Martz says Bennett has 'done a remarkable job'
By Bob LeGere |
The numbers aren't great, but Earl Bennett has impressed offensive coordinator Mike Martz as the slot receiver in the Bears' three-WR formations, which will make it difficult for Devin Aromashodu to get back on the field.
Despite missing the first game, Bennett is fourth on the team with 8 receptions, although they've totaled just 50 yards for a 6.3-yard average. That doesn't tell the entire story, though, according to Martz, who was unhappy with Aromashodu's play in the slot in the opener.
"He really does so many things for us. I'm really pleased," Martz said. "I thought he was a good player, but he's even better than I thought. He's really done a remarkable job for us, just a terrific job."
Bennett was a starter last year and finished second on the team with 54 catches and 717 receiving yards, but he missed the entire preseason this year with a hamstring injury that left him playing catch-up and with little opportunity to impress the new offensive coordinator.
"Everybody's talked about what a good player he is," Martz said. "Jay (Cutler) kept saying, 'He's a good player, coach.' But he was injured and didn't get any reps and made mistakes out here.
"So I didn't really have a whole lot to go on. And then, when he came back and he was ready to go, he instantly performed well. He didn't ease into it. He was good from the get-go."
Almost perfect: Mike Martz and Jay Cutler have clicked from the get-go, but the quarterback says he sometimes gets a play call from the offensive coordinator that gives him pause.
"There've been a few where I don't really care for (them)," Cutler said. "There've been a few that I absolutely loved. That's just kind of how the game goes. If you ask Mike after he goes back through it, I'm sure he doesn't really love every single call that he makes, but he's doing a great job of giving us opportunities to make plays, and whenever we need a big call, he's making some of the good ones for us."
Told that Cutler was a bit taken aback by some of his play calls, Martz was more amused than surprised.
"He's not the first guy to say that," Martz said. "I have talked to him. We're pretty aggressive, and he'll get used to that. I think he enjoys the challenge of it.
"That's the mindset we're trying to create. We want to attack people and just go after them."
The hunted: As the only undefeated team in the NFC and one of just three in the NFL, the Bears are no longer flying under the radar.
"Now we're not going to really sneak up on many people," tight end Greg Olsen said. "Everyone wants to be that first team to beat the undefeated. So we have to come out and be willing to take everyone's best shot. I think Sunday that that's pretty much going to be the way it goes."