Bennett's 'drop rate' tops in the NFL


Bennett's 'drop rate' tops in the NFL

Jay Cutler and Earl Bennett have had on-the-field chemistry dating back to their days in Vanderbilt, and again when Cutler was traded to the Bears before the 2009 season.
That chemistry has made for one of the most efficient quarterback-wide receiver duos in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
PFF continued its off-season coverage by looking at the best and worst wide receiver "drop rates" in the league over the last three seasons (best meaning the lowest percentage). And sitting atop the list, just above Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, was Bennett, who has dropped just four passes the last three seasons.
Counting the 127 catchable balls Bennett has seen since 2009, his "drop rate" stands at a remarkable 3.15 percent. Fitzgerald's rate was second with a 3.27 percent drop rate, although he has seen 275 catchable balls in that same span.
And while Bennett has the smallest sample size of any of the top 15 receivers on the list, it's an impressive number nonetheless.
On the other end, Brandon Marshall has had some of the shakiest hands in the league.
The newly acquired Bear ranks fifth in targets with 419, and third in catchable passes with 303. But Marshall, who spent the last three seasons in Miami with quarterbacks Chad Henne and Matt Moore, has the most drops of any player (35) over the last three seasons.
Marshall's 35 drops in 303 attempts gives him a drop rate of 11.55, the 10th worst mark of qualified receivers the last three years.
Also on that list were Roy E. Williams, who had the worst drop rate of any receiver (14.62). Williams spent two of those seasons in Dallas, and had 37 receptions in his one season in Chicago last year.
Devin Hester also appeared on the list at No. 15, with 14 drops out of 136 catchable balls (10.29).
Cutler has never finished better than 13th in completion percentage in his five years in the league, but perhaps this shows there is more to the story...whenever he isn't throwing to Bennett.

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


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


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.