Bennett Rookie Diary: 15th Entry

Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett is starting to get a little more playing time as the season wears on, although mostly on special teams so far. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett writes about that see-saw game against the Vikings and heading back to Nashville for homecoming.

What a great game against the Vikings. It was exciting to be out there and almost as exciting to watch the action from the sideline.

Each game is a unique situation, and that probably was as clear as it ever could be Sunday. The pace was incredible, all the going back and forth between two strong teams.

As I mentioned in my diary last week, this is a game we wanted to win badly for a variety of reasons. It's good to go into bye week on a roll and with positive feelings. You want to have that time off to savor the good things, not to worry about what you could have or should have done to get a win.

Minnesota came here with the reputation for having a very strong defense. Their reputation was such that many thought this might turn out to be more of a low-scoring defensive contest. To have it turn out with a score of 48-41 just goes to show that you never know exactly what will happen from one week to the next in this league.

We had very intense practices all week once we were made aware of the injuries on our defense. It was clear that it would be up to our offense to get points on the board. What I liked was the number of options that we were able to use – there was a variety of receivers spreading the field.

We also prepared for the pace of this game. Because it was an intense rivalry, we felt that emotions would be running pretty high. That tends to speed things up somewhat on the field during a game. You need to pay close attention to what is going on to be ready and react quickly.

Personally, I was happy to get a little more playing time Sunday. Each time that I am out there, it is more comfortable. I realize that as a rookie it takes quite a while to fully relax during a game, but I do feel that I am making progress on that.


WR Earl Bennett
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I know that I have a lot of work left to do. I need to work on my routes. I need to be able to read the defense better. I can do better on special teams. I am OK with my speed as it is now, but I realize that I could use improvement as the season goes on.

I learned so much while I was standing on the sideline, just watching what our offense was doing on every snap. The communication between our players was impressive. That's so important, but particularly at the wide receiver position.

Marty Booker and Rashied Davis really demonstrated just how important it is for a wide receiver to understand the quarterback. You really need to know where the ball will be thrown without stopping and looking for it first. Kyle Orton's play was amazing with those passes in heavy coverage. With Kyle, the ball just seems to be in the right place at the right time, and both Rashied and Marty took advantage of that.

Our tight ends, Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark, were impressive throughout the game, and Matt Forte was always right in there. The Vikings were tough on our running game, but Matt never gave up. That's why things went well today. The more weapons on the offensive side of the ball, the better things turn out.

Physically I am feeling fine, but I am looking forward to the upcoming break. The veterans have told me repeatedly of the importance of pacing yourself during rookie year. It's a lot longer season than any of us have seen in college. That is why the timing of the bye week is perfect. It will help give the guys who are injured extra time to heal, and it will let the younger players catch a little rest.

I'm heading down to Vanderbilt to see my college buddies and watch the homecoming game, but other than that I plan to take it easy and be ready when we begin practice. It's been an exciting and an unpredictable season so far. 4-3 is a good place to be right now. It should be fun to see where we are able to go as a team from here.

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


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