Bennett avoids connecting the dots
December, 21, 2011
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett tries not to tie together his new contract, which included $9 million guaranteed, Jay Cutler's absence and his lack of production over last month.
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesSince Jay Cutler's injury, Earl Bennett has caught just three passes in four games 30 yards.
It's difficult not to do, though, when looking at the raw statistics.
"I don't really look at my production. My biggest thing is just to get on the field, and if I'm open and the ball comes my way, just catch it," Bennett said. "That's all I can do; go out there and run the play called, be quarterback friendly, and be where I'm supposed to be."
After missing five games from Sept. 25 through Oct. 23 because of a torso injury sustained in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints, Bennett returned on Nov. 17, when the team downed Philadelphia 30-24.
In those first three outings after returning to the lineup, Bennett caught 14 passes for 251 yards, hauling in three passes for 75 yards in the Nov. 20 win over the San Diego Chargers in which Cutler fractured his right thumb. Since then, Bennett has caught just three passes in four games 30 yards, including the first zero-catch performance of his career in a loss to Denver on Dec. 11.
Bennett's current four-game stretch is the worst of his three-year career. Quickly developing chemistry with new quarterback Josh McCown seems to be the only way Bennett will weather the drought.
"You've got to get as many passes [in practice] as possible," Bennett said. "Chemistry is big. For a lot of people like Green Bay, they live off of it. You see Aaron Rodgers] and those guys are big on chemistry. We've got to get the chemistry down with him, stay with him after practice, and just continue to work on it."
Time's running out.