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Week 1 Read Options: Martellus Bennett poised for big year

Adam L. Jahns’ “Read Options” column appears in Chicago Football Weekly, which is available Thursday or Friday in the Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, Rockford Register Star, Northwest Herald, Kankakee Daily Journal, Peoria Journal Star and on ChicagoFootball.com.

Martellus Bennett played catch with Marc Trestman a lot.

The gregarious tight end and the soft-spoken former Bears coach would often grab a football after practice and throw it around, smiling, chatting and so on.

They seemed like an odd but good fit for each other.

But the sense I get is that Bennett, who is coming a season full of career highs, is in a better spot under coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace.

Bennett seems to be a more focused player, and Fox would seemingly have a lot to do with it. Bennett did miss the voluntary portions of the offseason program in his pursuit for a new contract, but he’s been lockstep with everyone else since his return.

This could be big year for Bennett individually, and Bennett knows it. He loves the adaptable ways of coordinator Adam Gase’s offense. He feels empowered and super confident (his words).

“I always want to be faster and stronger and better than I was physically, but mentally I’m on a different level now,” Bennett said. “I’m super-confident. When I’m on out on the field, it’s a different feel where I’m THE guy and not one of the guys.

“I feel like it’s usually, ‘Oh what are they trying to do to me. But now I dictate, like, ‘OK, who is covering me? Why is he out here?’ It’s instead of being like, ‘Who do I have to study?’ I still study all my opponents, but now I feel like I’m going to attack it more so than reacting.”

* * *

Don’t shrug off quarterback David Fales’ success against the Browns in the preseason finale as a case of a backup beating backups.

It was a performance that kept Zac Dysert, a favorite of Gase’s from Denver, off the 53-man roster. And it should put Jimmy Clausen, who is coming off a concussion, on notice to be better.

“I feel like that’s me when I’m comfortable and understanding everything and just playing,” said Fales, who had a 134.0 passer rating and two touchdown passes against the Browns. “I felt back to normal.”

It’s worth remembering that the Patriots did try signing Fales off the Bears’ practice squad last year. The Bears moved him to the active roster to protect him.

Fale is fully recovered from the illness that slowed in him at training camp and offseason shoulder surgery.

“I feel like I’m in a good spot,” Fales said. “I’m glad I’m here.”

* * *

It was a good move by the Bears to keep running back Ka’Deem Carey, a 2014 draft pick. Carey was never really given a chance last year in Trestman’s offense.

“It was definitely frustrating,” Carey said. ““My main goal going into this preseason was just to show what I was doing in college, and that I was still capable of doing that.”

He succeeded.

Carey may be behind No. 2 back Jacquizz Rodgers, but his running style may prove to be just as effective as rookie Jeremy Langford’s in Gase’s offense.

* * *

Kudos to Pace for signing linebacker Lamin Barrow to the Bears’ practice squad. Barrow might just be a steal.

Fox and the Broncos drafted him in the fifth round last year out of LSU, so there already is a comfort level. Barrow was active every week as a rookie last season and played on all special teams.