Bennett Being Overshadowed
WR Earl Bennett (Patrick McDermott/Getty)
WR Earl Bennett (Patrick McDermott/Getty)
Special to BearReport.com
Posted Aug 29, 2011


Bears fourth-year receiver has been the most consistent pass catcher on the team up to this point. Plus Johnny Knox's role in the offense, Lance Briggs' contract, Lance Louis and more.

With all the commotion caused by the Roy Williams vs. Johnny Knox competition at wide receiver, Earl Bennett's performance has been overshadowed, but he might be the most productive member of the group.

Bennett led all receivers with six catches for 89 yards against the Titans, and no teammate is close to his 10 catches or 154 receiving yards in the preseason.

He goes back a long way with quarterback Jay Cutler, who was already entrenched as the starter at Vanderbilt when Bennett was a freshman who caught 75 passes.

"I've known Earl for a long time," Cutler said. "Earl hasn't changed one iota since his freshman year at Vandy and probably never will. I just feel comfortable with him out there. He just does what he's supposed to do. He's just a football player. We need more of those in the locker room."


WR Johnny Knox
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire

--Quarterback Jay Cutler believes that wide receiver Johnny Knox will have a significant impact on the offense whether he's in the starting lineup or not. He's currently playing behind Roy Williams.

"I've talked to Johnny, and I think he's OK," Cutler said. "He understands what's going on. I think Johnny is confident enough in his abilities and his status on this team that he's not that worried.

"We know what Johnny can do out there. He's going to be a guy who's going to come in there and provide valuable minutes and make big catches for us. I don't think anyone in this building is really concerned about Johnny and his ability to play in this offense or his ability to play on Sundays."

PLAYER NOTES

--RG Lance Louis, who struggled in the season opener, has gotten better in each of the next two weeks. He was especially impressive pulling in front of RB Matt Forte in Saturday's third preseason game.

--LT J'Marcus Webb hasn't allowed a sack in either of the last two games after getting beat for a pair in the opener.

--WR Earl Bennett has quietly caught 10 passes for 154 yards, easily the best marks on the team, and he is one of very few players who have not had a problem with drops in the preseason.

--WR Roy Williams finally caught his first preseason pass. He had two receptions in the third game, but let a catchable ball over the middle bounce off his hands for an interception.

--WR Johnny Knox, playing behind Roy Williams for no apparent reason after leading the team in receiving yards with 960 last season, has four catches for 53 yards.

--K Robbie Gould, the fifth-most-accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history, missed a 29-yarder Saturday night but later connected from 45 and 52 yards. Gould is just 5-for-9 in the preseason.

--LB Lance Briggs says he wants a contract extension before next season. He has three years remaining on a six-year, $36 million deal.


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