Bears

Bears' Bennett reports, claims to be 'dark-skinned chameleon' at camp

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Bears' Bennett reports, claims to be 'dark-skinned chameleon' at camp

Martellus Bennett made his first appearance of the 2015 Bears offseason under coach John Fox, having skipped all of the voluntary/optional sessions. He indicated he does not plan to be holding out of at the July 29 start of training camp.

And he did not sound like missing the offseason time with new coordinator Adam Gase and the offense was going to be much of a problem, supported by Bennett’s immediate installation into the No. 1 offense.

“Just like going to a new school,” Bennett said, smiling. “I fit in everywhere I go. I’m like a dark-skinned chameleon.”

Bennett indeed did fit in: “He was out there doing some plays that we were going to hold him back from,” said quarterback Jay Cutler, “but he picks things up so quickly.”

[MORE: Bennett expected at Bears’ camp, future still uncertain]

The prospect of a key member of the offense holding out to the point of either missing valuable learning time or infuriating the organization into trading him was a potential serious issue for the offense. The Bears invested the No. 7 pick of this year’s draft in wide receiver Kevin White, but that effectively filled in what went to New York in the Brandon Marshall trade.

Fox and Gase made effective and high-impact use of the tight end with the Denver Broncos. The plan is to have that weapon available in Chicago, and without Bennett, an offense already looking to replace Marshall’s production would be faced with an added challenge.

“This game’s about matchups,” Fox said. “The tougher matchups you can create for the opponent’s defense, the better. He’s got all the physical tools it takes, both as a blocker and as a pass catcher. Those are both important skill sets for that position. He proved what he’s capable of a year ago and hopefully we can duplicate that and then some this year.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

For his part, Bennett dismissed any concerns over what he may have lost by not being around for the offseason programs. He worked out on his own and at Marshall’s facility in Florida and appeared to be in good physical shape overall.

The football part of it is a non-issue, in his mind.

“We’re only out here for three days, and then it’s training camp, and they install all over again,” Bennett said. “I’m pretty intelligent, so I pick up on it pretty quick… .

“The great thing about football, there's only so many concepts you can possibly run. Nobody's really doing that many things different around the league; it's just different ways of getting there. Once you crack that code, you're pretty good. It's no different from coding on a website or something.”

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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USA TODAY

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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