Chicago Bears: It's Time to Recognize the Value of Earl Bennett

Todd ThorstensonAnalyst INovember 9, 2011

Here's a news flash for everyone: Chicago Bears WR Earl Bennett is good.

Prior to the game against the Eagles on Monday night, I said that Bennett was hands down the best receiver on this Bears team—and after his performance against a solid Philly defense, I feel even better about my proclamation.

Bennett was about as clutch as any Bears receiver in recent memory, routinely coming up with big catches in third-down situations to sustain scoring drives, as well as hauling in the go-ahead touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter.

If it wasn't already evident, it certainly is now: Earl Bennett is Jay Cutler's go-to guy.

Cutler absolutely loves Bennett and doesn't hesitate to say so. 

He has repeatedly commented on the trust that he has in his receiver and about how Bennett has a good feel for the game.  They have a well-known connection that dates back to their Vanderbilt days, and it shows on the field.

Bennett does several things well, including his ability to get open—something several of the Bears receivers seem to have trouble with.  He just has a knack for finding the opening in the defense, and Cutler knows that, which is why he repeatedly looks for Bennett in big situations.

He also has the best hands of any receiver on the team and is better than advertised in yards after the catch.  He is not the fastest guy in the world, but he is elusive and runs tough; not to mention, he is an above-average blocker from the receiver position.


Right now Matt Forte is the focal point of this Bears offense, and that's why Bennett's return is so important.  If Bennett can continue to be a force, he not only helps out Cutler, but he also takes some of the heat off of the do-it-all Forte.

Bennett is probably not going to be a perennial Pro Bowler, but he does have the talent and the determination to be very dangerous in this league. 

Who knows what kind of damage he could do if he ever has the chance to play with another top-notch receiver?

To be truly effective, he probably needs that No. 1 receiver that the Bears currently don't have.  If he played in the slot alongside a true No. 1, he could put up some pretty impressive numbers.

Regardless, Bennett is just one of those guys that every team needs in order to be successful.  And, for the Bears to be successful, they definitely need him. 

If you don't believe me, just ask Jay Cutler.