Bennett Rookie Diary: 10th Entry

Earl Bennett's primary season in the NFL took a hit Sunday, as he was not among the 45 active players for the Chicago Bears in Week 1. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett writes about upsetting the Colts in the season opener and what he learned watching from the sideline Sunday.

What a great game. It was really exciting having the opportunity to go into the new stadium in Indianapolis and come away with the win.

I know a lot has been said and written about how most people didn't think we had a chance to beat the Colts, but for the most part we just ignored all of that. The important thing is that we went out and did our jobs.

I've been asked since the game if a win like this last one is any more satisfying since nobody expected that result. I'd say no, not really. As a professional, any time you are on the field you expect to come out on top. All of us – the coaches, the players – are anticipating victory. That's what we've been working so hard to achieve.

It's interesting to me, though to read what is said about the team. We're weak on this, we can't do that – supposedly. But I think we've been confident in our abilities since the first day of camp.

I'm most familiar with the offense, of course, and from what I'd been seeing since last March, I felt that there was a tremendous drive and ability among the players here. And from what I've noticed when playing against our defense, there is just as much pride and ability on that side of the ball. We were confident, and we went to Indianapolis to win. Maybe we were better than expected, but I don't think we'll be underestimated like that again.

Being in the new stadium was really something. That place is huge, and the noise level was pretty loud. Although we practiced last week with our own noise making machines, it still was difficult to hear on the sidelines or on the field. I never played in their old stadium, but I can't imagine that the noise could have been any worse there.

The fact that we had so few penalties indicated just how well we were coached. If your play isn't disrupted by that kind of distraction, then things are going pretty well.

I was inactive for this game, which certainly was a disappointment but it was also something I understood. This is not about me- it's about the team. And if the coaches felt I had more to learn before getting the opportunity to be out there, then that's fine. It tells me that I need to continue to improve myself until I am considered ready.

When you are inactive during a game, you still get the opportunity to learn. That's what I did. I stood on the sidelines and watched every play. I was looking at the routes and where the ball was thrown. Also, I studied the defense and how they reacted to various situations. It's a surprisingly good education.


WR Earl Bennett
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Rashied Davis plays pretty much the position I would if I were in, so he was the one I concentrated on most. I liked the overall varied approach of spreading the receivers and alternating the running and passing game. The more you can change things around the better. It seemed to throw the Colts off pretty early on. Kyle did a great job getting to his receivers. The backs, the O-line and tight ends were outstanding.

We celebrated for a while after we got out of Indy, but once we had settled into the plane on our flight home, we all realized that our jobs weren't done – we have to do the same thing all over again next week. But still it was a really good feeling while it lasted.

The Carolina Panthers are next for us. They're a tough team, as you could see from their road-trip victory last weekend. I'd say we're confident, but that we also know a lot of effort has to be put in between now and when we get to the airport for our trip south. We'll be working on film and going through our plays between now and Saturday.

I hope to get into this next game, but if not I'm OK. There's plenty of time left in the season, and if I have to learn right now from the sidelines, that's a role I am willing to accept.

Earl Bennett writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for BearReport.com.


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