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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Jay Cutler will miss Earl Bennett this week

By Kevin Seifert

We've been through a number of reasons why the Chicago Bears need to rebalance their offense away from the passing game. Here's another: Receiver Earl Bennett, the Bears' most reliable pass-catcher, isn't expected to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers because of an undisclosed torso injury.

ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson has the details.

Bennett's history with quarterback Jay Cutler has been well-established, and the injury leaves Cutler throwing to a decimated group of pass-catchers. Receiver Roy Williams missed last week's game against the New Orleans Saints because of a groin injury, and his status is uncertain for Sunday's matchup with the Packers.

With Bennett sidelined, undrafted rookie Dane Sanzenbacher will see increased playing time in the slot. The Bears' two healthy veteran receivers are Johnny Knox and Devin Hester, who combined to catch three of the 15 passes Cutler threw their way against the Saints.

Meanwhile, even Cutler on Wednesday seemed to endorse a rebalancing of the offense. After taking more than a dozen hits Sunday against the Saints, including one to the throat that has him speaking in a near-whisper this week, Cutler was asked by Chicago-area reporters if he could make it through a season's worth of similar punishment.

"I don't know," Cutler responded. He added: "If this continues, obviously we're going to have a problem."