Bennett Rookie Diary: 18th Entry

Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett hasn't had any chance to make an impact on offense, but maybe he should line up at corner since the defense has been bad. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, the young wideout writes about encouraging his defensive teammates and his first trip to Lambeau Field.

The game against the Titans was a rough one. It was one of those horrible days when you can't seem to get any momentum going. As a player on the offensive side of the ball, I can tell you for sure that a series of three-and-outs is about the worst thing that can happen. Just when you begin to hit a rhythm, the ball goes to the opponent. Then when you eventually get the ball back again, you are starting all over.

There's a completely different perception, as well, in terms of field position. When you are near the other team's goal line, or even past the 50-yard line heading for their goal, it almost seems as if you are playing downhill. Everything is a little quicker and seems to work a little better.

On the other hand, if you constantly are starting with the ball deep in your territory, it seems like a real struggle just to get to the 50. You're wasting a lot of energy, even though you might be moving the ball in the right direction.

I don't think we saw anything from Tennessee that we hadn't expected. Again, it was a matter of momentum. They had it, we didn't. I don't fault Rex Grossman at all. He played hard, and we are comfortable working with him on the field. It was just a bad time all around during that game.

As far as our defense is concerned, they were right in there fighting. They did a great job in stopping the Titans running game. It's unfortunate that Kerry Collins completed some of those passes but, again, that kind of thing will happen.

We are a very united team overall. If the offense feels that the defense is struggling, we make a point of encouraging them. If we are on the sideline, we shout out to them. If they are on the bench during a timeout or something, we stand behind them and say what we can to keep their spirits up. And the defense always does the same for us. I think it's important that players feel they are in this together. And helping a teammate any way you can is always a good thing.

Last weekend was my first introduction to cold weather. I know that those of you in Chicago would be laughing at me for thinking Sunday was cold. You know it can get a lot worse around here. But I'm from the South and, for me, it was a revelation. Green Bay could be a lot worse.

WR Earl Bennett
Warren Wimmer Photography

We have to put the last game behind us now and focus on what's coming up. I've never been to Lambeau Field and haven't experienced this rivalry firsthand but, from what I hear from the veterans, it will be an intense game. My frame of reference is the Vanderbilt-Tennessee game. I guess I expect the atmosphere to be something like that.

The veterans have told me that, going into a contest against the Packers, the record you have all season doesn't mean a thing. Everything is focused on the outcome of this one game. If you beat Green Bay, your season is successful. If not, then something is lacking – even if you beat all of the other teams.

I know that when Coach Smith took over here, he made a point of telling the players how important this game was to the city, to our fans and to the players. Clearly it is going to be a very intense week of practice.

I've heard that Green Bay has a very aggressive, physical defense. In a case like that, as an offensive player you have to be completely focused. You can't let anybody sneak up on you and take you down. Another adjustment would be that we'd probably be playing a little faster. The quicker you move, the harder it is for a defender to get to you. Also, if a defender is going all aggressive on you, you need to step it up and be physical right back. Once they feel they can push you around, you can get in real trouble.

So this week, we'll be working out the game plan and adjusting our focus from the Titans to the Packers. We don't know yet who will be starting for the Bears, but as far as I'm concerned, Rex, Kyle Orton and Caleb Hanie are all good players. We've practiced extensively with each of them, so it shouldn't make too much difference which one starts.

It should be quite an experience. The fans will be loud and the intensity of the play will be pretty high. I'm looking forward to the experience and to the chance to bring that win home to Chicago.

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

Bear Report Top Stories