Chicago Bears Training Camp Profile: Earl Bennett
In all likelihood, Chicago Bears offensive-minded head coach Marc Trestman will run some form of the traditional West Coast Offense. What that translates to for Bears receivers are lots of quick routes and yards after the catch. One receiver on the roster, besides Brandon Marshall, that possesses the ability to make tough grabs in traffic and a willingness to go over the middle is Earl Bennett.
A third-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Bennett appears to have the greatest boom-or-bust potential out of the Bears’ current crop of receivers. Going into training camp, it’s possible that Bennett could easily claim the second receiver spot opposite Marshall, or he could fall out of favor with the current offensive staff and find himself cut from the roster. Working for Bennett in his quest to start at receiver for the Bears is the fact that he played with Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt University. With a familiarity with the signal caller, one would assume the rapport between receiver and quarterback would’ve resulted in instant success. That, however, hasn’t been the case for Bennett, who has shown flashes of brilliance; overall, the duos on-the-field production has been spotty at best.
Over his five years in the league, Bennett has averaged 30 receptions per season for an average of 406 yards. Those aren’t the numbers of a no. 2 receiver. Although, part of Bennett’s lack of consistent production has been due to less-than-stellar offensive line protection for Cutler in the pocket, as well as multiple offensive coordinators that the Bears have had on staff in recent years. These issues may have contributed to Bennett’s lack of past production; however, going into training camp, the five-year veteran needs to show that he is by far the second best receiver on the roster. If not, he might not enter the season on the roster.