Chicago Bears: Martellus Bennett

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Martellus Bennett never hears his name mentioned among the NFL’s top tight ends.

So with the Chicago Bears' goal of making the postseason out of reach with three games remaining, Bennett finds motivation in proving he belongs among the game’s elite at the tight end position.

“I sit back every week and hear everybody talking about the top tight ends in the game,” Bennett said. “Every single week they never mention my name or they talk about all these other guys. So anytime I go out, I just try to outperform every tight end in the league and show them that I am elite, and I’m one of the best in the league. I think I’ve been playing that way most of the year.”

The numbers certainly reflect that.

Having caught 77 passes for 821 yards to go with six touchdowns, Bennett achieved career highs in each of those categories with three games remaining. Bennett ranked sixth among tight ends in Pro Bowl voting back in November.

Bennett ranked ninth in the NFL in receptions (77) headed into Monday’s games and first among tight ends. His 821 yards rank No. 3 among NFL tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski and former Bear Greg Olsen.

“There are some things I could’ve done better, some things I want to do better, a lot of work to do to become the player I want to become,” Bennett said. “But ultimately, I’m happy with my progression. Coaches have been doing a great job. Players have been helping me out. I’ve been very studious about my approach to the game and my personal game plan within the coaches’ game plan of how I plan on getting open and things like that. I’m excited about the things I’ve been able to do this season. I’ve been playing hard.”
Let’s kick off today’s spin around the Chicago Bears beat with colleague Melissa Isaacson’s thorough piece about the Twitter harassment Marc Trestman’s daughters were subjected to during and after the team’s 55-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

For all you Twitter thugs out there, Illinois is one of about 30 states currently with cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

So please, let's stop the Twitter tough-guy act. Isaacson writes:
All you had to do was walk through the Bears' locker room Wednesday to confirm that. Talking about their own personal brushes with threats and harassment, players made it clear they are exposed to this sort of a thing on a stunningly routine basis.

"People have told me I have to leave Twitter because my Twitter was filled with people saying they were going to kill me," Bears safety Chris Conte said almost casually. "But you have to understand it's all talk...

"Social media is not reality. It's just a space where people voice what they say in their living rooms -- people still talking the same mess and junk in their living rooms before, but they push a button and nobody knows who said it."

Of course, the ease of such morally corrupt and perhaps criminal behavior is at the crux of the issue as flippant cruelty dominates digital comment sections and message boards across all genres these days.

Bears tight end Martellus Bennett claimed he doesn't care what people say about him on social media sites. But he still shakes his head at the absurdity of much of it.

"Say if we lost a game yesterday and I go have lunch with my daughter and post a picture; it's, 'You suck, why are you having lunch with your daughter?'" he said.

Bennett said that similar to many players' wives, his wife got off social media because she was tired of the harassment.

"Me, it's cool," he said. "This is what I do for a living. You're not happy with my performance, you paid for a ticket, you can say what you want to say. But you don't have a right to attack people's families, their kids. What did they have to do with it?"
  • It’s time for the Bears to rebuild confidence, writes Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.
  • The Tribune's David Haugh takes a look at Jay Cutler’s suddenly uncertain future. Haugh writes:
  • But can everybody really change? Six seasons into his Bears tenure, Cutler's actions defy his words. His inability to change from the same maddening quarterback he was the day he arrived in 2009 has helped turn a promising 2014 season into a study in regression.

    Blame for a 3-6 record spreads to every corner of the Bears locker room, but a significant portion sits in front of No. 6's stall because, fair or not, that's the way it works for NFL quarterbacks. Even Cutler accepts that. Forget the gaudy passing statistics; Cutler has committed 15 turnovers. He has been inconsistent enough to consider benching, if the Bears had a backup worthy of starting. With due respect to Jimmy Clausen, they don't.

  • The Bears don’t have answers for what has transpired this season writes Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Here are the Sun-Times’ picks for Sunday’s game.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears held out Martellus Bennett from Friday’s practice due to a rib injury, and the club officially listed the tight end as questionable on the final injury report headed into Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

“We’ll see. We really don’t know right now,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “He’s been inside getting treatment. We’re hopeful he’ll play.”

Bennett suffered the injury during practice on Wednesday when “he twisted a little bit,” according to Trestman, who called the incident “kind of awkward on the practice field.”

If Bennett isn’t able to play against the Packers, the Bears will utilize veteran Dante Rosario in the starting lineup.

“These things happen,” Trestman said. “We’ve got a lot of faith in Dante and the things that he can do. We know the value that Marty has. We’re not underestimating that at all. We’re going to do the best we can. We’re not going to make excuses.”

Bennett currently ranks second among NFL tight ends in catches (47) and second on the team. He is also second on the team in receiving yardage (563) and is tied for the team lead with five touchdown receptions.

Bennett comes off a six-catch performance against the New England Patriots.

In other injury news, the Bears officially declared left guard Matt Slauson (torn pectoral muscle) out for Sunday along with linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring).

Linebackers Jon Bostic (back) and Lance Briggs (ribs) are probable, along with cornerback Kyle Fuller (hand), safety Danny McCray (knee) and right tackle Jordan Mills (foot).
There’s no better way to kick off our look around the Bears beat with this piece by’s David Fleming, who spent the bye week with tight end Martellus Bennett as he put the finishing touches on his animated movie “Zoovie”.

 Bennett told me he spent his bye week working on the film, which he hopes to enter in some upcoming festivals.

While most of the piece chronicles Bennett’s creative process, the tight end does talk a little football. When he does, Bennett drops a money quote about the importance of Sunday’s game at Green Bay. With the Bears sitting at 3-5, Bennett knows there’s the possibility some of his teammates have given up on the season.

"There are guys, and I've seen it, there are guys in this situation [on other teams], and coaches too, who are already packing it in and shutting it down and already in offseason mode, like, 'What beach or what club or what golf course am I going to?' That's why the Packers game will tell us a lot,” Bennett said. “That's what I want to see: Who's coming back with that mentality that we could still make the playoffs, and who's already packed it in and already thinking about partying and hitting the club in the offseason?"

By the way, Bennett says in the piece he’s fully planning on the Bears advancing to the playoffs.

If you get a minute, take a look at the piece because it’s definitely worth a read to get an idea of what makes Bennett click.

--’s Jon Greenberg isn’t confident about the team’s chances Sunday at Green Bay with Jay Cutler at the helm. Can’t say I blame him.

Greenberg writes: As you might be able to infer, I'm not too positive about these Bears' chances this week. I don't buy the hype about a post-bye-week revival. That's typical NFL empty blather. Nothing has changed for this team. If it finishes 8-8, consider that an accomplishment.

With a game against the hated Packers on tap, there's more buzz in Chicago about Joe Maddon buying shots and Blackhawks fans buying Winter Classic jerseys.

Who can blame us? How could anyone be confident with Cutler starting in Green Bay?

The Bears are 1-9 against the Packers with Cutler as the starter -- including the NFC championship loss he couldn't finish -- thanks in part to his 20 interceptions and slapdash play. In three games at Lambeau Field, all losses, he's completed 48 percent of his passes for 571 yards, two touchdowns and 10 picks.

-- Matt Forte says talk is cheap,’s Jeff Dickerson takes writes.

-- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune chronicles Brandon Marshall’s brief session with the media on Thursday at Halas Hall.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears added tight end Martellus Bennett to their short list of injuries heading into Sunday’s game at Green Bay.

Bennett was limited for Thursday’s practice inside the Walter Payton Center due to rib soreness, but his status for Sunday’s game isn’t in jeopardy. The team conducted practice at its indoor facility Thursday because of high winds posing a potential safety threat for the video staff filming practice from lifts.

“So we did that today and we went inside, did a two-minute period today to start practice,” Trestman said Thursday. “It was a competitive two-minute, and then we worked on third down and here we are. So we had a good, brisk workout today. Very competitive. Guys worked extremely hard today as they always do.”

The team held out guard Eben Britton (appendectomy) and linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring).

Full participants for the workout Thursday included linebackers Jon Bostic (back) and Lance Briggs (ribs), cornerback Kyle Fuller (hand), safety Danny McCray (knee) and right tackle Jordan Mills (foot).

Rapid Reaction: Chicago Bears

October, 26, 2014
Oct 26

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few thoughts on the Chicago Bears' 51-23 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium:

What it means: The margin of error continues to shrink for the Bears, who fell yet another game further behind in the NFC North race with Sunday's stomping at the hands of the Patriots. The Bears have lost four of their last five outings, and what's worse is they entered Sunday's game already two games behind the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Good thing the Bears receive Week 9 off to rest and regroup.

Stock watch: It's time Bears coach Marc Trestman takes a larger share in the accountability, and from this vantage point, his stock is falling dramatically. Sure, the turnovers committed by Jay Cutler that played a major role in the Bears losing four games going into Sunday weren't the coach's fault. But Trestman certainly is responsible for preparing his team, and the Bears weren't ready to play in this contest.

After the team's emotional loss to the Miami Dolphins, Trestman insisted throughout the week that his team had moved past all the negativity coming out of it. As the man responsible for regrouping the team and helping it to navigate through difficulties, Trestman doesn't seem to be getting the job done. At this point, there should be real concern as to whether the team is beginning to tune out Trestman because it certainly didn't respond to the challenge posed by the Patriots.

Bennett comes alive: We hadn't heard in a while from tight end Martellus Bennett, who hadn't caught a touchdown pass since Week 3 against the New York Jets. After essentially destroying the team's opening drive with a holding penalty, Bennett was one of the few bright spots on offense, catching six passes for 95 yards and a difficult 20-yard touchdown he yanked down just as he fell to the turf. Bennett hauled in six of the seven passes thrown his way.

Game ball: Matt Forte continues to serve as the club's only consistently dependable option on offense. He averaged 6 yards per attempt through the first three quarters, in which he rushed for 96 yards, and caught six passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Forte put together just his second 100-yard rushing performance (114) of the season.

What's next: The Bears don't play next week. They will take time off while the coaching staff does a critical self-evaluation of the Bears in all phases, and there's a good chance plenty of changes will be made schematically when the team finally heads back to Halas Hall for practice. The Bears won't play again until Nov. 9 at Green Bay.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Before getting into thick of the Chicago Bears' next matchup at the Carolina Panthers, let's first take a look at the team's first-quarter report card after a 2-2 start:


Jay Cutler has completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. He's shown more discipline and better command of the offense, but costly turnovers have been an issue. If Cutler maintains his current level of efficiency, he'll set a career high in passer rating for the second consecutive season. Cutler currently ranks third in completions (102), ninth in yards (1,006) and is tied for second in touchdowns, and his passer rating is currently 94.7. Grade: B

Running back

Matt Forte finally broke through for his first 100-yard rushing performance against the Green Bay Packers and is currently tied for eighth in rushing yards (258), first in receptions at his position (24) and third in yards from scrimmage (452). Rookie Ka'Deem Carey is becoming more of a factor in the offense as well, and the Bears have employed formations that feature both backs in the game at the same time. Both backs average at least 4 yards per attempt. Grade: B+

Offensive line

Injuries in the season opener to center Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson gave cause for concern, but their replacements Brian de la Puente and Michael Ola have performed well. The group has given up eight sacks through the first four games. According to Pro Football Focus, every offensive lineman graded positively in run blocking against the Packers. Grade: B-

[+] EnlargeMartellus Bennett
David Banks/Getty ImagesThe offseason work tight end Martellus Bennett put in is paying off for the Bears.
Tight end

Martellus Bennett ranks second in catches (29th) among tight ends, fourth in yards (295) and is tied for second in touchdown receptions (four). Bennett put in the work during the offseason to prepare for a more significant role, and he appears to have developed a strong rapport with Cutler. Bennett has scored a touchdown in all but one game, while averaging 7.25 receptions. Grade: A


Injuries have led to slow starts for Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, who have combined for 36 receptions and six touchdowns through four games. But the duo is gradually getting back to full speed. The club's complementary targets such as Santonio Holmes and Josh Morgan haven't received many opportunities to showcase their talent, but they're plenty capable. Grade: B-

Defensive line

The Bears revamped the defensive line in the offseason with the additions of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young in addition to drafting Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton. But the group certainly hasn't met expectations as the Bears rank 20th against the run while contributing just eight sacks (linebacker Shea McClellin is responsible for a sack as well). For the Bears to gain any level of consistency on defense with the style they play, the defensive line needs to step up its game, shut down the run and pressure the quarterback. Grade: D


The Bears are tied for fourth in the league in takeaways (eight), and rookie Kyle Fuller deserves credit for his team-high- three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Fuller became the only NFL player in the past 20 years with three interceptions and two forced fumbles in the first three games of the season. Obviously, Charles Tillman's season-ending triceps injury hurts the position. But the Bears are in decent shape with Fuller and Tim Jennings. The Bears need better play from the nickel corner spot. Grade: B-


Chris Conte gave up 46 yards on two catches and a touchdown against the Packers and missed a couple of tackles but for the most part has performed well (two interceptions). Ryan Mundy has been a solid run defender, and provided one of the team's takeaways with his pick-six Sept. 22 against the New York Jets. Overall, the safeties still need to play a little better. But they've been much more consistent than they were in 2013. Grade: C+


Shea McClellin entered the season as the starter on the strong side but has been on the shelf recently with a broken hand. Perhaps that's somewhat of a blessing in disguise as it has enabled the Bears to upgrade the overall athleticism of the starting lineup by replacing McClellin with Jonathan Bostic. The group lacks consistency in terms of gap integrity and pass coverage but is tracking positively. Grade: C-


Coach Marc Trestman caught heat for the club's clock management in the second quarter to Green Bay, and you have to admit the Bears committed a few unnecessary penalties in the defeat, not to mention the thrown challenge flag that resulted in a lost timeout. Trestman deserves credit for suspending Bennett during training camp, because the move resulted in a positive change for the tight end. And you can't deny this Bears team did manage to pull together back-to-back road wins against strong opponents. Grade: C+


The consecutive road wins at San Francisco and New York followed by the stinker at home against Green Bay point to a lack of consistency in every facet of the game, and while injuries at key positions have been an issue, Chicago's situation plays out every week all over the league. So there are no excuses here. Ultimately, the Bears will be in decent shape in the second half of the season if they can finish the second quarter headed into the bye with a record of .500 or better.
CHICAGO -- An examination of what the Chicago Bears must do after their 23-20 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills: Coach Marc Trestman defended Jay Cutler in the aftermath of the quarterback’s two interceptions Sunday that led to points.

But if the Bears expect to succeed against San Francisco on the road Sunday night, the coach needs to administer some tough love to his $126 million quarterback behind closed doors, in addition to preparing potential replacements along the offensive line and at receiver as contingency plans for injuries, while cracking the whip on the club’s porous run defense.

That’s quite a bit to accomplish in three days of prep time, but Trestman and the staff need to cover as much ground as possible.

“As I told the guys, it’s continuity football,” Trestman said. “It’s all about team. All three phases are involved in this game. We’ve got to accept responsibility, and that starts with me.”

The Bears turned the ball over three times, leading to 13 points, and the Bills needed to move the ball a total of 58 yards to put those points on the board. That's too easy for Buffalo; too hard on Chicago’s embattled defense.

Cutler’s INTs came on a pass thrown behind Martellus Bennett, while the other throw to the tight end -- which was picked off by defensive tackle Kyle Williams -- should never have been attempted. It’s one thing to try to make a play. But in crucial situations, smart football rules the day.

Had Cutler simply thrown it away instead of forcing the throw on his second INT, the Bears would have had one more down to try to win the game. Trestman also could have helped Cutler on the second INT, which came on third-and-1 in the fourth quarter in Buffalo territory, by making a better play call like a simple run as opposed to the bootleg, which exposes the quarterback to potential punishment, not to mention turnovers.

Trestman and the offensive staff also need to prepare potential replacements for Roberto Garza, Matt Slauson and Alshon Jeffery to take on more significant roles if the trio is forced to miss time.

Defensively, the Bears gave up 193 yards on the ground, including Fred Jackson’s 38-yard burst that set up the game-winning field goal. Take away Jackson’s 38-yard run and Anthony Dixon’s 47-yard jaunt, and the Bears would have surrendered 108 yards on 31 attempts. That’s still too much.

“We didn’t play disciplined football for four quarters, and it hurt us,” defensive end Lamarr Houston said. “We were in a good position to get them stopped, but once again, we lacked in the discipline area. We have to do our jobs, know our jobs, and just play disciplined football.”

That applies in all three phases.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears reeled off more than 400 yards of offense and converted 42 percent on third down, yet they came up short in overtime 23-20 against the Buffalo Bills, in part because Jay Cutler continues to be Jay Cutler.

The Bears entered the game Sunday with an offense expected to be one of the league’s best, due to its performance in 2013, yet finished the day stymied -- not only by the Bills but also by themselves -- in front of the home crowd at Soldier Field. With the score tied at 17 and 8:01 remaining, Cutler tossed his second interception while attempting to make a dangerous throw back left against his body to Martellus Bennett while on the move running right to elude the rush.

"I was just trying to get it inside to Marty," Cutler said. "Third-and-1 there. I should have just thrown it away."

Instead, the quarterback played a role in throwing away the entire game with the interception. Signed to a seven-year contract worth $126 million in January after a promising 2013 campaign, Cutler continues to make puzzling decisions in games. His inconsistency leads to doubt about whether he'll ever shed the label of enigma by making smart moves with the ball while limiting turnovers in crucial situations.

Yet Bears coach Marc Trestman defended the quarterback Sunday when asked whether Cutler, now in his sixth season with Bears, should now be past making such damaging decisions in critical situations.

"To be able to make those kinds of statements after being out there in the heat, those are tough," Trestman said. "There's a lot of reasons these plays come up, and I think I'm gonna leave it at that."

Cutler's second interception was picked off by Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams. The Bills turned that into a Dan Carpenter field goal to go ahead 20-17.

“We rolled up a lot of yards,” Cutler said. “Turnovers hurt us. Penalties hurt us. We just kept stubbing our toe on certain things throughout the game.”

By doing so, the unit basically slammed the embattled defense’s head against a wall. Of Buffalo’s 23 points on the afternoon, 13 came as the result of Bears turnovers. The Bills needed to move the ball a grand total of 58 yards after the turnovers to put those points on the board.

Chicago’s defense definitely deserves criticism for surrendering Fred Jackson’s 38-yard run in overtime that set up Carpenter’s game-winning field goal. But prior to OT, the Bills feasted on two turnovers in Chicago territory. The final one, Williams’ pick, occurred on the Buffalo 34. A horse-collar tackle tacked onto the end of the return gave Buffalo possession at its own 48 with 7:52 left in regulation.

“Going into games like this, you can talk about a lot of different things,” Trestman said. “But when you have drives and you turn the ball over three times and you wind up being minus-2 in the plus-minus department, you get all the answers you need.”

That naturally leads to continued questions regarding Cutler, whose two picks led to 10 Bills points.

“You guys are going to be as negative as possible,” Cutler said postgame. “We understand that. We made mistakes today.”

Brandon Marshall contributed with a fumble recovered by Preston Brown in the second quarter. That turnover led to points, too.

Cutler’s first pick came on an errant throw to Bennett. But the tight end took responsibility for not looking for the ball sooner, though it was actually thrown behind him.

Of Cutler's second interception, “I don’t know what happened on that s---,” Bennett said. “The fat guy got a pick.”

Still, this one came down to turnovers with Cutler leading the way.

"I would rather save that for tomorrow," Tresman said of Cutler's interceptions. "We all saw them out there. I think the tape will show there were times he tried to make a couple things happen, and that's part of what makes him special. I know we're all disappointed from an offensive standpoint with the three turnovers and two interceptions."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The NFLRank project kicked off Day 2 on Tuesday as ESPN ranked the top 100 players on offense and defense, with No. 83 for the Chicago Bears making the cut at No. 82 on the list.

In the grouping of players ranked from Nos. 81 through 90, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was the only player at the position to make the cut, registering one spot above Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris, and one slot below San Francisco offensive tackle Anthony Davis.

None of Chicago’s defensive players was ranked between 81 through 100, but more than likely some Bears are coming up.

Bennett tied for seventh in receptions (65) last season, ninth in receiving yardage (759) and 11th in touchdowns (5) among tight ends.

Surely, the gregarious Bennett won’t like where he falls in this year’s rankings. But hey, there’s always next season.

Quarterback Jay Cutler became the first player to make the list on Monday, cracking the top 100 at No. 93.
The Chicago Bears announced on Friday they have placed tight end Zach Miller, who suffered a foot injury during the second quarter of the club’s win Thursday night over the Jacksonville Jaguars, on the injured reserve while signing receiver Kofi Hughes to a one-year contract.

The severity of Miller’s injury wasn’t immediately disclosed, as he was visiting a doctor Friday undergoing an MRI exam and a CT scan as the club made the announcement.

Despite the setback, Miller was still in good spirits.

Signed by the Bears last December, Miller put together a strong showing at training camp and caught six passes for 68 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the club’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. That performance led to increased repetitions for the fifth-year veteran, as the club began to experiment more with two-tight end formations which featured Martellus Bennett and Miller.

“We’ll see what happens,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “You guys saw him out at practice. He had an excellent camp. Things transitioned from the practice field to the games over the last couple of weeks. That was clear. We were certainly excited about what we saw.”

Backup quarterback Jordan Palmer, who played with Miller in Jacksonville in 2012, called the tight end’s situation “heartbreaking.”

“There weren’t a lot of opportunities early, but when he got those opportunities, he made the most of them,” Palmer said after Thursday’s game. “Goes in the game last week and has six catches and two touchdowns, and we’re riding high. He’s so confident. And then to get one of those injuries; it's not a work ethic injury. It’s not that he’s out of shape or has bad technique. It’s just a total bad luck injury.”

Miller played in 29 games over his first two years in the NFL (2009-10), but since 2011, he’s participated in just four contests as injuries continue to keep him sidelined. Miller hasn’t been a part of an active roster since 2011. He spent 2012 on the injured reserve in Jacksonville, and in 2013, Miller worked with Tampa Bay in the offseason, but was waived prior to the start of the regular season.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears announced nine players won’t suit up for their matchup Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Soldier Field.

The list includes receivers Marquess Wilson and Chris Williams, safeties Craig Steltz and Chris Conte, cornerback Isaiah Frey, center Brian de la Puente, guard Jordan Mills, tight end Dante Rosario and defensive end Willie Young.

Wilson is expected to miss time in the regular season due to a fractured collarbone, while Williams is sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Steltz and Conte came off the physically unable to perform list on Sunday, and it’s likely the staff wants the duo to take in more practice time before participating in a preseason outing.

Frey, meanwhile, is nursing a strained hamstring while de la Puente is sidelined with a sprained MCL.

The staff continues to exercise caution with Mills, who underwent surgery in January on a fractured metatarsal in his left foot.

Rosario was held out of practice Tuesday due to what Bears coach Marc Trestman called calf soreness.

It’s unknown why the Bears plan to hold out Young.

Bears Camp Report: Day 14

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
BOURBONAIS, Ill. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Chicago Bears training camp:
  • The Bears broke training camp Tuesday in cool, rainy conditions at Olivet Nazarene University, but the club plans to spend one more day on campus going through meetings and walk-throughs in preparation for Thursday’s matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It seems like we just got here, and now we’ve got one more day of walk-throughs and we’re moving back, 48 hours until game time,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “It was a very good camp. I told them after practice I thought we did a great job of focusing when we need to focus on our work. I think you saw that, for those of you who have been here every day.”
  • The Bears held out Chris Williams (hamstring), Eben Britton (hamstring), Jordan Mills (foot), Marquess Wilson (collarbone), Isaiah Frey (hamstring) and Dante Rosario (calf). Charles Tillman and Jeremiah Ratliff were given the day off to rest.
  • Since returning from a strained quadriceps, veteran cornerback Tim Jennings has worked exclusively at the nickel corner spot. Prior to the injury, Jennings had been working outside opposite Tillman when the Bears played their base defense, before kicking inside when the team ran nickel. Now Jennings is taking reps solely as the nickel.
  • Marisa Buchheit, otherwise known as Miss Illinois 2014, visited the sideline at camp and took pictures with several spectators, and even some with members of the media.
  • Safety Chris Conte slipped while dropping into coverage, allowing room for the offense to hit a pass down the seam. Immediately after the play, several in the crowd began to continuously heckle and ridicule the safety. One teammate stood up and screamed “shut up” to the spectators.
  • Obviously, Conte’s struggles in 2013 are well documented. But he certainly wasn’t deserving of the ruthless ridicule, especially considering several players slipped on the wet grass during Tuesday’s workout.
  • On the subject of Conte, it’s still unknown whether he’ll play Thursday against the Jaguars.

“I’m gonna leave that up to the trainers. I’m hoping he can [play], but I can’t say that right now,” Trestman said. “We’ll wait and see.”
  • Conte came off the club’s physically unable to perform list on Sunday and has practiced every day since.
  • At the conclusion of the final workout of training camp, team officials wheeled the bicycles ridden around campus by the players and coaches onto the field to give away to some of the kids in attendance. The Bears have done this for the past several years.
  • Tight end Martellus Bennett spent several minutes after practice playing catch with a young boy visiting camp. After they played catch, the boy walked off the field carrying Bennett’s helmet.
CHICAGO -- Martellus Bennett’s absence at Soldier Field for Friday’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles was expected, given that he’d missed two practices and a walk-through session leading into the contest.

The question now is when Bennett will be allowed to rejoin his teammates.

Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery have said Bennett needs to go through “a process” before he can return. But how long does this process last? Chicago receives the day off after Friday’s game and returns Sunday to the practice fields at Olivet Nazarene University.

If Bennett remains a no-show when the team returns to camp, it would seem to indicate the transgressions the tight end is being punished for are deeper than we’ve all speculated. Multiple sources believed Bennett’s suspension was a result of an accumulation of incidents, with his fight with rookie Kyle Fuller being simply the latest.

Putting it lightly, the two sources described the tight end as difficult. But would Emery and Trestman potentially sacrifice the cohesiveness of the offense this season to make a point? That’s not to say Bennett shouldn’t be disciplined. He should be. But the Bears also need to be mindful that Bennett’s punishment -- depending on how this plays out -- could wind up turning into a negative situation if not handled properly.

The bottom line is the Bears need Bennett back in the fold as quickly as possible as they work to improve on what last year was one of the best offenses in the NFL.

The preseason opener against the Eagles would have been a good time to bring back Bennett, even if the club’s intention was that he didn’t participate in the game.

Bears Camp Report: Day 11

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Chicago Bears training camp:
  • The battle for the No. 2 tight end spot is intensifying with all the candidates receiving more repetitions because of Martellus Bennett’s indefinite suspension, and there’s a chance incumbent Dante Rosario could be unseated.

    Zach Miller and Matthew Mulligan appear to be making the strongest pushes for the spot, but Jeron Mastrud has impressed, too.

    “We have way more depth than we did last year,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “We have blockers. We have receivers. We have some combination guys at the F position, which is usually the second TE coming into the game.”

    Mulligan is perhaps the best blocker, while Miller seems to be the team’s best receiving tight end outside of Bennett. With the heat bearing down from the competition, Rosario has picked up his game, too.
  • The Bears started out practice wearing shoulder pads, but took them off at the conclusion of the first full team drill. With the club just two days from opening the preseason against Philadelphia, coach Marc Trestman wanted “to get a Friday tempo before a Sunday game.”

    “We kept the pads on early to get through individual, and we had a run-game emphasis early on,” he said. “We wanted the guys to be padded up in the shoulders just to protect themselves and be able to pick up the tempo, and then we took the pads off to lighten the load a little bit.”
  • Not to be confused with former Bear Sam Hurd, receiver Greg Herd, who was signed on Monday night has been assigned No. 81. The Bears signed Herd to add at receiver after Marquess Wilson suffered a fractured clavicle. The Bears waived linebacker Conor O’Neill in a corresponding roster move.
  • Guard Kyle Long (ankle), cornerback Isaiah Frey (hamstring), tackle Jordan Mills (foot), guard Eben Britton (hamstring), cornerback Tim Jennings (quadriceps) and safeties Craig Steltz (groin) and Chris Conte (shoulder) were held out of practice. Conte and Steltz remain on the physically unable to perform list. Defensive end Jared Allen has missed the past two workouts and is excused to handle a family matter.
  • Chris Williams spent time Wednesday taking snaps with the first-team offense as the slot receiver.
  • Trestman ran sprints at the conclusion of practice with Alshon Jeffery, Josh Bellamy and Herd.
  • Trestman doesn’t anticipate the starters receiving much playing time in the exhibition opener against the Eagles.

    “We haven’t sat down to talk about it,” he said. “I’m open minded to hear what our coaches have to say. Sometimes it’s [determined] more on a player-by-player basis than it is the group itself, and we’ll make a decision sometime before we play.”