BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The 2013 Bears produced the third-best passing and No. 2 scoring offense in the NFL in no small part because they avoided major personnel setbacks outside of the ankle and groin injuries that cost them Jay Cutler at times.
It will still be only preseason Friday night when the Bears host the Philadelphia Eagles. But the suspension of Martellus Bennett, which makes Bennett’s status uncertain for now, and broken collarbone of Marquess Wilson force the Bears to do some unwanted early adjusting.
“Those things happen in football,” said offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. “There’s adversity in every season. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. Good teams that win find a way to overcome those things and move on. And that’s the position we’re in right now, and we’ll do that."
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Bennett’s fury spasm on Monday cost him fine money but not some understanding from teammates, even though the message was clear: Do not pull that nonsense again.
“I play quarterback, so you never really can get that high or low,” Cutler said. “Those guys are hitting and being hit, and emotions are high. But at the same point, there are rules and we’ve got to protect each other and there are ways to go about things.
“We’ve all reached out to him. We care about him and we all love the guys. He works extremely hard out here. Going forward, we just hope that we get him back sooner than later.”
After Bennett’s attack on cornerback Kyle Fuller, Cutler was among those who went over to check on Fuller.
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Bennett’s actions project to increase the roles of Dante Rosario, Zach Miller and Matthew Mulligan in particular with the No. 1 offense. Mulligan did not excuse Bennett’s behavior but with starting stints in New York (Jets), St. Louis and New England, he understood where these things arise.
“Football is football,” Mulligan said. “At the end of the day it’s a grown-man’s sport, the most physical sport in the world, and the tensions are going to run high. You wouldn’t be able to play this sport if you were soft and didn’t have some fire inside you. Altercations, disagreements happen inside your own family, and you don’t punch each other in the face every day, let alone guys you’re around 16 hours a day for the last 10 days, and then you go out and practice three hours a day.
“You beat each other up and to expect there never to be any altercations would be ludicrous. And that’s not what they expect here. We’re just doing our best, make up and move on.”