Bears' Bennett reaches out to Royal
Rick Stewart/Getty ImagesEarl Bennett hopes to emulate the success Eddie Royal had working out of the slot with Denver in 2008.
All three, plus Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, were together in Denver during the 2008 season when Royal hauled in 91 receptions for 980 yards as the secondary option in the Broncos passing game behind Marshall, who posted a career best 104 catches the very same year.
While it's unlikely the Bears will run the same exact offense Cutler used in Denver, there are expected to be plenty of similarities, which could mean increased productivity for fifth-year wide receiver Earl Bennett. In fact, Bennett and Royal have a friendship that dates back to when the two players met at the 2008 rookie premiere event in Los Angeles.
So when it came time to master the new Bears offense, it was a no-brainer for Bennett to pick up the phone and reached out to Royal for extra guidance.
"I picked his brain about this offense and the role of the slot guy and also playing outside," Bennett said Wednesday. "Both of us play the position pretty much the same way. We both have the same fundamentals, get in and out our routes the same way and have good body control. Eddie is probably a little quicker than I am but there are definitely similarities between the two of us. He's one of the guys I call and ask about the plays and he helps me out with that.'
"We watch tape and I see what Eddie did right and what Eddie did wrong in the offense when he played. I just want to come out, stay focused, make plays and learn from what he and Brandon Stokley did in this offense."
According to Bennett, the design of the Bears' offense makes it possible for more than just one receiver to put up sizeable numbers in the passing game. Bennett's best NFL year to date came in 2009, Cutler's first season in Chicago, when he grabbed 54 passes for 717 yards. If he stays healthy - which has been an issue for Bennett in the past - the wideout could set career marks as a compliment to Marshall.
"We might have three or four 1,000 yard receivers in this offense," Bennett said. "It's a player friendly offense. If we have any advice on certain routes or certain plays the coaches listen, not to say they're going to change it, but they listen. They take our input and Cutler has played in this offense so he has a real good grasp on it. Everybody knows what's going on, you can play fast and just make plays.'
"I have a pretty good grasp on the offense. It's been beaten in my head over and over again during OTAs, minicamp and the other offseason workouts we had before we could come out on the field. It's been installed like three times so when we get back to training camp it'll be installed again. To have that many reps of the offensive playbook already at this point, it really helps out a lot."