EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Following a two-touchdown performance, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said he felt disrespected by New York Jets coach Rex Ryan leading up to Chicago's 27-19 Monday night victory at MetLife Stadium.
"Today I felt a little disrespected," Bennett told reporters in the postgame locker room. "We [the Bears] played a highlight video, and in the highlight video, Rex is talking about [how the Bears] have monsters on the outside with [receivers] Brandon [Marshall] and Alshon [Jeffery], and he was like, 'Oh, yeah, the tight end is a big dude.'
"I feel like when he talks about me he should talk about me with enthusiasm as well. He was just kind of monotone when he mentioned me. I was kind of [upset] about that. I feel like when somebody talks about me they should use some enthusiasm.
"So I came out clicking. I was too jittery in the beginning trying to make a whole lot of plays, and I missed some balls here and there. But I kind of calmed down in the second half and got back to normal."
Bennett voiced his objections to the coach's comments when the two men briefly spoke during pregame warm-ups.
"Before the game, I told him the next time he mentioned me he should use some enthusiasm," Bennett said. "He just kind of laughed it off."
A sore ankle limited Marshall to one reception for 6 yards, but Bennett (five catches for 54 yards and two scores) and Jeffery (eight receptions for 105 yards) picked up the slack in the passing attack.
After three weeks, Bennett leads the Bears with 20 catches for 161 yards and four touchdowns, one touchdown shy of his previous career high, set in 2012 and 2013.
"I'm a lot better player than I was last year," Bennett said. "Last year I wasn't that good. I was all right, but this summer I took a whole lot of time to work on my game. Last year was really my second year of being 'the guy,' and I was really still learning how to play football. I feel like right now I'm very intelligent on the field with my preparation and things like that. So the game is getting a lot easier because I know the offense better and what is expected of me. I also know what Jay [Cutler] wants. This is the second year with Jay, so more than anything else, it's getting where I'm supposed to be when he wants me to be there.
"I feel like my teammates are great, but you have to respect my game as well. I'm not just a spare tire that you throw on a car. My tread is just like the other tires. I'm rolling just like them. I just feel like it's a little lack of respect for me as a tight end in the NFL. They always talk about these other guys all around the league, so it's kind of like a chip on my shoulder when I go out there and play because they never really mention me. But that's how it is sometimes. A lot of people who are geniuses, they really didn't realize it until they were dead."