The NFL has always been, and always will be, a league of trends.
The wildcat offense a few years ago. The read option last year. The cover two defense. Backfields by committee.
Tight ends that are essentially gargantuan sized receivers?
I don’t know, perhaps the best offenses in the game are onto something. Jimmy Graham is the most dynamic force in the Saints passing attack. Once Rob Gronkowski returns for New England, he will own the same title for the Patriots. And don’t blink – you might miss an unsuccessful college basketball player turned NFL project burning secondaries that simply don’t have the personnel to match up with such exceptional physical specimens.
Need proof? Just ask Broncos and Browns fans about Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron, respectively.
So there it was on Sunday. In a game that was as bizarre as a Mike Martz personnel decision, the Bears trailed by six points in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s contest against the Minnesota Vikings. It was up to Jay Cutler and the revamped, Trestmanized offense to engineer a game-winning scoring drive.
And as you all know by now, it was successful? Why? Because of one of the many sound decisions made by general manager Phil Emery this offseason: to bring a dynamic tight end to the city of Chicago. Martellus Bennett caught the game winning touchdown pass from Cutler, and finished the day with seven receptions for 76 yards and two scores.
That drive simply wouldn’t have happened last year. If not for a dropped pass by former brick-handed tight end Kellen Davis, a false start penalty may have held them back. Or a failure to get a play call in on time.
Not these Bears.
It really is refreshing to see. It all seemed so simple from a fan’s perspective, as the Bears’ weaknesses were so obvious. Phil Emery deserves to be lauded for putting this team together in a relatively short period of time, obviously making it a point to upgrade the Bears’ biggest deficiencies.
Brandon Marshall was brought in to fill a weakness that has plagued the Bears since their inauguration. Jermon Bushrod was signed and Kyle Long was drafted in the first round to fix the offensive line that has been so horrendous the last few seasons.
And due to the fact that Mike Martz was stuck in 1999 and didn’t seem to grasp where the future of NFL offenses was headed, the Bears shipped the best tight end they have had in years, Greg Olsen, to Carolina for a sixth round pick.
Emery, obviously understanding that most high-strung offenses have a big, athletic tight end as a major component of it, made sure to fill a need. He signed Martellus Bennett to a reasonable contract, and it paid huge dividends on Sunday.
The Bears are obviously far from being as perfect as their record indicates. The pass rush is non existent. Cutler is still as prone to boneheaded mistakes as ever, despite playing well for the most part. And outside of Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, the Bears don’t appear to have a legitimate wide receiver outside of those two.
But all of that is moot at this point, to an extent. Emery has proven that he is paying attention, which is an upgrade in itself compared to Jerry Angelo. If the Bears have a problem at a certain position this year, you better believe it’s going to be fixed by next year.
Martellus Bennett was a beast on Sunday. There’s no denying that.
Just don’t forget to give Phil Emery the game ball he rightfully deserves, as well.