The Jets new offensive coordinator, who spent the last five seasons with the Titans, took Bennett, a college quarterback at UCLA, and turned him into a top notch wide receiver.
Bennett finished the 2004 season with 80 receptions for 1,247 yards. He tied the Titans franchise record for most receptions in a game with 13 against Oakland on Dec. 19. His 11 touchdowns this season were the most in franchise history since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and broke the previous mark of 10 set by Ernest Givins (1992) and Drew Hill (1988).
Bennett thinks Heimerdinger is just the guy to turn the Jets offense around.
"Coach Heimerdinger is a very good offensive coach," said Bennett. "He will do good things up there."
The fiery Heimerdinger isn't a good match for thin-skinned players.
"There are times you don't like him and there are times you appreciate how good a coach he is," said Bennett. "He is definitely a hard-nosed coach. It's what a lot of guys need. He keeps guys in line."
And one guy who knows all too well about Heimerdinger's tough style is Jets wideout Justin McCareins, who spent his first three seasons in Tennessee.
"He was the offensive coordinator when Justin (McCareins) and I broke in as rookies," said Bennett. "We definitely got a breaking in as rookies. I needed that. I know Justin and I didn't enjoy it much, but it helped us. I'm sure Justin is really happy they are reunited (he laughs)."
But Bennett thinks that Heimerdinger will take it easy on McCareins this time around.
"He will yell at other guys," said Bennett. "Justin knows the system."
And that system is a very complex one, so don't expect the Jets to be comfortable in it for a while.
"I think it's very complicated," said Bennett. "It's one of those systems where you had to know what everyone is doing on any play in every game. You have to understand the entire concept of every play."
It took a while for the Titans offensive players to get comfortable in the system.
"The offense was good the first year, but it got better over the next couple of years," said Bennett. "He won't jump in there and be one of the top offenses in the league."
The offensive can be particularly tough on rookies. Tight end Ben Troupe struggled in 2004, his initial campaign in Tennessee.
Not helping Heimerdinger's ability to teach this offense quickly is the injury to Chad Pennington. Coming off shoulder surgery, Pennington will miss the mini-camps, and possibly part of training camp. Not having Pennington throwing all spring will hurt the maturation process of the offense.
But Bennett thinks in time, the Jets offense can be special under Heimerdinger.
"They have a lot of talent on offense," said Bennett. "[Heimerdinger] will pull it all together."
And according to Bennett the Jets will throw the ball down-the-field quite a bit.
So it looks like the days of the Jets close-to-vest play-calling are over.
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