Whispers from around the NFL

Heavy on compliments for RB Thomas Jones and light on praise of rookie Cedric Benson, head coach Lovie Smith might be tipping his hand on the Bears' RB picture. Jones, a weight-room maniac who does everything he can to stay in shape, remains a step ahead of Benson in terms of conditioning and experience. We hear Jones has been motivated further by media speculation that a knee injury suffered against Cleveland on Oct. 9 might end his run as a starter.

• Ravens observers have yet to see RB Jamal Lewis show the burst he did during his stellar 2003 season, and some wonder whether he'll ever find that form again.

• The Broncos' Lenny Walls has handled his demotion from the starting lineup to the No. 4 cornerback well. His rare size (6-foot-4) will attract suitors when he hits the open market next offseason, but the fact he was displaced by two rookies (Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth) won't help his cause.