Bennett's injury further depletes WR corps
December, 2, 2012
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
David Banks/Getty ImagesEarl Bennett suffered a concussion, perhaps on this play, and it could be costly for the Bears.CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears' depth at wide receiver took another hit on Sunday when Earl Bennett suffered a concussion that could result in him sitting out the club's divisional game next weekend at Minnesota.
After Bennett left the game at halftime, the Bears were down three receivers, since Devin Hester (concussion) and Alshon Jeffery (knee) were both inactive. That forced Eric Weems and Dane Sanzenbacher to assume a larger role on offense, although Weems had just one catch for 18 yards while Sanzenbacher wasn't even targeted a single time by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Brandon Marshall led the team with 10 catches for 165 yards on 14 targets.
"We got to be ready to play and that is why we are here," Sanzebacher said. "They only keep six receivers on the roster and every one of us can play. We just need to contribute when plays come our way."
Weems believes the duo can compliment Marshall in the event the Bears are down a couple of bodies at the position. Weems and Sanzenbacher have combined to catch three passes for 34 yards on the season.
"We're confident enough," Weems said. "It just has to be the next man up. That's why we practice, so other guys can get reps. We just have to be ready. It's tough losing anybody that's a starter but that's why we practice. It's a tough game and guys get injuries all the time. We just have to move forward with it."
Bears head coach Lovie Smith said during the week that Hester's concussion could sideline him for "a while", but Hester was at Soldier Field for the game on Sunday, a clear sign that his situation is improving. Hester is also scheduled to make a public appearance on Tuesday on behalf of the NFL's Play 60 campaign. As of Sunday evening, that appearance had not been cancelled.
But while Hester's status remains a mystery, Jeffery is making strides towards returning to the field, perhaps as early as next week. The Bears gave a timetable of 2-4 weeks for Jeffery to recover from a minor knee scope he underwent two days after their loss in San Francisco. The rookie did some running on Saturday and even ran some routes half-speed during pregame warmups on Sunday.