CHICAGO – The fortunate aspect for the Bears offense is that none of the receivers going down with injuries has been named Brandon Marshall.
Still, the loss of receiver Earl Bennett with a concussion Sunday could signal more problems for a passing attack that already is fairly one-dimensional.
Bennett played the first half of the Bears’ 23-17 overtime loss to Seattle, but did not come out for the second half at Soldier Field. Shortly after halftime, it was announced he was being evaluated for a concussion.
With veteran Devin Hester out with a concussion from the previous game and rookie Alshon Jeffery nursing a knee injury that was supposed to keep him out two to four weeks, Bennett’s absence leaves the Bears even thinner at receiver for the four remaining regular-season games.
“Eric Weems came in and did a nice job,” said quarterback Jay Cutler, who hit Weems twice for 18 yards. “We just have to roll with the guys we’ve got.”
That still includes Marshall, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound pass-catching machine who hauled in 10 passes for 165 yards against the Seahawks. Even though teams are well aware Cutler is going to throw to Marshall, they don’t seem to be able to slow the duo down much.
Marshall even had ideas for the Bears regarding their depleted receiving corps.
“It’s tough. There’s guys who are hungry,” Marshall said. “Joe [Anderson] on our practice squad, who works really hard, I can’t wait to see him. You got guys that are not here, free agents who are hungry. Guys like Mike Sims-Walker, my best friend, my brother. Maybe he gets a shot. We definitely will make the right decisions and move forward.”
Marshall caught more balls Sunday than the rest of the Bears combined (seven). Bennett caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and was flipped head over heels on the play. He played the rest of the half, but Cutler hinted that Bennett might have been concussed on that play.
Bennett was not available for comment after the game, which often is the case with injured players. He nearly had a second touchdown in the second quarter but dropped a long pass when he was wide open.
“I spun him around a little bit,” Cutler said of the throw. “It was tough catch. He’s going to say he should have had it. I don’t know if he was feeling the effects of that hit down on the goal line or not. It’s hard to tell.”
Jeffery has missed five games this season, first with a hand injury and now with an injured knee. He did work out on the field before the game, an indication that he might be ready for Minnesota next week. The situations with Hester and Bennett’s concussions are less clear.
Weems, who signed as a player to help mostly on special teams, knows more playing time may come his way.
“I hope so, we’ll see what happens,” Weems said. “It’s real tough. Guys just have to step up more. Me and Dane [Sanzenbacher] just have to step up and put more effort into it and be ready.”