Bennett Rookie Diary: 19th Entry

Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett enjoyed his first experience at Lambeau Field, even though his team came out on the wrong end of a 37-3 final. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett talks about making the long bus trip to Green Bay and Vanderbilt finally going to a bowl game.

It's never easy to lose any game, even one where you are never really in contention. Green Bay is our rival, so that hurt. Now we have to come back from that whole experience, regroup and be ready to take on the Rams this weekend.

The experience at Lambeau Field was something else. To me, it was more like a college game than something in the NFL. You take a bus to get there, so that is very much like college. Then all the fans calling out at you, razzing our players. Reminded me of when Vanderbilt used to play Ole Miss. It was crazy, man.

They really got riled up, especially when the game began getting away from us. But we'll get another chance at them. Next time, they will be on our home turf in front of our fans. I'm looking forward to that.

Last week is over, and now we need to turn our focus ahead. It's the beginning of a new season in a sense. There are plenty of games left, and we are tied for the division lead. We need to practice hard and turn things around from now on. We're going to be working hard to correct our mistakes and move forward in a positive direction.

Clearly, adjustments need to be made. And we will be playing in a dome on a different type of turf. Lovie Smith is having us practice in our dome here – the Walter Payton Center – at Halas Hall to get accustomed to that. The surface inside is quite different from real grass in terms of footing, so you need to make your moves accordingly. Since we'll be on artificial turf all week, that should be fine by Sunday.

I've been asked this week about Devin Hester. Mainly, why his returns aren't as productive as they were last year. Of course I wasn't here last season, but I think I can say this much. Devin is a great player. He gets out there and plays as hard as he can. It's only a matter of time before he's making big plays, in my opinion.


WR Earl Bennett
Rex Arbogast/AP Images

I think all of our receivers are capable of being No. 1 receivers, all capable of 100-yard games. This is a highly-skilled unit. Things may not go exactly as we'd like them to sometimes in a game, but I am impressed by the quality of talent on the Bears and by the effort these players put in every week.

I was inactive last weekend, which is difficult psychologically but also something I need to understand and go along with. I have complete faith that the coaches will put me in when and where they think I can contribute. After all, they are looking out for the best for this team. When I'm ready, I am confident I'll be in.

On my part, I'm continuing to work on my routes, understand the plays, and study that playbook. Things are pretty complex in the NFL, and it does take a while to get everything.

Physically, my body is fine. Its getting close to the end of the college season, which is the longest I've played up until now, but I feel fresh and rested. When I was there, Vanderbilt never went to a bowl game so our season always ended early. This year, I'm glad to say that they are going to a bowl. That's incredibly exciting, and I'm happy for those guys.

What player do I see as my role model? That's an easy one: Jerry Rice. He's the guy I grew up watching. I liked the fact that he wasn't a 4.3 or 4.4 kind of a guy – just like me. But he had great hands and could really run those routes. My goal is to have people say about me one day just what we say about Jerry right now: He was one of the best, if not the best, to ever play this game.

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


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