Bears appear covered with Sanzenbacher

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- In hindsight, it appears the Chicago Bears made a wise decision to keep Dane Sanzenbacher on their 53-man roster as the sixth wide receiver to start the regular season.

With Earl Bennett sidelined last week because of a lingering left hand injury, the Bears activated Sanzenbacher for the first time this season after he caught four passes for 49 yards and one touchdown in the preseason to help earn his second consecutive roster spot.

Sanzenbacher played 17 snaps and was targeted only one time in the Bears' 34-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. But there is a certain comfort level when a team turns to a backup that has a reasonable amount of game experience -- Sanzenbacher had 27 receptions for 276 yards and three touchdowns last season as a rookie.

"Whenever something happens you want to make sure you have a guy in there that has been though the battles and that you trust," Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake said. "A guy that is going to go in there and do the things you ask him to do. It's very comforting. Dane can play all the positions, and one thing with him, you know that whenever he's in there he's going to give it everything he's got. That's a good thing."

It's also a good thing when the starting quarterback is a fan of your work. Jay Cutler praised Sanzenbacher numerous times in the preseason, an endorsement that no doubt didn't hurt Sanzenbacher's chances of making the team when final cuts were due at end of August.

With Bennett officially listed as questionable, there is a chance Sanzenbacher could be active again Sunday in Jacksonville. If Bennett sits again in Week 5 it could be with the mindset of getting him back on the field Oct. 22 after the bye when the team hosts the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football.