When the Chicago Bears acquired Brandon Marshall in the off-season, the thought were that the other skill positions would blossom now that they are not the focal point of the passing attack. So far this season, the Bears second best receiver has been rookie Alshon Jeffery, who won’t be available for Sunday night big match-up against the Houston Texans.
Six catches, and 41 yards is the stats from other receivers outside Marshall from this past game against the Tennessee Titans. If the Bears want to survive this second half tough schedule, they will need to get better contributions from Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, and tight end Kellen Davis.
Of all the receivers this year, the most disappointing of them all has been Bennett, who has been Jay Cutler’s most reliable target since 2009. From watching Bennett this season, it looks a lot like he’s still trying to get use to his role as a number two primary WR. Before Marshall got here, Bennett didn’t have the stats, but his clear understanding of the position and awareness on the field made him a trusted target.
For Bennett, it’s simply him understanding his role on the team. No longer does he has to carry the whole burden for the WR position. Bennett needs to go back to being that reliable WR out the slot position.
The thought was that Davis would have a breakout season this year for various reasons. He’s no longer in Mike Martz system that puts a strangle hold on pass catching TE’s. Another reason is that the presence of Marshall would give Davis the opportunity down the seams to make big plays.
So far this season that hasn’t been the case for Davis, who fumbled opportunities to become a consistent play-maker in the offense. The plays are there for Davis to make, but whenever he’s given that opportunity, it often resulted in a drop ball or miscommunication between him and Cutler.
Bottom line, the Bears will need help from their complementary WR’s heading into their tough part of the schedule. Marshall has been blazing through team’s secondary’s all season, but the Bears offense has the potential to be dangerous if Cutler has four or more targets he can rely on.
The Bears need Bennett, Hester, and Davis to pick their games up and it starts this Sunday night against the Texans.