Can Bennett Cure What Ailed WRs in 2010?

Edgar Bennett was as steady as they come as a player. He has shown that persona as a coach, too. Now, in his new position with the Packers, he has a new challenge — getting the Packers pass catchers back on track in an area that has become a problem.

If there was a sour note to the Green Bay Packers' win in Super Bowl XLV nearly a month ago, it came in the form of inconsistency from the wide receivers.

Had it not been for fantastic performances from Jordy Nelson (nine catches, 140 yards, touchdown) and Greg Jennings (four catches, 64 yards, two touchdowns) and the Packers had lost, the talk may have been more about the opportunities the Packers' wideouts let slip away.

That group, which included backup Brett Swain in the place of the injured Donald Driver, was responsible for at least five dropped passes and maybe a sixth depending how the definition of a drop is viewed.

The miscues were an all-too-common theme for a group of wide receivers who have prided themselves on doing the routine things right under position coach Jimmy Robinson.

But now Robinson is gone, departing after the Super Bowl to take the same job in Dallas (plus an assistant head coaching role), and Edgar Bennett is in. And as curious as it was that Bennett, a running back by trade and by coaching profession, was tabbed by coach Mike McCarthy to tutor the receivers, he just might offer a cure to what has ailed the Packers' receivers.

If Bennett has gotten any point across with his running back group over the past few years, it is securing the football. In 2010 (including the playoffs), five Packers running backs fumbled just three times among 440 carries. They did not lose a single one.

Brandon Jackson, who is set to become a free agent, has fumbled just three times (none lost) in 481 career touches under Bennett. And perhaps most impressively, raw rookie James Starks, who sat out all of training camp and the first 11 games of the regular season, did not have a fumble or dropped pass — among 115 touches — as he became the Packers' main man in the backfield during a Super Bowl run.

The fundamentals of running high and tight with the football have been preached to everyone from Starks to the Packers' all-time leading rusher, Ahman Green, with Bennett at the controls and the results have been near perfect. The same cannot be said for the wide receivers under Robinson regarding ball security.

Driver, a 12-year veteran, led the team in drops in 2010 with seven — among just 51 catches, his lowest total since 2001 — in the regular season. He has 25 dropped passes (unofficially) over the past three years.

Jennings, the team's leading receiver, was much less hurtful based on percentage of passes thrown to him, but few will forget his game-changing drop in a damaging loss to the Lions in December.

Backup James Jones, who has had some pivotal fumbles over his four-year career, has 17 dropped passes over the past two years. Particularly damaging were drops against the Dolphins, Jets, Giants, Eagles (playoffs) and Steelers (Super Bowl), all of which may have gone for long touchdowns.

And finally, Nelson, a Super Bowl hero despite a couple of key drops, has seen his dropped passes increase over the past two seasons. He has 10 over that span compared to just four the previous two seasons.

With at least three receivers expected to return – Jones is scheduled to become a free agent – Bennett will have invaluable experience from his players but the challenge of cleaning up a disturbing trend of miscues.

Can he produce a crossover effect from one position to another?

If his track record is any indication, the results should be immediate.

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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at

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