Bennett sees new offense helping receivers
May, 15, 2013
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesEarl Bennett said the Bears' new offense will benefit receivers by moving them around.Like the vast majority of his teammates, Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett expressed optimism about the club's new staff, and the possibilities of the offense under head coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.
Bennett called the entire new coaching staff "player-friendly," and the offensive system a scheme in which "you never know who's going to have 10 to 15 catches (in) a game," adding that "it could be multiple receivers in one game have 10 to 15 catches."
"This offense, actually, it moves everybody around," Bennett said Wednesday on ESPN 1000's "Carmen and Jurko Show." "So you're not just stuck in one spot. I won't be just primarily a slot guy. I'll be all over the place, and that's what I love about this offense: You never know where you're gonna be. You just have to know what's going on and understand the whole play. I think it's gonna be great for me."
Second among the club's receivers in catches last season (29, which was 89 fewer receptions than leader Brandon Marshall), Bennett experienced somewhat of a down year in 2012 as the veteran missed four games because of injuries before finishing the season with a 109-yard performance in the season finale at Detroit.
Bennett said the new offense gives virtually every receiver "an opportunity to really have a breakout year," and added that "it's just up to you taking advantage of your opportunities when they come."
Bennett expects a breakout season for second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery, whom he said "has gotten a lot better," and also believes that former Vanderbilt teammate Jay Cutler is poised for a strong 2013 campaign after a mediocre 2012.
Entering the final year of his contract, Cutler hasn't completed at least 60 percent of his passes since 2010. Over the past two seasons, Cutler has thrown 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, in addition to suffering 61 sacks.
"I think Jay is gonna have a great year," Bennett said. "He's getting the system down just like everybody else. He's going out to practice, working hard, and working on fundamentals. I don't feel like he necessarily feels like he needs to prove something. But he's that type of player that each year he wants to continue to get better. You can see his work ethic in the weight room and on the field, and his attention to detail. So I feel like this will be a great year for Jay."
As for himself, Bennett wants to erase 2012, which he described as "a rough year." He's missed nine games over the past two seasons due to injuries. Bennett caught 100 passes overall in 2009 and '10, but over the past two years he's hauled in just 53 balls.
"This year I'm focused on making sure, most importantly, that I stay healthy," Bennett said, "and just going out, playing hard, and just giving it all that I've got."