 12/14/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune

The Bears have talked about giving Cedric Benson additional carries this season. Benson's play, with an average of more than 4 yards per carry in four of the last five games, is dictating some of that. Fate also is doing some play-calling. Thomas Jones injured his ankle late in the victory in St. Louis and did not play after his season-long 30-yard run for a touchdown on the Bears' first possession of the third quarter. He was at Halas Hall for treatment Wednesday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Buccaneers. Jones has started every game this season and was on the injury list last week with a groin strain. "Hopefully, he'll be OK," coach Lovie Smith said. Left tackle John Tait (ankle) joined Jones on Smith's injury report, along with linebacker Leon Joe (hamstring), safety Todd Johnson (ankle) and cornerback Nathan Vasher (hamstring). "Hopefully, we'll get these guys back," Smith said. "This late in the season we'll take this injury list any day of the week."


Bears beat Vikings, clinch NFC North title - 12/04/2006

Now that they've clinched their second straight division title, the Chicago Bears can focus on bigger goals: a No. 1 seed and, maybe, the conference championship. Devin Hester ran into the record book again. Ricky Manning Jr. returned an interception for a touchdown, and the Bears claimed their second straight NFC North title with a 23-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a frigid Sunday afternoon. Video highlights Big returns and the running game kept Chicago ahead of the visiting Vikings. "The defense had to carry the offense today," Manning said. "That's the way it is going to be sometimes. We understand that, and we are up for that challenge if that has to be done." Hester tied an NFL record with his fourth touchdown return, and Manning ran an interception back 54 yards for the Bears (10-2), who lead the NFC by two games. Chicago overcame another shaky performance by quarterback Rex Grossman. The Vikings couldn't overcome Brad Johnson 's, however. With the temperature around 20 and wind chill in single digits, Grossman did little to stop the debate whether he should remain the starter. And Johnson was replaced. With some fans calling for backup Brian Griese after a loss at New England, Grossman was 6-of-19 for 34 yards and threw three interceptions for the second straight week. But he stayed in the game. He has 14 interceptions in the last seven games after throwing three in the first five. He was picked off twice in the first half, and his first attempt of the third quarter was intercepted. "I never really got anything going, and that is something I need to fix," said Grossman, whose rating was 1.3 -- 0.0 after three periods. "It's a simple formula to fix. It's just hard to get done." And he'll get another opportunity. Coach Lovie Smith was adamant that a change is not in the works and became agitated by questions about the quarterback situation. "There's a difference between perception and reality," Smith said. "The reality is we're 10-2 right now. We just won the division with Rex at quarterback, so that's what I go on." Johnson wasn't any better than Grossman. The veteran was 11-of-26 with 73 yards and four interceptions before being lifted for Brooks Bollinger late in the third quarter, and his last two passes ended in the Bears' hands. Back from a one-game suspension for his role in a Los Angeles restaurant altercation, Manning picked off his team-leading fifth pass at the Chicago 46. He returned it for his first touchdown this year to make it 14-6 in the third quarter. On the next play from scrimmage, Brian Urlacher intercepted Johnson. That led to a 24-yard touchdown run by Cedric Benson and a quarterback change for the Vikings. Minnesota coach Brad Childress wouldn't say if that will carry over to next week. "I would really be remiss about making a decision about a starting quarterback a half-hour after a Sunday game," he said. "We usually make those decisions during the week." Benson had 60 yards on nine carries against a defense that was averaging a league-low 56.6 yards. And Thomas Jones added 32 on 12 attempts for the Bears. Chester Taylor ran for 99 yards before bruising his ribs in the third quarter and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for Minnesota (5-7). He returned to the game, but did not carry the ball again.


Patriots 'defend' home turf against Bears - 11/27/2006

Tom Brady 's decision to run on two key plays was a surprise. That he didn't fumble may have been more of a shock. Cutting on new artificial turf instead of the mud that was there two weeks ago, Brady set up New England 's decisive touchdown in a turnover-filled game, and the Patriots beat the Chicago Bears 17-13. "Must be the turf," Brady said. "I don't think that would have happened a few weeks ago." The Patriots (8-3) persevered despite five turnovers against the Bears (9-2), who had allowed the fewest points in the NFL going into the game with 120. New England was the second stingiest with 131. "Our defense took the ball, did a good job of that and we didn't do such a good job with it," Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman said. On third-and-9 at the Bears 14, Brady took off running for 11 yards, a scamper that left star linebacker Brian Urlacher behind. "I'll tell my kids one day I slipped Brian Urlacher," Brady said with a grin. "They won't believe me." Brady also had a 3-yard run for a first down at the 3, capping the drive with his 2-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson that gave the Patriots a 17-10 lead with 8:22 left in the game. Before that drive, the Patriots had turned the ball over three times inside the Bears' 20-yard line against a team that leads the NFL in takeaways.


Bears second to none - 11/20/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Second City took over First City, for this year any way, as the Bears completed a sweep of New York on Sunday. But it wasn't so much what they did here, as where they are positioned now in the NFC. The 10-0 whitewashing of the Jets before 77,632 at the Meadowlands pushes the Bears to 9-1, their best start since 1990, and has them three games ahead of everyone in the conference with the exception of the Giants (6-3), whom they beat here last week. And the Giants could fall back with a loss tonight at Jacksonville. So much for suspense. The Bears were keeping an eye on the Philadelphia Eagles, but quarterback Donovan McNabb was lost for the season with a knee injury. The New Orleans Saints (6-4) are suddenly spiraling, and the Seattle Seahawks dropped to 6-4 with a loss to San Francisco. It could be the team to watch now is Dallas, which improved to 6-4 Sunday by knocking Indianapolis from the unbeaten ranks. The Bears have a five-game lead in the North Division, and to borrow from Arizona coach Dennis Green, go ahead and crown them. But you couldn't find anyone in the locker room afterward looking beyond next week's game at New England. ''New York has been good to us,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ''A few weeks ago we had a three-game stretch that looked pretty tough. Now we're down to one game.'' Why wouldn't the Bears be eager to get the Patriots out of the way. They are the last team remaining on the schedule with a winning record. While you never had the feeling the Jets (5-5) were going to take this game and run with it, the contest swung on two plays. First, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher came up with one of his biggest plays of the season. Assigned to read quarterback Chad Pennington's eyes in cover two on third-and-goal from the six, he did just that and jumped a pass for Chris Baker, intercepting in the end zone early in the second quarter. He was screened, at least partially, by an official. Had Pennington seen Laveranues Coles on the left side come wide open in busted coverage, it would have been an easy touchdown. ''The read didn't tell me to go to Laveranues' side,'' Pennington said. ''I didn't see [Urlacher] until I let go of the football.'' From there, the Bears beared down in posting their second shutout and holding an opponent to 10 points or less for the fifth time. The other big play was when the Jets helped jump-start the stalled Bears' offense with a surprise onside kick to open the seconed half. Chris Harris easily fielded Mike Nugent's attempt and the Bears were in business in Jets territory. Thomas Jones, who rushed for a season-high 121 yards, carried seven straight times to set up Robbie Gould's 20-yard field goal, and the momentumless Bears suddenly were in command.


Defense bails out Bears again, 10-0 - 11/19/2006

Mark Bradley turned and caught the short pass from Rex Grossman, and then realized Drew Coleman was the only thing standing between him and the end zone. "Every receiver loves a one-on-one situation," the Chicago Bears' second-year standout said. "It's just you and the DB on the island, and may the best man win." On this play, it was no contest. Coleman slipped and Bradley turned the completion into a 57-yard touchdown 10 seconds into the final quarter, and the Bears beat the Jets 10-0. "He threw the ball based on where the corner was," Bradley said. "I turned up inside and there was a lot of daylight. The safeties came down and rolled back to the strong side. That's why it was wide open." The Jets blitzed on the play in an attempt to fluster Grossman, but it backfired. "He made a good move," Coleman said of Bradley. "It hurt, but we were still in the game." Well, not really. Chicago (9-1) notched its second shutout this season -- the Bears blanked the Packers at Green Bay on Sept. 10. The Bears, coming off a 38-20 victory over the New York Giants, also became the first road team since the 1999 Washington Redskins to win two straight at the Meadowlands. "New York has been good to us," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Coming here, a tough place to play, and getting two wins is big." Next up is another tough road matchup against New England. "Three weeks ago, we had a three-game stretch that looked pretty tough," Smith said. "Now we're down to one game and we're anxious to play a good New England Patriots team next." Thomas Jones had 121 yards on 23 carries, and Grossman overcame an unproductive first half to go 11 of 22 for 119 yards and a touchdown. "I never felt like we got into a rhythm," Grossman said. "But we didn't let them score, we ran the football well and we are going to win a lot of games doing that."


Bears' Jones appreciating in value - 11/15/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune

Caught on NBC's camera Sunday night, traipsing down the tunnel of Giants Stadium moments after his busiest night as a Bear, running back Thomas Jones revealed how proud he was of what his team had just done. Called it his proudest night as a Bear, in fact. Later in the locker room, Jones turned questions about his big night into praise for his offensive line and spoke more about what the Bears' victory meant to him than how much he had to do with it. If they ever find a statistic to measure intangibles, Jones would be every fantasy football league owner's dream player. "For us to play that well as a team says a lot about our character and a lot about our heart," Jones said. There was no boasting or I-told-you-so's—just the pride that Jones continues to bring quietly to a job that often gets taken for granted in this city. Jones carried the ball 30 times against the Giants, 22 in the most important second half of a Bears regular-season game in years. His 113 yards, his third 100-yard game in the last five, gave Jones 725 this season. At that pace, he will finish with 1,289 yards after gaining 1,335 last year. That two-year total of 2,624 would give Jones the best back-to-back production of any Bears back not named Walter Payton. On the day in 2004 the Bears signed Jones to a four-year, $10 million contract that now looks like a pittance for a franchise running back, the NFL journeyman talked about once buying a pair of tennis shoes just because Payton endorsed them. Who thought Jones would do such a commendable job of following in his idol's footsteps in Chicago? So much focus around town this season, rightfully so, tends to revolve around the development of Rex Grossman or the dominance of Brian Urlacher and his defensive friends. Coach Lovie Smith's unresolved contract status makes good talk-show fodder when callers aren't weighing in on Cedric Benson's mood of the day.

Fantasy Impact: Jones is quietly having a good year and his carries are going up as the season goes on. Good play if you have him or can get him cheap.


They're back: It's a giant step for Rex, Bears - 11/13/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

For, oh, about the first 29 minutes, you had to believe the locals maybe were on to something. They cried all week that the Bears had yet to beat anyone of respectability in winning seven of their first eight games and were a product of a weak schedule waiting to be exposed, rather than a serious contender atop the NFC. Turnovers, big plays and the kind of gaffes that did in the Bears a week ago against Miami looked like they were going to sink them again. Then you saw the kind of resiliency that teams meant to be in the mix two months from now possess. A ground game that looked stuck in the cement here, like Jimmy Hoffa is rumored to be, came to life. A passing game that was supposed to struggle minus its top receiver -- Bernard Berrian is out with injured ribs -- came up with big plays. And any misdeeds Devin Hester had, well, they were wiped out, and he now stands next to teammate Nathan Vasher in the NFL record book. The Bears displayed a little bit of everything in thumping injury-plagued New York 38-20 before 78,641 soaked onlookers at Giants Stadium. The game was the first to go to prime time in the new flexible scheduling system designed to give NBC a riveting contest. The nation saw why the Bears are now 8-1 with a two-game lead in the NFC and a four-game lead in the North, meaning the magic number to clinch is four with seven left. After Rex Grossman threw an interception on his second pass, those who have been clamoring for a quarterback controversy had to be in a frenzy. It set up Brandon Jacobs for a one-yard touchdown plunge, and it looked like the Bears were picking up where they left off last week, falling behind 13-3 and allowing Tiki Barber to rumble for 141 yards. ''It couldn't have started worse for Rex,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. ''But I'm not surprised how he handled it. I'm not worried about his mental toughness. He just hung in there.'' Hung in to throw three touchdown passes and run his record in 16 regular-season starts to 12-4. ''We weathered the storm,'' Grossman said, ''and got into a rhythm and played well. It was fun to see us bounce back from some adversity.'' The stunning blow that will make for water-cooler conversation nationwide came early in the fourth quarter, when Giants coach Tom Coughlin made the ill-fated decision to send kicker Jay Feely out to try a 52-yard field goal in poor conditions. He didn't come close. And as Vasher did a year ago against San Francisco, Hester fielded the punt -- and then the rookie froze for two seconds, lulling the Giants to sleep before breaking down the right sideline and picking up a major block from Hunter Hillenmeyer. He went untouched for 108 yards and a touchdown that put the Bears ahead 31-20. When Thomas Jones scored on a two-yard run minutes later, the blowout was on -- and now the locals will know what to expect when the Bears return here Sunday to face the Jets (5-4), a surprise winner at New England. Jones rushed for 113 yards on 30 carries, and Muhsin Muhammad had 123 receiving yards -- the first time the Bears have had such a duo since 2003. Mark Bradley, filling in for Berrian, had 79 yards on four catches -- none bigger than a 29-yard touchdown catch with 35 seconds left in the first half after Jones broke loose for 26 yards earlier in the drive on a third-and-22 draw. Muhammad and Desmond Clark caught TD passes, and the Bears showed at least the NFC they are for real. ''We proved we could come up here and beat the Giants,'' said defensive end Alex Brown, who sacked Eli Manning twice and forced two fumbles. ''As far as who is the best in the NFC, we already felt like we were.''


Dolphins hand Bears first loss, 31-13 - 11/06/2006

The 1972 Dolphins can breathe a little easier. And once again, they can thank a current Miami team for it. Although Dan Marino was nowhere to be found this time, the Dolphins once again upset Chicago to spoil the Bears' bid for a perfect season. Ronnie Brown rushed for a career-high 157 yards and Jason Taylor forced a fumble and returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown, helping Miami beat Chicago 31-13. Brown carried 29 times and eclipsed his previous career-high set last season against Carolina by 35 yards. Besides losing their first game, the Bears (7-1) saw linebacker Brian Urlacher hurt his foot when he landed awkwardly in a pileup near the end of the game. The severity of the injury was not known. After hearing criticism from the media and members of the 1972 team, these Dolphins had their way with a team that had scored the most points and allowed the fewest. The defense constantly applied pressure as the Dolphins (2-6) snapped a four-game losing streak. "A lot of (media) in this locker room and a lot of people in this country didn't give us a chance," Taylor said. "And I heard some of the crap that was said during the week -- that questioned people's character and everything else. You always want to hand everything with class, but sometimes you can't. People come at you the wrong way, and it's good sometimes to say, 'How do you like me now?"'


This is brutality for the books - 10/30/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

You know a football team has entered a new dimension when viewers can't help wondering before halftime if the slaughter rule applies. With the unbeaten Bears ahead of the San Francisco 49ers 24-0 in the first quarter and then 41-0 at the intermission, on a glorious, sunlit fall day at Soldier Field, the demolition on the grass was almost obscene. ''We were just wondering how it got out of control that fast,'' said dazed and defused 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young. How did the 7-0 Bears come to look like grammar-school boys torturing legless insects? There was the Bears' methodical opening drive that led to a Robbie Gould field goal. There was the 49ers' fumble on the ensuing kickoff, which a minute later led to Thomas Jones' seven-yard rushing touchdown. There was middle linebacker Brian Urlacher's stunning, one-handed interception of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith's pass. There was running back Ced ''May I Please Carry the Bread?'' Benson's one-yard TD plunge. There was tight end Desmond Clark and his two touchdown catches, and quarterback Rex Grossman's scary-good 144.5 first-half passer rating, and great offensive-line blocking, and Jones on his way to 100-plus yards, and ... It was just an over-the-top mismatch, a field mouse against an alley cat. A water balloon against a brick wall. And the Bears did their dirty deeds with a swagger and passion that comes about when a team feels cocky about itself and doesn't care if the world knows it.


Bears pound Niners 41-10, improve to 7-0 - 10/29/2006

Brian Urlacher 's one-handed interception was headed to the highlight reel as soon as he tumbled to the ground after somehow batting the ball to himself. Urlacher's stellar play symbolized what kind of afternoon it was for the refreshed and still unbeaten Chicago Bears -- and how frustrating the day was for the San Francisco 49ers. Wearing bright orange uniforms and showing their speed on defense and special teams, the Bears overwhelmed the 49ers from the outset. They jumped to a 24-0 first-quarter lead and 41-0 halftime cushion before coasting to a 41-10 victory. At 7-0, Chicago is off to its best start since the 1985 Super Bowl champions won their first 12 games. "It was amazing. Twenty-four points in the first quarter? That's pretty impressive, especially in this league. It doesn't happen a lot," said Rex Grossman, who rebounded from his poorest performance to throw three TD passes.


Bear necessity: Play Benson - 10/26/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune

This time, forget about interpreting Cedric Benson's body language. On Wednesday at Halas Hall, Benson's words portrayed a running back as frustrated as he is confused about his role with the Bears. Asked about the promise of increased playing time this week against the San Francisco 49ers that offensive coordinator Ron Turner delivered on the team's weekly radio show Monday night on WBBM-AM 780, Benson revealed how far out of the loop he feels. Either that or he needs to get an AM radio. "If they are planning on it, I wish they could tell me so I could prepare instead of like hoping I can catch the hint," Benson said. "I wish they'd be a little more upfront and more businesslike about the situation. I hope they're not planning on doing something and not telling me." Turner later took responsibility for the failure to inform Benson of the Bears' plan to insert him for the third series against San Francisco. But Turner's valiant effort to protect his player came too late to undo the additional damage Benson had inflicted on his reputation as a moody malcontent. Before taking a swipe at the coaching staff's lack of communication during Wednesday's open locker room, Benson had complained about the difficulties of finding a rhythm with no clear-cut rotation behind starter Thomas Jones. "It's hard to get into one when you're in for a series, out for a couple, in for a couple, out for a quarter," Benson said. He had one carry at Arizona after a season-high 14 against Buffalo. "I have no idea on a week-to-week basis," he said. Coach Lovie Smith, suddenly a friend of the First Amendment, defended Benson's right to express himself. "I'm OK about our players speaking their mind anytime," Smith said. Smith may have taken a tougher stance behind closed doors. Nobody wants to hear a backup running back with 114 career carries whine about playing time on a 6-0 team that leads the league in good karma. The timing threatened to deepen the hole Benson began digging for himself in Chicago during a 36-day holdout his rookie season that gave teammates 16 million reasons to resent him. But buried beneath the me-first mentality that Benson projected Wednesday, he unearthed a salient point. Indeed, it's time to see Benson run. Sunday begins a winnable two-game stretch at Soldier Field that represents the ideal opportunity for the Bears to find out, finally, whether Benson is more cancer or answer. San Francisco ranks 28th in total defense and next-to-last in scoring defense. Miami, the next opponent, is better, but not exactly the second coming of the No-Name Defense. "We've got to get him more involved," Turner acknowledged.


Running game will heat up, Smith says - 10/24/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune

The Bears' running game was a topic of discussion when they were 3-0. It still is after they have run their record to 6-0, even as they are achieving in quantity what they are lacking in quality. Six teams, including the Bears (30.5), are averaging more than 30 carries per game. All but Jacksonville (3-3) are over .500. But the Bears return from their week off as the only one of those teams averaging less than 3.5 yards per carry, and only Arizona and Cleveland, a combined 2-11, have been worse per attempt. In fairness, Thomas Jones is averaging a respectable 3.7 yards per carry and Cedric Benson 3.1. Factoring out nine kneel-downs by Bears quarterbacks at the end of victories, the rushing game is not at the levels of losing teams. Still, eight of the Bears' final 10 games will be played in cold-weather venues, adding to the importance of rushing for more than the Bears' 97.7 yards per game. "In any cold-weather place, you have to be able to run the football," coach Lovie Smith said. "That's a part of what we are, based on what we are being here. We realize where our running game is right now. "We're in the second quarter of our season. This is one of those things I see picking up steam, and we'll get the running game going the next part of our schedule." The anomaly remains that the Bears ran for better yardage last season with rookie quarterback Kyle Orton and a very limited passing game. With Rex Grossman at quarterback, Jones has yet to post a breakout game. Jones had 100 rushing yards in four of the Bears' first six games last season. He has one 100-yard game and one with 98, but the impact games have not happened yet. "Some games we've blown people out and I haven't played the whole game," Jones said. "When you look at a lot of guys in the league, those long runs come in the third and fourth quarters. "A couple times we've had to throw the ball in the fourth quarter to get back in the game, so how the game's going determines a lot of how you run."


Bears' big blemish: No ground game - 10/20/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune

Pretend for a minute the Bears lost Monday night. It's not a huge stretch of the imagination. Rex Grossman gets as much blame for Monday as he got credit for his first five games, deservedly so in both cases. That's what quarterbacks do. They get more credit than they deserve and more blame than they deserve mainly because, well, quarterbacks do deserve a whole lot of credit and a whole lot of blame. There's a reason the Bears won NFL titles as recently as 1946 and 1963 and 1985. They had a quarterback all three times. The middle one, Bill Wade, wasn't as well known or as good as the first one, Sid Luckman, or the last one, Jim McMahon, but he was good enough not to mess things up for the defense that season. In the other 57 years since 1946 that the Bears didn't win, you can notice they did not have a surplus of talent at quarterback. Grossman was alarmingly bad on Monday night. He said he never played that badly and won. Bears fans are hoping he never has played that badly and lost either. But obscured under the pile on top of Grossman is another alarming fact: The Bears couldn't run either. This might be even more alarming than Grossman's awful night of trying to pass. There also is a correlation. Coach Lovie Smith is fond of saying the Bears get off the bus running. The Arizona Cardinals, then 22nd in run defense, didn't believe it and stuffed the Bears, holding them to 34 yards on 16 carries. It was the worst Bears rushing day since Dec. 12, 2004, when Jacksonville held them to 31 yards on 14 carries.


Bears stage unlikely comeback win, 24-23 - 10/17/2006

Six turnovers, 3 points on offense, and somehow the Chicago Bears are still unbeaten. Somehow, some way, the Bears rallied from 20 points down at halftime and escaped with a 24-23 victory in Arizona, leaving the shellshocked Cardinals to ponder yet another excruciating late-game collapse. "Sometimes, when you're a team of destiny, things like that happen," Chicago coach Lovie Smith said. The Bears are off to their best start in 20 years at 6-0. For that, they can thank their defense, punt returner Devin Hester and Arizona kicker Neil Rackers. Rex Grossman gets no credit for this one. "I've never played so bad and won a game like that," said the Bears quarterback, who threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles. "It was unbelievable." Down 20-0 at halftime, Chicago returned two fumbles for touchdowns in the second half. Then Hester returned a punt 83 yards for a score with 2:58 remaining to take the lead. Matt Leinart, who threw two first-quarter touchdowns and finished 24 for 42 for 232 yards, coolly directed Arizona downfield at the finish for a chance to claim a victory that appeared to be the Cardinals' all night.


Arizona return big enough to get Jones talking - 10/12/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Here's a sure sign Thomas Jones' first return to Arizona is important to him: He held court at his locker for 45 minutes Wednesday, handling a wave of reporters eager to chat with him. Jones is a sharp guy who gives well-thought-out answers, but the Bears running back can be more elusive off the field than he is on it. Frequently he'll spend the open-locker-room period watching film in the running-backs room, and if he's not there, it's a good bet he's in the weight room. But a different schedule Wednesday -- there was no practice as coach Lovie Smith pushed the week back by a day to account for a Monday game -- and maybe a little extra motivation to face the team that drafted him in the first round in 2000 had Jones speaking at length. ''I don't care about the Arizona Cardinals,'' he said. ''My past did. I'm a tough person. I try to put my past behind me and move on, and that's what I've done. So it's just another game. I'm excited about playing on 'Monday Night Football' and having the opportunity to be 6-0.'' Jones figures to see an eighth defender in the box plenty, and the Cardinals have a talented player to fill that role in strong safety Adrian Wilson. The 6-3, 230-pound Wilson set an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back last year with eight, surpassing the seven by ex-Bear Dave Duerson in 1986. ''He's like a linebacker,'' Jones said of Wilson. ''He's a big guy. He makes plays. ''They know we're going to run the ball, so they're going to keep an extra guy down there. It's not really something that we haven't seen.'' The Bears' receivers, meanwhile, should see ample man coverage, and not just because Arizona will honor the run. The Cardinals like to use a lot of Cover-3 and Cover-1, which leaves cornerbacks Antrel Rolle and Eric Green in bump-and-run.


Jones sets good example for Benson - 10/10/2006

Football fans in the desert might wonder if they have been out in the sun too long when the Bears arrive for Monday night's game praising running back Thomas Jones, role model. But it's no mirage. Jones left Arizona in 2002 after three seasons labeled as a moody first-round bust with attitude problems. In Chicago he has evolved into an example of professionalism the Bears hope backup Cedric Benson can follow. "Arizona seems like a very long time ago," Jones said after a 109-yard performance in Sunday's 40-7 victory over Buffalo. "I'm a different player and a different person now." That has been obvious in Jones' three seasons in Chicago, a career revival that can encourage Benson if he has any more of those tough moments as a backup he referred to Sunday. Jones was the seventh pick of the 2000 draft, but carried only 362 times for 1,264 yards in 39 games with the Cardinals. Four years later he's the starting running back on a Super Bowl contender. Just as Jones overcame a slower-than-expected NFL start and was unable to displace a veteran, Michael Pittman, before finding his niche, so can Benson.


Jones, Benson keep lid on rivalry - 10/09/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times

It was an afternoon for back pats and butt slaps -- a real Loviefest at the Lakefront. First there was star-crossed running back Cedric Benson diving into the end zone for his first career touchdown, then there was Thomas Jones meeting him on the field with a hug and some kind words. Then there was Jones eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the first time this season and there was Benson slapping his hand and rear end in celebration. Were you just reciprocating, Ced? ''You want to hit me with the big words, huh?'' Benson said with his trademark laugh. This should be a story about sharing. It should be a life lesson for all the kids out there about how egos don't have to collide, people can live together and teams can flourish with everyone getting their chance. That's a great story. It's also something of a fairytale. Maybe Jones and Benson can share the wealth -- but, of course, for that to happen, Benson would have to cut a big check. He's the guy with $16 million guaranteed and that gives the team economic incentive to get him on the field. Jones remains the featured back, but Benson is gaining on him. With nothing better to do while watching the Bears blow out the Bills on Sunday, the mind started to wander wondering not if, but when Benson will get his starting shot. Are dark forces building against Jones? Could he lose his job to Benson for a reason other than injury? While the team is winning? ''That is not even in our thought process,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. ''Thomas is playing well and running well. Cedric is running well. We'll continue to use both of them the way we have.'' The Bears already have replaced one starter, moving rookie Danieal Manning into the free-safety spot ahead of second-year man Chris Harris. Manning is learning on the job, but he brings an added speed dimension that makes the defense better. Does Benson belong on the field ahead of Jones? Is his time coming?


Bears roll over Bills, stay unbeaten - 10/08/2006

Getting a huge boost from their trademark defense, the Bears scored the first five times they had the ball Sunday and ruined the homecoming of former coach Dick Jauron with a 40-7 drubbing of Jauron's Buffalo Bills to go 5-0 for the first time in 20 years. Rex Grossman threw two touchdown passes, Cedric Benson scored his first two NFL touchdowns and the Bears capitalized on five Buffalo turnovers as they piled up their biggest points total since 1993. Suddenly, the team that always counted on its defense to make up for an anemic offense in recent seasons is averaging 31 points a game, outscoring even the high-flying Indianapolis Colts through five games. "That was a fun game," said Grossman, who sat out the fourth quarter after going 15-of-27 for 182 yards and the two touchdowns. "Anytime you execute like that -- offense, defense, special teams -- anytime you play like that, it's so much fun." That was the operative word for Brian Urlacher, too, enjoying his team's newly resurgent offense. "It's fun to watch," he said. "Rex is throwing the ball pretty much wherever he wants to." Robbie Gould aided the cause with four field goals, improving to 17-for-17 for the season, as the Bears ran their scoring margin to an eye-opening 156 points scored and 36 allowed. Jones had his first 100-yard game after rushing for 1,335 a year ago, finishing with 109 yards on 22 carries. Benson ran for 48 yards on 14 attempts. Losman was 14-of-27 for 115 yards and was sacked three times. Willis McGahee, who came in leading the NFL in rushing, was held to 50 yards on 14 carries. Notes: The Bears shut down Buffalo despite having two defensive linemen inactive: Adewale Ogunleye, who was nursing a hamstring injury, and tackle Ian Scott, who wasn't listed as having an injury. ... Berrian entered leading the NFL with three TD catches and four receptions of 40-plus yards, and added one of each. ... Chicago has won its first three home games by a combined 111-20.


Getting Jones going could be Bears' key against Seahawks - 09/30/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times

One quick way for the Bears to discourage Seattle from blitzing them silly like Minnesota did a week ago is to get running back Thomas Jones off and running. Hit just two runs through a side vacated by the blitz, and the Seahawks will rethink their strategy quickly after watching Jones run into the secondary. He has been bottled up so far through three games, with just 181 yards on 60 carries. The workload isn't bad; it puts him on pace for 320 carries -- six more than the career high he established a year ago -- but the production hasn't been there. The passing game has carried the Bears to a 3-0 start, and Jones' matchup with Seattle's second-ranked run defense will be interesting. The Seahawks don't have many household names in their front seven with the exception of linebacker Julian Peterson, but they run, hit and tackle well. The trio of linebackers including Lofa Tatupu, a Pro Bowler as a rookie last season, and Leroy Hill doesn't receive nearly the publicity the Bears' group does, but it is just about as talented.


Bears scold media on Benson coverage - 09/28/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times

Bears coach Lovie Smith went on the offensive Wednesday with a defense of beleaguered running back Cedric Benson, disputing newspaper reports that portrayed last year's No. 4 draft pick as disgruntled after not playing Sunday in the Bears' victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears walked a fine line, hoping to discredit the stories without attracting much attention to them. But a member of the public-relations staff invited a Sun-Times reporter to his office to watch a television replay that showed a smiling Benson congratulating quarterback Rex Grossman after the game-winning pass. Benson slapped Grossman on the chest and leaned into him, grabbing his left arm and saying something. ''There is some inaccurate information coming out of here about Cedric Benson and whether we're disappointed in him and the reasons why he didn't play this past week,'' Smith said before taking questions during a news conference. ''I would just like our fans to know that Cedric Benson practiced very well last week. He's doing everything that we've asked him to do right now. He's a big part of what we're going to do around here. I couldn't be more pleased with how he's handling playing behind a good player in Thomas Jones.''


Heads up, Ced: Stop pouting - 09/27/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times

The first time we saw Cedric Benson in a Bears hat, on draft day last year, he was crying. Crying when he was selected, crying as he walked to the stage, crying on TV. Cedric, it has been 17 months. Time to stop crying. I've been with you most of the way, blaming your troubles earlier this year mostly on coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo and the spot they put you in. But after the Bears' big victory Sunday at Minnesota, as they took one giant step toward becoming legitimate Super Bowl contenders, observers said you moped off the field, presumably dejected over not playing. Here are my thoughts on that: Boo hoo.


Smith explains why Benson didn’t play - 09/26/2006
Source: Daily Herald

Coach Lovie Smith had a simple explanation for failing to get backup running back Cedric Benson on the field for even one play against the Vikings. “We didn’t have a lot of running plays, number one,” Smith said. “Our running game never really got going. We were never into the flow of the game to make that move; it was really as simple as that.” The Bears had just 21 running plays, and three of those were kneel-downs by quarterback Rex Grossman to kill the clock at the end of the game. Thomas Jones got the other 18 carries, and he picked up 54 yards for the same 3.0-yard average that he had entering the game. The Vikings threw a variety of blitzes at the Bears on most of Grossman’s 41 pass attempts, and Jones is adept as a blocker in blitz situations. Benson is not as polished in his ability to protect the quarterback on blitzes, but Smith said that wasn’t why he spent the game as a spectator. “We just wanted our best crew in there at the time,” Smith said. “We didn’t play a lot of receivers (either). For the most part, we kept our number one group in there.”


Bears want to make National statement - 09/26/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times

Mike Holmgren told reporters in Seattle on Monday that he went home the night before, after a victory over the New York Giants, promising himself he would live in the moment and not let his mind wander forward. Alas, the danger presented by the Bears' vaunted defense left the Seahawks coach mulling over Sunday's game at Soldier Field instead of appreciating his team's 3-0 start. It's a nice story. The kind designed to soothe the NFC North-leading Bears in their tireless quest to earn national respect. Bears coach Lovie Smith reiterated his postgame remarks about how the Bears had hoped to match up with Seattle in the NFC title game last season and relished the chance to play the NFC champs as a measuring stick of where the Bears are in their program. If the Bears are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, they will beat a Seahawks team reeling from the news that Shaun Alexander, last year's rushing champion, will miss the game with a cracked bone in his foot. Here's a look at how the Bears can do it:


Vikings' Pat Williams: Coming soon to a backfield near you - 09/26/2006
Source: Star Tribune

Thomas Jones couldn't possibly have seen it coming. Otherwise, he would have ducked. Right? After all, if you saw Pat Williams running at you, his right arm locked and loaded, wouldn't you dive to the turf, safely and happily, with your 2-yard gain? Jones was not so lucky; the Chicago tailback absorbed a brutish clothesline tackle in the fourth quarter Sunday at the Metrodome. Although the Vikings ended the afternoon with a 19-16 loss, the play marked another example of Williams' successful transition to a new defensive scheme that some NFL observers had suggested would not match his strengths. Williams once again is a force along the defensive line, helping the Vikings hold opponents to 87 yards rushing per game -- good for 11th-best in the NFL. He continues to overpower centers and guards, ranking second among Vikings linemen with 13 tackles. And a month before his 34th birthday, Williams even was credited with two quarterback hurries against the Bears. As he prepares for his return Sunday to Buffalo, where he played his first eight seasons, Williams has never played better.


Benson must stop pouting, start finding way to play - 09/26/2006

With one notable exception, Bears players paraded off the Metrodome field Sunday after their 19-16 comeback victory the way one would expect a team to react after such an emotionally satisfying win. But the one exception, Cedric Benson, moped around so obviously that you wondered whether he could become a nuisance in a locker room led by veterans who will not tolerate distractions. The enigmatic running back lagged behind many of his teammates at pace reserved for the injured or weary. Benson was neither, having played not a snap for only the second time in his brief career. Looking at Benson's vacant expression, it was hard to tell if he was a member of the team that had just stolen a game on the road to remain unbeaten or the one that squandered victory. His body language screamed sniff, sniff. The contrast between Benson and his jubilant teammates was so noticeable that coach Lovie Smith, assistant Darryl Drake and team chaplain Harry Swayne separately attempted to raise Benson's spirits on the walk off the field.


Jones carries full load; Benson sits, doesn't stew - 09/25/2006

The Bears' running game has yet to get on track, but the team still has managed to win its first three games. Thomas Jones handled the entire load at running back Sunday, picking up 54 yards on 18 carries for a 3.0 average. His longest run was 17 yards. Jones also caught three passes for 11 yards. Jones has rushed for 181 yards on 60 carries this season. The Vikings' frenzy of blitzing Rex Grossman helped keep Cedric Benson on the bench in favor of Thomas' blocking prowess. So Benson spent the afternoon watching from the sideline, mostly with his helmet off. Benson appeared a bit down, even though he received words of encouragement from receivers coach Darryl Drake and team chaplain Harry Swayne, who hugged Benson and offered encouragement. Coach Lovie Smith also found Benson and talked to him. "He just said we had a good game, and we did," Benson said. "You want to play, naturally, but I see the other side of this too." Said offensive coordinator Ron Turner: "It was just the flow of the game and the way it turned out. I'm not worried about him."


Jones effective, but still looking to break out - 09/24/2006
Source: Daily Southtown

Thomas Jones doesn't find the bottom line appealing, but likes what he sees elsewhere. "We'll run the ball when we need to run the ball," the Bears running back said. "We've been making some pretty good runs, some pretty good plays in the run game. We just haven't had a breakout game we're due to have." The Bears running game remains more threat than reality at this point in the season, with Jones averaging 63.5 yards per game and the Bears 28th in rushing average at 2.8 yards per attempt. "We're putting up a lot of points, we're moving the ball, we're converting third down, we're doing all the things we need to do to be successful," Jones said. The Bears' first two opponents, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, each put eight defenders close to the line whenever the Bears were in what they refer to as their "regular" formation: a tight end, two receivers, a fullback and tailback.


Bears running pass ‘interference’ - 09/22/2006
Source: Daily Herald

At first glance, it might appear the running game isn’t carrying its share of the load this season. The Bears are No. 17 in rushing yards and No. 28 in average gain per run. Last season they were No. 8 and 7, respectively. But upon further review, it’s the threat of the run game that has helped the passing offense become one of the NFL’s best through the first two weeks. All 5 of quarterback Rex Grossman’s touchdown throws have come off play-action passes, where a fake to one of the running backs conflicts the defense and provides a greater comfort zone in which Grossman and his receivers can operate. “We have such a good running game, and hard play-action kind of slows down the pass rush,” Grossman said. “And, if they’re reading run and the linebackers step up a little bit, it creates passing lanes behind them.


Bears' run game resting, not hibernating - 09/19/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times

Yes, the Bears will have to run the ball better as their schedule toughens, but nobody at Halas Hall is panicking over the relative lack of production. Remember, what some people regard as the Bears' weakness so far is still the team's strength in the eyes of coach Lovie Smith. Averaging 2.8 yards per rush, as the Bears have in two games, will not scare anybody. But the Bears' running game has been effective in providing balance—70 runs compared with 56 passes—that has gone a long way toward opening up holes in secondaries still geared to stop the run. With a veteran line that's healthy, it makes sense to assume the holes eventually will open for Thomas Jones once defenses begin adjusting to the Bears' downfield passing game. ... Speaking of Jones, the way he has sacrificed his body to thwart pass-rushers has played no small part in why Rex Grossman has been sacked only once in two games. And it's a big reason why Cedric Benson stays on the bench.


Back in the backfield, Bears tab Jones as starting RB - 09/03/2006

Thomas Jones will start for Chicago Bears at running back, regaining the role he lost before training camp after missing voluntary offseason workouts.

Fantasy Impact: As predicted, Jones will carry the momentum he gained from Benson’s shoulder injury and secure a starting role to begin the season. It’s fair to assume that he’ll share quite a few touches once Benson recovers, but as last season proved, Jones is capable of carrying the brunt of a heavy running game all by himself. He’s set up to have an opportunity for a repeat year, and if he capitalizes on it early, could keep Benson on the sidelines. He makes for a steal in later rounds of your fantasy draft, and riskier owners may want to snag him early as a backup RB.


Bears' RB Jones gets start - 08/23/2006

Chicago Bears running back Thomas Jones will start Friday against the Arizona Cardinals after missing the first two preseason games with a pulled hamstring. "He feels good," coach Lovie Smith said after Wednesday's practice. "He doesn't think he'll be (limited). We don't think he'll be, but we know he's coming off an injury and will keep that under consideration.

Fantasy Impact: Let's see what Jones does with his carries. He'll most likely perform decently and the running back situation will stay as is. However he has a chance to really make it clear that, at the end of the day, he's the face of the Bears running game.


Teammates turn in Benson - 08/22/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times

Bears running back Cedric Benson was back on the practice field Monday wearing an orange quarterbacks jersey -- but no visible marks from the scolding he received from coach Lovie Smith for leaving the sideline Friday during a preseason game against San Diego and skipping the mandatory postgame meeting.

Fantasy Impact: Benson's injury already wasn't helping his chance to secure a starting position at RB. This, surely doesn't help, and it seems that Jones will carry the momentum into getting the majority of touches from Week 1. At the same time, an RBBC is still going to be used in Chicago. All Benson has to do is prove himself when he touches the ball, and all this will be forgotten.


Bears' backs Benson, Jones both back at practice - 08/21/2006

The Chicago Bears on Monday had both of their top two running backs -- Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson -- on the practice field for the first time since training camp began.

Fantasy Impact: Jones is in their getting reps, and now has the momentum going into the season to claim the starting job. Still, it's expected that no matter what both he and Benson will share carries and let performance pan out the rest.


Bears RB Jones practices, status still uncertain - 08/16/2006

The Bears had a familiar figure on the practice field for their final workout before breaking training camp: Thomas Jones.

Fantasy Impact: As long as both Jones and Benson are healthy for Week 1 (and there's a good chance that will happen) it seems that the Bears have committed to running a true RBBC, at least to start the season. Thus, at this point one is not less risky than the other in terms of playing time. Jones proved last season, that when given the ball, he'll perform. We know Benson's potential, but have yet to see any of it unfold to the point where he should gradually take away from Jones' half of the carries. Jones is recovering on schedule, and he should try to pick up where he left off last season at the start of Week 1.


Shoulder loads: Benson out 2-3 weeks - 08/08/2006

Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson said Tuesday that his sprained left shoulder is no worse than the team originally thought and expects to miss two to three weeks.

Fantasy Impact: Ced was riding on Thomas Jones sitting out during training camp for his chance to start. Now that he's out too, the running back situation in Chicago becomes incredibly ambiguous


Determined Ced looks to put Jones to bed - 07/30/2006
Source: chicago sun times

Looking down as he pondered the question for nearly 20 seconds, Bears running back Cedric Benson's mind raced back over the last 12 months.

Fantasy Impact: Cedric Benson looks more and more like he'll take the starting role in Chicago


For starters, Jones wants his job back - 07/28/2006
Source: chicago sun times

Thomas Jones broke a half-year of silence Thursday after the beginning of the Bears' running back competition was grounded.

Fantasy Impact: We'll soon know just who will be counted on to produce for Chicago, but Jones becomes riskier with his injury and recent progressions by Benson


Starters Jones, Briggs off to a bad start - 07/27/2006
Source: chicago sun times

If there were any lingering questions as to whether "voluntary'' means "mandatory'' when it comes to the Bears' offseason program, they should be gone now.

Fantasy Impact: No fantasy impact yet, the situation stays the same and we'll wait and see.


Bears to rotate Benson, Jones, Peterson at RB in camp - 07/26/2006

Who's going to line up as the Bears' starting tailback in Thursday's first practice?

Fantasy Impact: No fantasy impact yet, the situation stays the same and we'll wait and see.

  Rushing Receiving Fumbles
Year Team G Att Yds YPA YPG TD 100+
Yd G
Rec Yds YPR YPG YAC 1st
TD 100+
Yd G
Fum Fum
2004 CHI 14 240 948 4 67.7 7 0 56 427 7.6 30.5 7 16 0 0 2 1
2005 CHI 15 314 1335 4.3 89 9 5 26 143 5.5 9.5 7 6 0 0 2 2
  Rushing Receiving Fumbles
Week Opp Att Yds YPA YPG TD 100+
Yd G
Rec Yds YPR YPG YAC 1st
TD 100+
Yd G
Fum Fum
1@TEN 21 63 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2NWE 21 64 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3@BUF 18 54 3 0 0 0 3 11 3.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4IND 24 98 4.1 0 2 0 2 9 4.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5@JAC 22 109 5 0 0 1 4 13 3.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6MIA 11 39 3.5 0 0 0 3 14 4.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7DET 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8@CLE 23 111 4.8 0 1 1 4 23 5.8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10@NWE 30 113 3.8 0 1 1 3 10 3.3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
11CHI 23 121 5.3 0 0 1 2 1 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
12HOU 23 99 4.3 0 0 0 1 -2 -2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
13@GNB 12 32 2.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
14BUF 11 76 6.9 0 1 0 2 26 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15@MIN 17 68 4 0 1 0 3 16 5.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16@MIA 12 62 5.2 0 0 0 2 10 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
17OAK 9 27 3 0 0 0 1 -3 -3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2006To Date 296 1210 4.1 75.6 6 4 36 154 4.3 9.6 0 0 0 0 1 1


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