BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The contretemps on Friday between tight end Martellus Bennett and just about every member of the secondary that was in uniform was perhaps less a commentary on Bennett’s volatility than the crankiness that commonly sets in just before the first preseason game.
Players are tired of hitting the same people every day, edginess starts to set in when heat and tempers rise and the Bears’ trip to Carolina for Friday’s game against the Panthers could not be coming at a better time.
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Marc Trestman and staff have been firm on keeping a governor on the intensity of the competition. That sometimes can build frustration in people whose norm is not to pull punches.
“It’ll be good [to be able to go full vs. Carolina] because we’re told to throttle down,” said rookie guard Kyle Long. “You don’t want to hurt your teammates. You accomplish the purpose of the drill but nothing extra. We’ll worry about that on Sundays. You don’t want to beat up a teammate and then you’re in the locker room with the guy.”
Defensive backs, for example, can only do so much to bang around receivers on their own team. So it perhaps should not have been a total surprise that cornerback Kelvin Hayden provided a flashpoint on Friday by what Bennett said was tackling him, which isn’t supposed to be allowed.
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“He's a guy that's maybe 6-4, 6-5, me being 5-11, there's a disadvantage right there,” said Hayden, who said he has benefited from working against the likes of Bennett and the big receivers that now are the norm for the Bears.
“There's going to be mismatches come this season. You just have to prepare yourself as best way as you can, put yourself in good positions, knowing when to use your strengths, when to use your quickness, things such like that. So it's very beneficial.”
Come Friday, Hayden will have Greg Olsen to try manhandling. Bennett will love it.