Incoming Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has been dealt an interesting hand. Besides being on the spot to ensure that Jay Cutler doesn’t backslide as a quarterback, Loggains is tasked now with engineering an offense that has lost nearly one-third of its 2015 yardage production and 30 percent of its touchdowns with the departures of Matt Forte and now Martellus Bennett.
It may be more a reflection on Bears offensive tradition, but in less than three full seasons, Bennett established himself as the 17th-leading receiver in franchise history with 208 catches. That’s more than Greg Olsen in four seasons, Wendell Davis in six and Earl Bennett in six.
But sometimes addition does come via subtraction.
Don’t underestimate the impact of some players on team culture, which was a significant factor in the Bears’ decision to trade away Bennett at a time when they are in the process of John Fox’ing the culture. Individual numbers make for good stories but not necessarily anything meaningful.
Just ask the four different Brandon Marshall (the receiver one) teams; 10 years, zero trips to playoffs. More to the “numbers” point, those non-playoff seasons include six with 100 catches, and in four of those, his teams failed to be better than .500.
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Bennett is on his third team. The Dallas Cowboys reached the postseason in his second season (2009), Bennett’s one playoff trip in eight seasons. He caught 15 passes that year while Jason Witten was grabbed 94. The New York Giants got Bennett on a one-year deal for $2.5 million in 2012 when the Cowboys didn’t make a serious effort to hold onto a tight end who’d just caught 55 passes, scored five touchdowns and played all 16 games.
The Bears do not become better without Bennett. And the New England Patriots will in all likelihood be in the playoffs again. But neither is it a simple assumption that the player leaving wasn’t one who made the whole less than the sum of the parts.