Sanzenbacher emerging as reliable target

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
1:13
PM ET
[+] EnlargeDane Sanzenbacher
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDane Sanzenbacher leads the Bears with two touchdown catches and is tied for second with nine receptions.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears' offense would be in much better shape if more players were as prepared and disciplined as undrafted rookie free agent receiver Dane Sanzenbacher.

Through three regular season games, Sanzenbacher leads the Bears with two touchdown catches, and is tied for second with nine receptions. Not bad production from a player who had to fight to earn a roster spot during training camp.

The Bears clearly think highly of Sanzenbacher, who was the only player the team made available to the media on Monday following a 27-17 home loss to the arch-rival Green Bay Packers.

"Through training camp everything is just being thrown at you," Sanzenbacher said. "You're trying to absorb all of it at the same time and put it onto the field. As you get into the season and game-planning for teams more, the playbook kind of shrinks for that week, and it becomes more of a technical thing. Your head isn't spinning as much. You're really studying the opponent as opposed to learning your own offense."

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler clearly trusts Sanzenbacher, which probably can't be said for the several of the other receivers. Sanzenbacher has proven he knows where to be, when to be there, and how to catch the football, that he's emerged as one of the Cutler's favorite targets now that Earl Bennett is out for the next few weeks with a torso injury.

"It's a league, it's a business where you have to take advantage of your opportunities when your number is called," Sanzenbacher said. "They expect you to make the play. The one thing that's been great about being here and this coaching staff is if they put you on the field they trust you can make those plays. So you can't really second-guess yourself when you're out there.

"When you are targeted, you got to catch the ball."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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