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Earl Bennett Back to Full Participation, Will Play on Sunday vs Bucs

Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI

Earl Bennett is returning to the line-up this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Bucs over the pond. The Bears will travel to London to play the Bucs in the NFL's annual overseas game. More importantly, it marks the return of WR Earl Bennett to the Bears offense. Prior to Devin Hester's breakout game against the Vikings, undrafted WR Dane Sanzenbacher led the WR's in nearly all receiving categories. This is especially worrysome considering our starting RB Matt Forte doubled the top 2 WR's in catches. 

Bennett returned to full participation in practice on Wednesday since his Week 2 injury against the Saints. Bennett was going for a pass over the middle and was popped by Saints safety Roman Harper. Prior to his injury Bennett had 3 catches for 20 yards in the first two games. Last season Bennett proved to be Hester's most reliable receiving weapon, especially on 3rd down with his ability to sit in the open zones. He burst into the offense with his 2 touchdown performance against the Philadelphia Eagles last season. 

Lovie Smith had this to say about Bennett...

"He's just a dependable guy who does a great job in the slot. He's not an up-and-down type player. He's consistent in just about any role we put him in and we're eager to get him back out on the field." 

In his absence undrafted WR Dane Sanzenbacher has performed well picking up 17 receptions for 159 yards and 3 TD's. Dane hasn't made any game changing plays after the catch but he has had dependable hands and leads the team in TD receptions with 3. He has been Cutler's go-to-guy in the red zone. It will be interested to see if that changes with Earl Bennett back in the line-up. 

Player Rec Yds Yds/Rec Long TD
Matt Forte 36 381 10.6 56 1
Devin Hester 17 262 15.4 53 1
Dane Sanzenbacher 17 159 9.4 17 3
Johnny Knox 16 295 18.4 40 0
Roy Williams 9 131 14.6 23 0
Kellen Davis 8 107 13.4 32 2
Sam Hurd 6 80 13.3 28 0
Earl Bennett 3 20 6.7 9 0
Tyler Clutts 3 16 5.3 10 0
Matt Spaeth 3 15 5.0 8 1
Marion Barber 2 10 5.0 7 0