CHICAGO – The Chicago Bears saw a drastic need at the tight end position following yet another dismal season from Kellen Davis, and it’s safe to say they filled it. Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery addressed this issue last offseason by acquiring TE Martellus Bennett via free agency.
Bennett, a.k.a. ‘The Black Unicorn’, a.k.a. ‘MartysaurusRex’, turned out to be everything Bears fans were hoping for and more. Listed at 6’6”, 265 pounds, he provided the big, athletic target over the middle that quarterback Jay Cutler had been so desperately seeking here in Chicago.
Signed through 2016, Bennett finished his first season in Chicago with an excellent 65/759/5 stat line, his best season as a professional. Boasting career highs across the board, the former 2nd round pick out of Texas A&M was also targeted 94 times. Bennett’s stat line helps illustrate the fact that every position in coach Marc Trestman’s offense is valuable and it’ll be up to Cutler to distribute the ball efficiently.
When you look at the situational stats for No. 83, they illustrate that the production was there. You’ll notice that Bennett came out of the gates strong finding the end zone three times in his first two games, but failed to score in the final five games of the season. The emergence of Alshon Jeffery with the continued dominance of Brandon Marshall could be a reason for that though.
*Stats provided by ESPN.com
The Cutler Connection
It’s clear that Cutler trusts Bennett during crunch time as 40 of his 65 receptions were for first downs and four of his five touchdowns came while the Bears were trailing. All five of Bennett’s touchdowns came in the red zone and his biggest catch of the year turned out to be the game winner against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2.
In the 10 full games that Cutler was the quarterback, Bennett hauled in 47 catches for 579 yards and three scores. Doing some quick math shows that if Jay played a full season Bennett (based on averages) would have finished with 76 catches and 940 yards, those are Pro Bowl numbers for a tight end.
Trestman turned Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery into today’s version of Oakland’s Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, he was also able to make the tight end position a threat and more than just a big body used in the run game. For the first time, the Chicago Bears had an effective offense around their franchise quarterback.
Bennett showed that he is a capable blocker and proved to be an every down tight end, not just a situational pass catching option.
What to expect next year?
Martellus Bennett should continue to grow in the Chicago Bears’ offense alongside Cutler, Marshall and Jeffery. Expect Bennett to become a Pro Bowler in this system if the quarterback can stay healthy.
Article by Matt Eastman: Sportsmockery.com