Originally written on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 10/29/14

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 06: Earl Bennett #80 of the Chicago Bears breaks for a long run and is chased by (L-R) Craig Dahl #43, Justin King #31 and James Butler #37 of the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field on December 6, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Rams 17-9. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
When Alshon Jeffery broke his hand in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars there was disappointment in his loss, but optimism that Earl Bennett could step up in his place.  Bennett is a solid option and a favorite target of quarterback Jay Cutler.  He is a solid option as a slot receiver and can be counted on to make critical catches in the clutch. The need for Bennett to step up and excel in Jeffery's absence is critical to the continued success of the Bears' offense.  At some point Bennett needs to take his production to another level from the level that has earned him so much praise. Bennett hasn't been healthy for an entire season since his first year, which in some circles might earn you the injury prone label. He has only played an entire 16 game season once in his career, 2009 was the last year Bennett achieved that mark. As popular and or valuable Bennett is as a tough blue collar wide receiver, his value may be considered slightly inflated.  Only once in his career has had over 100 yards receiving in a game. His best strength may be that he makes extremely tough catches in very memorable fashion.  Bennett is also known for his consistency in making catches, having the lowest drop percentage of any wide receiver in the NFL in 2011. What Bennett needs to do is to become a more consistent game to game threat, especially with the Jeffery injury.  Teams are going to attack Brandon Marshall, and make other receivers step up their game to beat them.  Bennett has to be a counted on option more than just a clutch receiver. Bennett has to be more physical at beating press coverage, he needs to get more separation in his routes.  Bennett doesn't have route running problems, he just can be out muscled a lot easier than Marshall and Jeffery. While Bennett has been a favorite of both Cutler and the fans, while Jeffery is injured he needs to prove he can be counted in each game that Jeffery is out.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

Report: Michigan keeping Jim Hackett on as athletic director

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

Jenn Sterger hints she'll be back in her FSU cowgirl gear for game

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.