Thursday, September 12, 2013
Effect of Bears O-line on TE Bennett
By Tom Carpenter
Being a tight end who is a good blocker can be a double-edged sword. Your ability to block will keep you on the field more often, but if your O-line is struggling, you may be stuck at the line chipping in as a blocker, instead of slipping out to catch passes. Martellus Bennett found himself in that situation regularly last season, which limited his statistical production. He hinted at fantasy upside but never caught more than five passes after Week 3 and only reached the 80-yard mark once.
In his debut with the Chicago Bears, Bennett caught three passes on seven targets for 49 yards, including a highlight-reel worthy TD. Of course, the Bears O-line is in flux, but it appears that their tackles -- free-agent addition Jermon Bushrod and rookie Jordan Mills -- look promising. If they can continue to handle their jobs well, Bennett should be turned loose regularly for pass-catching duties.
This weekend should be a good test for all parties mentioned here, as the Bears face the difficult Minnesota Vikings D.
Getting back to the fifth-rounder Mills, who started on the right side in Week 1, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. thinks the rookie deserves a lot of credit for how he handled himself in his NFL debut:
Mel Kiper Jr.Kiper: NFL Rookie Rankings
"8. Jordan Mills, OT, Chicago Bears: How would you have answered this question a week ago: 'Jay Cutler plays a full game against the Bengals -- how many times is he sacked?' The answer turned out to be zero, and Mills deserves his share of the credit. A lot of people have called Kyle Long the surprise stud on the O-line, but Long was just OK against Cincy, and it was Mills who has much greater positional value. In the fourth quarter, the fifth-round steal was involved in two critical plays. On fourth-and-1, the Bears picked up a key first down with Mills getting the necessary movement. On third-and-6, Bears RB Michael Bush didn't get the first down, but Mills sustained a block against Rey Maualuga and drew a personal foul penalty against Maualuga that iced the game. Great start."