With the popularity of receiving tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski growing by leaps and bounds each year, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett doesn’t understand why the TEs who can block and receive aren’t getting more appreciation.
As the Bears prepare for a matchup with the San Diego Chargers, Bennett took time to analyze his San Diego peer Antonio Gates and compared Gates’ role in his team’s offense to that of his own.
Bennett wasn’t complaining about a lack of balls that Jay Cutler throws his way, he was actually bringing attention to a slight he feels often plagues tight ends that are most valuable to a team’s success.
However, Cutler still defended one of his top targets Friday. Cutler said he understands why a player of Bennett’s caliber would want the ball often.
Marty, I mean, he wants the ball, Cutler said. It would probably be a problem if he didn’t want the ball. He always wants the ball at practice. Every game, he wants the ball. We are seeing a lot of singe-high [safeties] out there in games and having Alshon Jeffery back opened up some of the lanes outside, Cutler said. Marty, I think he had 11 catches that game against Oakland, and then teams took him away a little bit. Alshon has got some balls which I’m sure is going to open some things up back inside for Bennett. He’s a little bit frustrated, but he’ll be patient and we’ll continue to find ways to get him the ball.
Bennett is the seventh best tight end in regards to receptions (37), but he has only 13 catches over the past three games. The Bears may become a more pass-oriented offense with Matt Forte out due to injury, which should mean plenty of extra targets for Bennett.