I decided to do a countdown to the Chicago Bears season opener on September 8th versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Thanks to one of my followers on Twitter @Beneiserle, I decided to combine the countdown with a roster preview of sorts.
We’re Earl Bennett days away from kickoff! Do you remember when Earl was arguably the top receiver on the Bears roster? That seems like ages ago and the Bears have almost totally revamped their wide receiving corp in the meantime. Bennett enters his sixth season out of Vanderbilt with unreached potential. In his time with the Bears, Bennett 153 catches for just over 2000 yards and 8 touchdowns.
If any Bears player stands to benefit from Marc Trestman and his new offense, I think it’s Bennett. I expect him to flourish in the slot and pick up some of the catches that Brandon Marshall horded last season. Bennett and Cutler share a close connection from their days together at Vandy, so there is a chemistry with the quarterback that only Brandon Marshall seems to exceed.
A lot of people think the Bears need a Wes Welker type to work the middle of the field. Bennett should be that guy. He’s got great hands and enough speed to be effective in the slot. Being cast in the right role, among weapons like Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett will make Earl that much more of a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
The big question is whether Bennett will pick up the offense quickly enough to contribute. Don’t forget that Bennett basically red shirted his rookie season and couldn’t get on the field because he couldn’t master the playbook. If he can grasp Marc Trestman’s voluminous offense, expect big things from Bennett is 2013.
There are a ton of other notable wide receivers with #80 in Bears history including Brandon Lloyd, Bernard Berrian, Dez White and Curtis Conway. Sounds like a laundry list of unfulfilled potential if you ask me.