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Bennett shines in first camp practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 26, 2013 – 3:23 pm

One of the Bears’ key offseason acquisitions made an impressive debut Friday in Bourbonnais.

Veteran tight end Martellus Bennett caught several passes in the team’s first training camp practice, something he did routinely last season with the New York Giants when he established career highs with 55 receptions, 626 yards and five touchdowns.

“I thought he had a good day,” said coach Marc Trestman. “We moved the ball around with him. We used him in the middle of the field. We threw the ball to him on some outside lanes.”

“I expect the ball every single play probably like every receiver in the game does,” Bennett said. “Every single play I think I’m going to get it. So I run every route expecting [the quarterback] to throw it to me. And then when I come back I always tell [the quarterback] I’m open.”

Bennett started all 16 games for the Giants last season after serving as Jason Witten’s backup for four years with the Dallas Cowboys. The 6-6, 265-pounder told reporters Friday that he’s “super excited” about the role he anticipates filling on the Bears offense this season.

“I’ve been working very hard with my routes and on my skill work outside and inside with the receivers, and the coaches have been doing a great job with me,” Bennett said. “Coach Trestman has been telling me all the things he expects from me so I can prepare for it.”

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Bears hope to get Bennett the ball

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 1, 2012 – 2:01 pm

As they prepare to play their first NFL game in Nashville after starring together at Vanderbilt, Jay Cutler would like to get Earl Bennett more involved in the Bears offense.

After missing two games with a hand injury, Bennett caught three passes for 27 yards in a win over the Lions and had three receptions for 47 yards in last Sunday’s victory over the Panthers.

“I have a comfort level with him, so when he is out there I know he is going to get open if he’s one-on-one,” Cutler said. “He knows where he is supposed to be. It’s nice having him back out there and hopefully we can get him more involved whether it’s in the slot or outside.

“With the coverages we’re seeing with everyone rolling over the top of [Brandon Marshall], it’s opening some other lanes in the running game and for the other receivers. Other guys have to pick up and they’re going to for us.”

Bennett helped the offense awaken from a slumber last Sunday, catching passes of 24 and 11 yards on the final two plays of the third quarter. He also had a 12-yard reception on the Bears’ last possession to help set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning 41-yard field goal as time expired.

“[Bennett] was the reason things shifted for us on Sunday; making two big first-down catches really got us going,” Marshall said. “We definitely need to get him involved, and he’s healthy now so I’m expecting to see a lot of Earl. He’ll definitely open things up for us.”

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Bears offense finishes with a flurry

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 6, 2012 – 8:29 pm

Jay Cutler and the rest of the Bears’ No. 1 offense ended Monday’s practice with a flourish, engineering an impressive two-minute drill that resulted in a touchdown.

Starting at his own 35-yard line with no timeouts, Cutler completed passes to Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall before spiking the ball to kill the clock at the 9. After an eight-yard pass to Kyle Adams, Cutler snapped the ball and plowed into the end zone behind his offensive line for a TD.

“We’ve been trying to finish practice in that last period a little bit better,” said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. “I felt like in the first two weeks we only had one practice where we finished the last period good. It felt like the two-minute drill today, we finished practice better than we have.”

The well-executed two-minute drill came after Cutler had thrown three interceptions in a lengthy red-zone drill. He was picked off by linebackers Lance Briggs and Nick Roach and nickel back D.J. Moore.

Asked later about the Bears defense, Cutler said: “They’re good. They’re very sound. They’re well coached. They’re in the right spot all the time and they make plays on the ball. For the three years that I’ve gone against them, there’s no let-up in this crew. It makes us better and I think some of the things that we’re doing offensively challenges them a little bit as well.”

The No. 2 offense also scored a touchdown in its two-minute drill as quarterback Jason Campbell connected on passes to Armando Allen, Joe Anderson, Brittan Golden and Chris Summers.

After Craig Steltz broke up a pass intended for Evan Rodriguez near the goal line, Campbell completed a 12-yard pass to Anderson on fourth-and-five from the 17. Three plays later Campbell rifled a 5-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Allen.

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Bennett comfortable flying under radar

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 2, 2012 – 2:19 pm

When Bears receivers are discussed, all the talk seemingly centers around Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall, speedy playmaker Devin Hester and promising rookie Alshon Jeffery.

Although Earl Bennett is an afterthought to some, the productive fifth-year pro is comfortable flying under the radar.

“It’s fine with me,” Bennett said. “My thing is to go out and do my job to the best of my ability, continue to go out and compete at a high level and just make plays. That’s what it comes down to.”

There isn’t a more dependable receiver on the Bears roster than Bennett, who has converted all 17 of his third-down receptions into first downs since Week 9 of the 2010 season.

“He’s underappreciated by a lot of people because he’s very consistent,” said receivers coach Darryl Drake. “He does what everybody wants him to do, but I don’t think he will get overlooked in this offense. He’s an integral part, a big part because he does all the subtle things, all the little things.”

Bennett has enjoyed working with first-year coordinator Mike Tice.

“I like how he creates mismatches for guys to be able to succeed,” Bennett said. “This offense is very explosive, and that’s what we want to be as an offense.

“You’ve got the speedster [Hester] and the big guy [Marshall] outside who create a lot of mismatches and attention, and there’s me inside in the slot or outside. I’m just doing what I do best, just getting open and catching the ball.”

With all the weapons the Bears possess on offense, Bennett is excited about the possibilities.

“The sky’s the limit,” he said. “Right now in training camp we’re trying to put all the pieces to the puzzle together. We look good on paper, but we’ve just got to continue to put it together.”

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