LAKE FOREST – Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett is in a rut.
Since Caleb Hanie took over as starting quarterback for injured teammate Jay Cutler, Bennett has caught two passes for 10 yards in three games. In the previous three games with Cutler at quarterback, Bennett caught 14 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown.
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz said opposing defenses have zeroed in on Bennett in recent weeks. The Bears are 3-0 this season when Bennett has caught at least three passes and 1-4 in games when Bennett has caught two passes or fewer.
“Earl always shows up on third down, and people are trying to clamp [down],” Martz said. “They know what Earl is on third down to us as well, so he gets doubled a little bit.
“We tried to get him on that third down right before the half [against the Denver Broncos], and that ball got broken up. So we’re trying to do that. It just hasn’t worked out.”
No comment: Bears running back Marion Barber continued his silent treatment of the NEWS media after Wednesday’s practice despite the threat of a fine from the NFL.
Bears coach Lovie Smith did not take a stance when he was asked whether Barber should make himself available to the media. Barber played a key role in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos but left the locker room before media members were allowed to enter.
“There are things in place for that,” Smith said. “That’s the least of my concerns, really, right now. I assume most of our guys answer when they’re supposed to and meet with you guys, but I’ve got other things on my mind right now instead of that.”
Gummy Bear: Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch received a Skittles endorsement after TV cameras caught him eating a handful of the candy on the sidelines this season.
Bears nickelback D.J. Moore was asked what type of candy he would like to endorse.
“I might need a dentist endorsement,” Moore said. “I ate so much candy when I was younger that I’ve got no teeth in my mouth.”
Then Moore gummed it up for the cameras, tracing the back of his mouth with his tongue.
“I feel like my grandma right now,” Moore said.
Bears bits: Defensive end Julius Peppers, linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman were held out of Wednesday’s practice because of “bumps and bruises,” Smith said. … Cutler (thumb) and running back Matt Forte (knee) remained out. Forte’s knee was improving, but he likely would need to practice before he returned to game action, Smith said.